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In praise of the good old days

June 2nd, 2017 by Bob Bly

Yes, today the world is filled with modern marvels that make life
better, easier, safer, healthier, and more profitable.

Examples include personal computers, smart phones, the internet,
e-mail, self-driving cars, drones, and new medical treatments for
everything from arthritis to cancer.

But, as much as I like and embrace many innovations, I do
sometimes long for the good old days.

In particular, here are a few of the things I miss from way back
when, illogical as some items on the list may seem:

1– My IBM Selectric typewriter.

Ever since getting my first PC in 1982, computers have helped my
freelance writing income skyrocket.

That being said, I loved the feel of the Selectric keyboard … the
freedom from worrying about malware and other computer glitches …
and the experience of seeing my words immediately appear on paper
as I typed them.

2–Vinyl records.

Vinyl records are making a comeback. The main advantage of
records is that the large album covers had plenty of room for
extensive liner notes.

CDs have these notes printed on separate insert booklets, which
quickly become lost. And somehow they are not as fun to read.

My kids love iPods and digital music. But I don’t want to own yet
another device, and I have no need to carry 950 songs with me.


When I was young my ambition was to be a newspaper reporter,
which was considered one of the coolest jobs for writers on the
planet. After all, Superman was a reporter!

The millennials seem not to read the newspaper anymore. And
today, a newspaper reporter is ranked as one of the least desirable

4–Easy air travel.

I have never liked travel of any kind.

But air travel in the 70s was an order of magnitude better than
it is today — for three reasons.

First, planes were often half-empty. Now, they are almost always
full. An ancillary benefit was that there was always room to
store your luggage in the overhead.

Second, there was more legroom. Today, there is so little, it
even bothers me … and I’m a short guy.

Third, pre-911, security was so much laxer, because it didn’t
seem to need to be otherwise.

You didn’t have to take off your shoes, jacket, and belt, which
to me is a pain in the rear.

5–The ability to unplug.

In some ways, smart phones and other mobile devices are a

For instance, I worry about my kids less, because I can always
reach them on their cell phones.

On the other hand, wireless connectivity has created a society in
which we are continually connected and available to our boss,
coworkers, and customers round the clock. Putting us under even
more stress.

6–Chocolate milk shakes.

The greater awareness of nutrition today keeps us healthier and
may even extend our lives, and that’s a wonderful thing.

On the other hand, in the 60s we mostly ate stuff that tasted
good, either blissfully unaware or not caring whether it was good
for us.

In particular, I miss regularly consuming chocolate milk shakes …
barbecue ribs … salami sandwiches … Coke … and even the
occasional Ring Ding.

7–Safe sex.

I got married before AIDS reared its ugly head, so I dodged a
bullet — not that I was promiscuous anyway.

But back then, casual hookups and active dating were not
potentially life-ending activities.

I can’t imagine that single people who are sexually active today
with multiple partners aren’t constantly worried about getting

8–The Beatles, Sinatra, and Elvis.

Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t understand how people enjoy
songs when you cannot understand the lyrics being sung or rapped.

Some people say Will Smith is a terrible rapper. But he is one of
the clearest, most articulate rappers out there (Eminem is, too).

9–Classic cars.

I liked the way cars looked and drove back in the day better than
today’s modern tin cans.

My dream car is a fully restored 1957 Pontiac Chieftain.

My mother bought one used in the 60s for $100.

It still pains me enormously that my parents sold it to a guy who
totaled the car soon after he bought it.

What a putz he was to destroy that treasure!


This entry was posted on Friday, June 2nd, 2017 at 11:15 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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