So here we are in the year 2020. It’s hard to believe that something that sounds so futuristic can be present times. I remember when 2020 was just an address on an office building downtown where I worked decades ago. We live in a time where our future existence has become increasingly more uncertain and as I age, I find myself reminiscing more about the good old days rather than looking enthusiastically ahead to the unknown days.
“It’s a small world” is an expression that’s been around forever but it seems to be getting smaller by the day and so many products we buy are being downsized as well with manufacturers hoping we won’t notice. George Costanza of Seinfeld isn’t the only one complaining about shrinkage. Those jumbo rolls of toilet paper don’t go as far as they used to and packaged cookies are now the size of toonies. I remember when a jar of coffee was good to many more last drops than it is now.
I remember when you could only use a phone in your home or outdoors at a pay phone and now it has become an inoperable part of your anatomy that if lost, creates more panic than an alien invasion. It goes everywhere with you but if dropped, will not break your foot like the receiver of an old rotary dial would. I remember party lines and they had nothing to do with having a good time.
When your black and white TV had its picture out of focus or the sound was gone, a good smack on the side of the console set everything right again. And if it didn’t, you tried to figure out which tube needed to be replaced by using the tube-testing machine at Woolworth’s or Miracle Mart. If you smacked a TV today, it would take more than a tube to fix it.
I remember cars with no seatbelts and playing with my dolls in the back of my Dad’s station wagon when we went on long drives. Thankfully, my Dad was an accident free driver or I might not be here to write this today. Now, it seems kids are strapped into car seats until they’re old enough to drive themselves.
I remember paying $5 for standing room tickets at the Forum to see the Montreal Canadiens and being surrounded by well-dressed men in their overcoats and fedoras and ladies in their furs. Today, the tickets cost more than an entire wardrobe.
I remember when pirates were bad guys on ships that robbed and looted, searched for buried treasure and made you walk the plank. Today they do the walking onto your porch and steal your Amazon packages. I also remember when Amazon meant a river in South America.
I remember when smoking was considered cool. You smoked when you were pregnant, on a plane, in a restaurant, at the office and just about anywhere you wanted to. Now, there are outdoor smoking zones that must be respected or you will be hauled away in handcuffs. No butts about it.
I remember when the most sophisticated part of your car was the radio and now it is a computer on wheels. You need a university degree in computer science just to be able to make sense of all the various bells and whistles which are all fiddled with as you zoom along at 100 km/h. As if we needed more distractions.
I remember when we humans more closely resembled Homo Erectus and actually stood tall when walking anywhere. Now we have reverted back to looking like Neanderthals, stooped over staring at our smart phone screens all the while navigating sidewalks, bumping into lampposts and crossing streets in front of moving vehicles. And they say we are living longer?
All kidding aside, if we are to live longer, attitudes and practices towards our fellow man and this planet have to change. It’s good to laugh and escape the realities of life once in a while but those realities are all there waiting for us when we come back down to earth. Hopefully, many decades into the future, we can do as I’ve done here and poke fun at how life used to be. Let’s make sure we have something to laugh at.