'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
MODERN KIDS AND PRIMITIVE PARENTS
When I was kid, my parents explained to me there was no such thing as television when they were growing up in the 1930s and ‘40s. I remember saying to them, “Man! How did you survive?!” I just couldn’t imagine how empty their lives as children must have been.
Nowadays, when I explain to young people that there were no such things as cell phones or the Internet when I was growing up in the 1960s and ‘70s, they look at me and say, “Dude! How did you survive?!”
Then I tell them I didn’t have cable TV until I was in high school, not to mention that iPods and other portable music players had yet to be invented, and they just stagger away, overwhelmed by the thought of how empty my life as a child must have been.
Sometimes I wonder myself how I survived. Since about 90-percent of my waking hours nowadays are consumed by cell phone calls, email messages, and the need to locate obscure bits of technical information on the Internet—all with that typical “I need it yesterday!” urgency—it might be nice to try the low-tech approach once in a while. It might do wonders for my ulcer and finally allow me to get a full night’s sleep.
Anyway, I suspect similar scenes have played out in all generations throughout history. I bet when my parents were children, they were flabbergasted to learn that their parents grew up without the benefit of radio, and said, “Golly! How did you survive?!”
When my parents’ parents were kids and discovered their parents had no telephone in their youth, they said, “Jeepers! How did you survive?!” And when my parents’ parents’ parents learned their parents had no telegraph, they said, “Saints pr’serve us! How’d you be survivin’ that?!”
Similar expressions of shock surely were exclaimed by various young people regarding their parents lack of the following communication achievements: Pony Express service, quill pens with which to write, parchment on which to write, and the proper blankets needed to send accurate smoke signals. (I doubt the young brave said to his parents, “How! How did you survive?!”)
Pebbles Flintstone was probably horrified to learn that Fred and Wilma grew up in an era that had yet to invent the iron chisel, a tool that made carving out messages on a stone tablet so much easier. Pebbles and her boyfriend Bam-Bam must have shaken their heads in amazement when they pondered how empty their parents’ lives must have been without even a bird that could use it’s pointy beak to play music on stone record albums—back when it was truly “rock” music. (Sorry, that was corny, even by my standards.)
We can trace this phenomenon all the way back to the year 50,000 B.C., when a teenager learned that his parents grew up in a world without BlackBerrys, Blue Tooth wireless ear pieces, satellite radio, nor GPS devices mounted on the dashboard of their hybrid automobile. This youth exclaimed, “Dude! How did you survive?!”
Of course, soon afterward, with so much digital media constantly blaring a non-stop stream of data, video, and sound into every person’s eyes and ears 24 hours a day, everybody’s head finally exploded. The human race had to start over again and re-evolve from the slimy remains scattered all over the place.
So I figure we’re about five years away from repeating that cataclysmic, simultaneous worldwide exploding-head event. Having one’s head explode admittedly will be rather messy. But it should do wonders for my ulcer and finally allow me to get a full night’s sleep.
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