My personal olden days would be the 1950s and ’60s, and they contained two wars, polio, cars without air conditioning and polyester leisure suits.
There were some good things about it. Pornography was underground, things happened more slowly, and even if they didn’t we had to wait for the morning newspaper to know.
My parents did not realize, however, that I needed a car seat that faced backward until I was 2. They let me play baseball without a helmet. And, because everyone except Gandhi had lousy nutrition, we ate candy and ice cream whenever we could. We did it without guilt.
Today, we know better about safety, things like cholesterol and all the conveniences we absolutely cannot do without.
There seems to me a time when the best things in life were not things at all.
When I was a child, we honed our hand-eye coordination with a basketball, a hoop and endless hours of playing “h-o-r-s-e.”
While today’s video games teach all sorts of skills, they don’t make you sweat. As kids, we played outside or rode in those cars without air conditioning or tried to sleep with the windows open and a fan going. We knew sweat.
We did not fear smallpox like my father did, nor did we know what it was like to read by gaslight. My dad did not yearn for those things, which were things from his “good old days.”
Some of the tools of this age sure are nifty and cool, as was said in my youth. I write this using a laptop computer. My doctoral dissertation was written on a manual Smith-Corona typewriter, and we were not allowed to erase. It had a spell-checker by the name of Betty who retyped and proofed my work.
Any research then was done by reading volumes in the library, while today Google and Yahoo do the work fast and cheap. Yahoo was a word then, used by the Rev. Jonathan Swift in “Gulliver’s Travels,” while the word Google had not been invented. Words change, except “cool,” which is still around.
In the 1960s, there were no cars made in Korea, no heart bypass surgery, phones had cords, and computers used punch cards and took up a whole room.
It would appear that both the old and new have their benefits and liabilities. The only problem is that the past is, well, the past.
• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4231 or e-mailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.