But, as we pass from yet another year after 1990 into a further year, it gives me pause for thought that some elements of life that seemed of vital importance not so very long ago have become archaisms.
Winston Churchill once wrote that some of the gentlemen present at his baptism had fought Napoleon at Waterloo. Churchill fought Hitler and was alive into the space age. I was an adult when he died. It moves along quickly, does history. So does life and so do things that may seem vitally important at any given moment.
Like dated fashions the vital elements of times past can seem quaint, disagreeable, or downright hilarious in their tastelessness. For example, I watched a bit of Saturday Night Fever a couple of days ago. Hee-hee. White suit, guffaw. Vinnie Barbarino as credible sex symbol. ROTFL.
By the way ‘ROTFL’ would have meant nothing in 1990. So, blessedly, would have LOL. There were virtues to life-oldschool. By the way, and only as a smug aside, I have never once used LOL in an email, Facebook or elsewhere. But that may be because not too many things are so mirthful that I actually “laugh out loud.” “Why are you laughing out loud?” Wendy will call out from the other room. “That’s not like you.”
Now that I am a country mile off-topic I’ll get back to what I was attempting to say. That is that stuff comes and goes and what once seemed so important (like a former marriage, for example) fades into either irrelevance or just a bad memory to not be exercised too often.
But the old-order changeth, and it does so very rapidly. Remember when:
– People taped TV shows and movies on VHS cassettes. I have a huge rack of VHS tapes. I almost literally do not watch any of them.
– People bought videocams and ubiquitously violated the privacy of others with them. I have one. I paid $1,000 for it. It hasn’t been used in years. My little digital camera does the same thing and less obtrusively.
– Cameras used films that had to be processed and waited for.
– It was boss to have a car with a four-barrel carb. Cars had carburetors and fuel-injection was viewed with suspicion.
– Car interiors were littered with both cassette-tapes and tobacco ash.
– You were just a little wary of unleaded gasoline.
– Older cars exuded plumes of smoke due to burning oil when the valves were shot.
– Cars got 15-miles to the gallon and that was considered good mileage. They also rarely lasted much past 100,000 miles and tires were good for about 20,000 tops.
– You warmed your car engine up before starting out and then you tramped on the gas before turning it off so you could blow out any unused fuel from that four-barrel carb.
– You bought that ultra-modern typewriter into which you could insert a correction tape, thus negating the need to use Whiteout. (Still have on of those sitting in the garage. Want to buy it?)
– Genuine filament-bearing incandescent lightbulbs were the norm and nobody could imagine that somebody with an overbearing sense of moral rectitude could find Mr. Edison’s invention questionable and demand that you replace it with an inferior product at an inflated price.
Now, before you think I am being negative, I’m not. I believe most of our tech advances are great. Except for those stupid light bulbs.