Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rubbers, Cruise Control, and Dinosaurs

I was driving Joni to work this morning, and I turned to her and asked, "Do kids still wear rubbers?"  I thought it was an innocent question, but it garnered a look of disbelief.

Realizing she was envisioning something completely different, I refreshed her memory to when we were both young and most shoes were made from leather.  In order to protect them on snowy, slushy days like today, our parents would make us cover them with rubber sheathes in the shape of shoes...they were called "rubbers."  Fortunately, she remembered and told me they are now referred to as "galoshes," which I remembered as tall, uncomfortable, rubber boots with peculiar but effective metal clamps used to close them.  Joni said that they also still exist, but now all the footwear in that category is referred to as galoshes.  I looked online to learn that she is right.  Of course, I grew up long before Gore-Tex® or fashionable winter boots, which made me realize that at 61, I'm getting old.

After all, I remember a time when Boston had only two TV stations (ABC had yet to expand here), before the AFL (now the AFC of the NFL) was founded,  before color TV, before plastic bags, and when gasoline was 30 cents a gallon and attendants would wash both windshields, check your oil, and give you Green Stamps (or sometimes actual gifts like dishes or glasses).

Of course, there were no computers, and electric typewriters were very expensive, so must of us used manual typewriters (the lower case "L" took the place of the number 1, which did not exist on the limited keyboard).  The closest most of us came to "technology" was drinking Tang, which, as everyone knew, was invented for the space program.

I've seen every Super Bowl (on TV of course), and I still use cruise control on the highway.  This last revelation might seem a bit odd, but I've noticed that with all the hybrids, most highway drivers these days try to save fuel by keeping their foot on the gas pedal at about the same level of depression, no matter what the incline.  This leads them to slow down as they drive uphill and speed up on the way downhill, which is very frustrating when you are trying to stick to a consistent speed (as when using cruise control).

If you're in my generation, you've likely seen the emails pointing out things that we remember that those young'uns don't.  You can reminisce about a time when plastic was rare, vinyl was used for records, and most things were made from metal, glass, or wood.  It saddens us that only two cast members from "Gilligan's Island" are still alive, and that if you were a boy back then, you likely had the hots for one of them--Tina Louise (Ginger) or Dawn Wells (Mary Ann).  It's further dismaying to know that Louise is now 79 and Wells is 75.  Fortunately, Betty and Veronica never aged.

But we are beginning to become dinosaurs, and the ice age approaches (if you look outside my window today, you might think it's already here).  We have moved into an era when our lives are digitized and online for all to see, and our identities are under a constant barrage of theft and hacking.  We can choose which aspects of modern culture we embrace...I'm writing a blog and posting on Facebook, but I refuse to "tweet" or engage in cyberspeak, and I don't trust the cloud.

You may be incensed at being referred to in this way, thinking that you are in your prime, but that's like saying that Nixon didn't know about Watergate.  If you're old enough to remember that reference, you're likely past your physical prime.  Personally, I take pride in knowing that I'm still standing and getting enjoyment from modern music, movies, and technology.  I wear my dinosaur badge proudly (sometimes keeping it in my wallet next to my AARP card).

In 30 years, Gavin may recall an era of VCRs, cars that ran on gasoline, and airports that didn't look like a scene from "Total Recall," where passengers were treated like people, rather than potential terrorists.  But for now, he has to yield the dinosaur throne, which I sit in proudly as I lean back and set the cruise control.

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