The good ol’ days weren’t as simple as the Boomers make them out to be. In many ways, they more cumbersome, convoluted, and just a bigger pain than they are today. There were no computers, calculators, TV remote, or cable, and enormous microwave ovens were only for restaurants and the rich. There were no such things as industrial computers or Windows — just goofy and esoteric computer languages cobbled together by demons from Hell that disguised themselves to look like harmless nerdy programmers. We’re onto you, Satan.
If you never experienced any of the above, you cannot imagine the improvement of today over yesterday. So much technology of yesteryear has been replaced by newer stuff that, quite frankly, blows the old crap out of the water. Apologies to aficionados of the past, but your time was up long ago.
10. Propeller-Driven/Piston Engine Airliners
Jets, with their greater speed, cheaper fuel, and greater hauling capacity, have made the old gas burners relics of the past. When the 707 entered service in 1957. it became the first successful jet models, and spawned a cornucopia of modern jets. Even the New York Titans of the American Football League became the Jets we know of today. Thankfully, real jets aren’t nearly as awkward, self-destructive, and horrible at their jobs as the football Jets are.
9. Carbon Paper
Anybody remember how much fun it was to try to accurately line up the original, carbon, and copy papers, and keep them straight in the typewriter at all times? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Carbon paper was also useful for mussing up your hands, hair, and anything else you did not want black gunk on. However, it was kind of useful as night camouflage for burglars and other denizens of the dark, so that’s one point for the past anyhow.
Modern copy machines, on the other hand, spit out cheap and virtually perfect copies with little muss or fuss. Today’s school kids will never know the wonderful smell of a freshly printed pop quiz, but somehow you won’t hear too many of them complain about it.
8. Liquid Paper/Wite Out
The brainchild of the mother of Monkee Michael Nesmith, this stuff actually came in various colors to match various shades of paper. The first blow to this office icon was the little paper correction tape that you placed over the typo and then typed over. Next up came the roll of sticky backed white tape that you would roll right over the words to be deleted and broken off. Electric typewriters then came out with self-contained correction ribbons, so that you could make corrections right on the machine as you typed. When word processors and computers became common use, and typewriters became obsolete, so did Liquid Paper.
7. The Typewriter
Originally, there were only manual typewriters, with no fancy electric jobs in sight. When electric typewriters with self-correcting ribbons became common, they were a great relief to typists everywhere. Then word processors reared their heads, and the typing was on the wall. Once PCs and Macs became readily available, for both business and home use, they officially sounded the death knell of the typewriter. Outside of Santa giving the ironic hipster in your family the stocking stuffer of a lifetime, there is simply no longer a need for typewritten anything.
6. Cursive Writing
Despite still being necessary to properly sign a document, cursive writing is almost never taught in school anymore. It is considered obsolete, as more and more work gets done via email, the Internet, or Word Doc and printer. Kids are still taught to print by hand, for those rare times they need to jot something down, but the beautiful flowing script of scholars past (or in the case of doctors and celebrities, unintelligible scribble) is just about long gone. Future crime fighters are simply going to have to learn how to analyze text messages if they want to track down those elusive super-villains.
5. Snail Mail
Letters, brochures, coupons, birthday cards, and just about anything else that used to be sent by mail can now be sent cheaper and more reliably by email or other electronic means. Even if you want to give five bucks to your nephew on his birthday, you could always just Paypal it to him, and save the stamp. Pen pals? Please; if you want to communicate with someone overseas you email, use Facebook, comment on their blog, or Tweet at them. Maybe all those soon-to-be-unemployed postal employees could be put to work recycling unneeded typewriters, carbon paper, and Wite-Out.
4. Pay Phones
Other than the occasional one gathering dust on the corner of the local 7-11, payphones are well and truly history. Cell phones have taken the country by storm. Even first graders feel deprived if they don’t have one, and parents feel helplessly out of contact with their kids if everybody does not have a cell phone with them at all times.
When cell phones were first proposed, and the incredible number of cell towers necessary to make the system viable was stated, most never believed it would happen. Well, it happened, and now cell towers are just about the most common tree in the country. Superman’s just gonna have to change in the bathroom now, like everybody else.
3. Just About Every Way To Play Music, Ever
Vinyl, eight-track, cassettes, and even CDs: all are either dead or dying, replaced by downloading songs onto computers, flash drives, and hand-held devices. Now that we have the ability to legally download MP3s of songs from Amazon and iTunes, and put thousands of them on a flash drive to play in our car using voice-activated commands, listening to music any other way just seems passe. It truly makes one wonder what could possibly top it down the line.
2. Camera And Movie Film
With digital cameras and movie recorders, the old super eight is headed for the super dump. Like with MP3s, the new stuff has completely obliterated anything that came before it. Recording via DVD and Blu-Ray are just so much more compact, easier, cheaper, and better, but even they have a shelf life. More and more, it seems recording via your computer or DVR is the wave of the future. And that’s fine by us.
The VHS played a major role in popularizing the video tape rental services of the ’80s and ’90s. The introduction of the DVD in 1997, however, signaled the rapid decline of the VHS format. More recently, the availability of On Demand and Netflix have further diminished the home video market. Want an example? Blockbuster Video, at its peak, had over 9,000 stores. Today, they’re down to 500, and by the time you’re done reading this sentence, three more have probably shut down for good. The convenience of renting movies through your computer, TV, or video game console is undeniable. Hey, if that means one less thing that gets buried under somebody’s bed, not to be found until Moving Day, then we are all for it.
By Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, author of Banned From The Internet