What Good Old Days?

I remember a few years back when I worked at BigHugeCo when a coworker lamented that kids no longer have manners, that kids of our generation respected their elders. I asked when this magical time was, since it was not in my lifetime.

“Oh, come on, Jim. Haven’t you noticed how kids are today? No one would have talked like that when we were kids.”

I said I didn’t know what planet he was from, but I remember kids being all that he complained about and even a lot worse. He strongly disagreed.

I think there’s a tendency to remember the past with rose-colored glasses. I remember kids back-talking to their moms (My brothers and I, for instance, but we were frequent spectators to others.) I’ve also seen kids get snapped back pretty hard in the present by their parents. Nothing’s really changed.

There’s a lot of pining for the good ol’ days, more so now than a few years ago. That’s to be expected. The economy isn’t exactly booming at the moment. However, I don’t see where pining for the seventies really solves anything. In the seventies, steel mills closed, cities went bankrupt, Detroit – with the exception of Chrysler – wasn’t going to get a bailout. And that Japanese car you drive? It was made in Japan, not Tennessee or California. Not good.

I fail to see where pining for an era that was actually worse than the present one does any good. Oh, I miss some things from my childhood, but I’m not about to go scampering all over the cliff face of Lodi Community Park at 46. For starters, even if I could do what I did at 12 and not kill myself in the process, I’d pay for it the next couple of days. But I don’t miss the outrageous inflation. I don’t miss everyone saying we’d be communist in a few years.

I don’t miss rotary phones. I don’t miss long distance phone service. You want to charge me how much to call Philadelphia? I don’t miss cable that only existed because we lived in the bottom of a valley. I don’t miss 70’s cars (unless they’re the muscle cars.) I sure as hell don’t miss the clothes, and I don’t miss the Soviet Union. I don’t miss having to hold one of those clunky tape recorders up to a radio or someone’s record player when I wanted to get a song I liked but couldn’t buy the record.

And really, when were the good ol’ days? Segregation? Women not voting? Slavery? Polio and small pox? Yellow fever? A fifty-year average life span? No central heating or getting around by horse and buggy?

There were no good ol’ days. Ever. Not even now.

Unless you make them so. But you can only do that in the present.

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One thought on “What Good Old Days?

  1. I’m with you all the way on this one, and make the same arguments you did when someone brings it up. For every thing they miss, I insist on reminding them of something they’d have to take back to even things out.

    I call it old baseball fart syndrome. “We played the game right when I was playing. Half these kids today couldn’t have made the major leagues 40 years ago.” Research shows this has been said by retired ballplayers pretty much since there has been retired ballplayers.

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