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Celebrating geezerdom

I saw what follows on the BBC, written by a young teenager and good sport named Scott Campbell. I laughed practically non-stop through the whole thing, coming at it from the geezer side myself. I have to share snippets with you.

BBC | Giving up my iPod for a Walkman

My dad had told me it was the iPod of its day.

He had told me it was big, but I hadn’t realised he meant THAT big. It was the size of a small book. …

From a practical point of view, the Walkman is rather cumbersome, and it is certainly not pocket-sized, unless you have large pockets. It comes with a handy belt clip screwed on to the back, yet the weight of the unit is enough to haul down a low-slung pair of combats.

And you probably thought we didn’t wear those diaper pants because we weren’t cool, huh?

… It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser ….

I love it.

You can almost imagine the excitement about the Walkman coming out 30 years ago, as it was the newest piece of technology at the time.

Perhaps that kind of anticipation and excitement has been somewhat lost in the flood of new products which now hit our shelves on a regular basis.

Personally, I’m relieved I live in the digital age, with bigger choice, more functions and smaller devices. I’m relieved that the majority of technological advancement happened before I was born . . .

Bwahahaha.  Sort of reminds me of whoever it was before Niels Bohr and Einstein burst upon the scene, saying there was nothing new to be discovered in physics.  The boy’s in good company.

. . . as I can’t imagine having to use such basic equipment every day. …

Did my dad, Alan, really ever think this was a credible piece of technology?

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109 Responses

  1. I LOVED my 8 track tape player. It sat in my dorm room and I wore out ” moon light feels right” and “lash larue” on it.

    • My first car had an 8-track mounted under the dash when I bought it. I later upgraded to an in-dash 8-track with AM/FM (the original radio was AM only)

      • Y’all remember the match books under the cassette to keep it playing correctly, right?

      • I think we took a lot more pleasure in our technology than your kids do. To them it changes every year. We could look forward to the newest thing for several years and when we finally got it, it was still the newest thing.

  2. quixote, according to journalism.org this was the top story in the blogoshere a couple of weeks ago. I must admit, when I saw it I went like: “Huh?” Not on my blogs it’s not, lol!

    http://tinyurl.com/m4c3db

    The story is kind of similar to realizing that kids don’t know what a gramophone/record player is – sigh! 😉

  3. Yes, the story has been around for, I don’t know, six weeks or something. I saw it a couple of days ago, when I was goofing around on the BBC, trying to find something not-too-depressing to look at! What can I say? The “About Me” on my blog lists my main accomplishment as “world-class procrastinator.”

  4. This cracks me up. I have seen youngins dazed and confused by a rotary phone . lol!

    • Imagine if they saw milk delivered by the milkman with the cream on top. No homogenized milk when I was a kid. As for rotary phones, we had the kind where the operator comes on and says “number please,” and you give her the number you want. LOL!

      • Even push-button phones are antiques now….

      • How about:

        Reusable glass milk bottles?

        Returnable/reusable soda bottles?

        Soda in tin cans with pull-tabs?

        Black&white televisions?

      • I’m old enough to recall the final days of milk delivery. At the same time — and others may be able to verify this recollection — orange milk cartons appeared in southern California stores. These cartons bore the following label in huge type:

        HOMO MILK

        Nowadays, of course, nobody would dare put out such a product. But back then, I never heard anyone make the obvious joke. People just grabbed their carton of Homo Milk, brought it home and fed it to their kids.

        The tech differences between then and now are less striking than are the sociological differences.

        • Woah. Turns out I’m wrong. They still sell Homo Milk in Canada.

          http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2006/07/01/canada_eh.html

        • My eldest (age five at the time) came home all upset because the kids and the teacher didn’t believe the answer. Everyone said they got milk at the store and my child said ‘Carnation delivers twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays’. It was true, the milkman did deliver our milk and we were some of his older accounts that he kept on his route, until he closed up shop (retired).

        • Don’t look now, but I think we just stamped and dated ourselves, commenting about milk deliveries.

          • When I was very little my dad delivered milk for Abbotts dairies.
            he had one of the few horse drawn milk wagons left. I remember him telling me about how the horse (jerry) always knew when they got to the last house on the route and would take off for home and my day had to chase him.

            WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

            PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

          • Sting’s father used to do a milk float delivery up North in England (Newcastle area). His son would often accompany him-that’s where he learned to be social.

            In a similar way Bill Clinton learned from his grandfather, who had a grocery store (if I remember right).

          • We had milk delivery up til about 15 years ago.

            When I was a kid we also had the Dugan man delivering bread products twice a week and “Jimmy the Peddlar” who came around with a converted bus selling fresh vegetables and fruit from the farmers market twice a week.

          • I remember the hucksters coming around with vegetables and fruit. I also remember when the man would come around and sharpen scissors and knives, ( don’t tell Capt Spalding}.
            The water ice truck would come every night.
            Now grocery stores in our town advertise that you can order by e-mail or phone and they will deliver for a charge.

            OT
            I am going through my bookshelves and cleaning them out. I do this about 3 times a year. and take them to the local veterans hospital. Each time I swear I am not going to buy more books but I always do. Books and tea are my weaknesses. I do it for a couple of minutes then come comment then go back to books.

            WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE, MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

            PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

        • I remember that!

  5. Reminds me of a couple years ago my teen son was turning an album over and over in his hands with a look of utter confusion and asking me how I expected it to fit in any of our “players”.

  6. Oh no! I missed this last night. Great post, Quixote.

    I always thought Walkmans were annoying–the same way I hate it when people talk on their cell phones in public. I guess I’m used to it now. The students I teach hardly ever take the things off. Sometimes you have to ask them to removed their headphones in class. I do have an mp3 player, but I don’t walk around with it much. I like to see and hear what’s happening around me.

    The kid doesn’t mention that there are still CD walkmans around–at least you could still buy them last time I checked.

    I’m definitely a geezer.

    • I guess the post was just scheduled for the wrong time. I’m glad I didn’t miss it.

  7. You’d think eventually, especially as stunningly fast as technology moves, people would not think what they have now is the end all be all and be amazed at how the previous generation thought that same thing about what they had. Same old same old. We’ll have the same conversation in 5 to 10 years with someone younger amazed that this kid thought his ipod was something special.

  8. You know you are in GeezerVille when you are comparing ailments, instead of dates/love life at family gatherings. How is your bone density? The best one, is the ‘constitutional one’…and it isn’t about the constitution! Q: Are you REGULAR? The other big sign is when you are not comparing gyms, but comparing brands of Metamucil http://www.metamucil.com/ …your favorite flavor…hemmm. 😯

  9. a piece of wood and a wooden box and roller skate wheels= scooter
    45rmp record player
    black and white tv that did not have 24 hr programing and music shorts used as fill ins before MTV made a fortune from them.
    LIstening to radio programs like The Shadow,, Inner Sanctum.. FBI stories. Saturday AM childrens shows
    Watching Milton Berle, Howdy Dowdy,Arthur Godfrey
    Boys and girls bikes with lights on the front and back and putting cardboard in the spokes to make noise.
    Saturday afternoon at the movies, feature films, serials, every body waited for the next chapter, news reels.
    Half ball games, or hose ball games
    wagons to carry groceries and earn money, kids cutting grass and yard work to earn money
    Sometimes I think we had more to keep us busy than the kids now with all the new tech things.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS, AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • We used a playing card on our bikes, held on with a clothes pin, to make noise.

      • No time is perfect but it feels nice to remember the good things and the fun we had.

        WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

        PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  10. Good thing they didn’t get into calculator comparisons. I still have my big giant Bomar Brain calculator. Somewhere. I think it’s still hip and cool. 🙂

    • I had to learn to use a slide rule.

    • We had to write the times tables over and over again until we could recite them without error. I do not know anyone who was allowed to use a calculator in school. We had to use the computer we were born with called a brain.
      arithmetic, spelling, and punctuation were all checked and expected to be right.
      I know the world is more complicated now but I wish kids could be taught the basics and how to use the brain before giving them gadgets to use instead. Somehow I think they are being cheated. Now kids have to have calculators before third grade, when to they learn to add, subtract,multiply and divide in their head?

      WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

      PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

      • Yikes, same here. I remember all of those table memorizations. That was painful. Oh man, and all those latin declensions. My brain still hurts from years and years of latin. I like the idea of teaching kids what it all means and how to derive things, but I’m not sure about memorizing tables and such. Sure felt like torture at the time.

        • I still struggle with 7 x 8 vs. 6 x 9

          One is 54 and the other is 56 but I get them mixed up.

          • Just round them both to 55. Close enough for practical purposes. 🙂

          • Ha, given that I’m a mathematician, that advice can only mean one thing. I’m an old geezer. 🙂

          • hmmmmm. I do the same thing.

            When I taught elementary grades, I made them learn their tables. But they did not have to get them perfectly in order to move on. Then we just cycled through again, in very short exercises. I thought the kids did quite well. I did not grade them, but they got credit for doing it.

          • myiq2xu
            All the answers in the 9xs table equal 9.

            I remember being taught to spell arithmetic as
            a a
            r rat
            i in
            t the
            h house
            m may
            e eat
            t the
            i ice
            c cream

            WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE, MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

            PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

          • Cool thing with the nine times tables, is you place the finger that you are computing the answer for and place it downward and you then can count fingers on each side of that finger to get the answer.

            Try it. Put your sixth finger down. On the left side you will have 5 fingers and on the right you will have 4. 9X6=54.

            Too bad I didn’t know this when they made us memorize the times tables.

  11. and you knew better than to pi– off the old lady.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  12. My first mobile phone was the size of a small handbag. I literally slung it over my shoulder. Finally got rid of my word processor. Had to get a guy to bring it up from the basement, it was so big; bigger than a Selectric typewriter.

    • I love my little cell phone, but I sometimes miss the days when I could be “out of contact” for hours or even a day at a time, and NO ONE FREAKED OUT.

      My kids now panic or get annoyed when they call someone a few times in 30 minutes and can’t reach them. “ZOMG, pick up your phooone!” The idea of not being constantly connected is actually a little frightening to them, I think.

      • Lol! I was just about to say: But you can! (be out of contact) … Then I got to the “and NO ONE FREAKED OUT”! Heh, so true!

  13. By the way, yesterday I mused about Maureen Dowd’s next columm on Hillary. She has out done herself as I expected. So let “the Daily Howler” explain. Much better than I could. This lady needs to go.

  14. Yea, I agree with ya, but I’ve been writing the NYT public editor every week, no response. I guess one person is not going to get it done.

    • Her inane writing is a feature, not a bug.

      Would anyone pay her to write that drivel unless they WANTED her to write that drivel?

  15. Somebody once told me that you know you’re old when you keep pointing out stuff that isn’t there anymore.

    “See that apartment complex? That was the empty lot where we played baseball when I was a kid.”

    • PBS has a series called things that aren’t there anymore. The go to different cities and get old film of different parts of the city and what is no longer there.

      When I see the one on Philadelphia it brings back a lot of memories.

      WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

      PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • Here we say: “You’re old when you find policemen and doctors to be extremely young.”

      No offense, but seeing some members of your policeforce, I understand if you don’t have that saying. 😉

  16. Another mark of geezerdom is when someone matter of factly talks about a childhood thing that wasn’t around when you were a little kid. Someone was reminiscing about Sesame Street when they were a little kid and asked if it had the same effect on me. I had to say it didn’t exist when I was a little kid.

  17. My Dad and my dog sleep a lot. I am practicing my taking naps.

    I am about to go to the VFW post to take some old flags for proper disposal. One of them was sent to my mother by the gov/t near the end of WWII. She died last year. I feel kind of emotional, but cannot see keeping a worn out old flag.

    We used to fly it at the beach because the house had a large flagpole. My mother was so unsentimental that she said the gov’t probably just shipped them out to all the widows. She did not believe it was actually from her husband’s casket. I don’t know. A few years ago I tracked down his grave, which is in Italy. The gov’t sent me a photo of it.

  18. So glad this post has been moved up! Lots of fun reading!
    Can’t help it but have to post this Monthy Python (again 🙂 ):

    • Pips
      Thank you for this clip. It is perfect for this post.

      Can you top this is always fun.

      WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

      PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

      • You know Helen, I’ll take any opportunity to post that clip – and this one too 😀 :

        Love that woman! And love the sound of the boys’ laughter at the end!

        • Pips
          I posted that one earlier on the thread. That lady is my hero. I want to be just like her.
          I also love the clips of the granny gangs.

          I have a saying on my wall
          Life is not journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body. but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming ” Wow, what a ride !!!!

          WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

          PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • That was great! Why we had to live in a cardboard box in the middle of the road… Ah kids, you tell them how tough you had it and the don’t even believe you. 🙂

      • No, isn’t it sad! They just go: “Yawwwn! We’ve heard that like a million times before!”

        Sniff! No sympathy whatsoever!

  19. Okay, this is funny. OT and from a conservative source, but the image just cracks me the hell up:

    If politicians are treated with contempt, it is because they, as a class, have behaved contemptuously. Members of both parties have shown a high tolerance for corruption. The public tends to view members of Congress as oversexed middling figures on a power trip, perhaps hoping to earn big money as a lobbyist after their time in Congress. The public mostly accepts the corruption of Congress as a fact of life, electing incumbents on the philosophy of “better the devil you know.”

    However, when people we distrust and view as corrupt start wanting to mess around with our health insurance coverage while running an annual deficit of nearly $2 trillion, many are justifiably angry and will show it.

    I wouldn’t urge shouting down members of Congress. I would much prefer sarcasm as a response to the demands of Speaker Pelosi. Go to a town hall meeting and begin your statement with an obsequious “my liege lord” or “if it pleases your excellency.” Maybe curtsy for them.

    What’s becoming apparent to the American public is that we have an imperious Congress full of big egos and little minds, greedy, near-sighted people who are drowning future generations in debt and have the gall to demand that people calm down.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-people-are-angry-you-dont-say/2/

    ROTFLMAO! I’d really love to see that. Someone at a town hall giving a sweeping bow, than going to one knee with lowered head, saying:

    “I prithee, my liege lord, give ear to the concerns of a faithful peasant. Wilst thou not hear, in thy noble benevolence, the worries and concerns of thy subjects that cry unto thee? Hearken to us if it pleases thee, your excellency, for we are sore distressed.”

    I’d pay MONEY to see that. LMAO!

  20. If I were her, I’d say “A simple Your Majesty will do.” Not that I like Pelosi, it just seems like a good comeback.

    I loved that when I read a long time ago about Robin Morgan addressing a high school student body. A boy raised his hand and said “What would you like me to call you, Mrs., Miss or that stupid Ms?” Morgan replied “A simply Your Majesty will do.” LOL!

  21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8197683.stm

    I want to call this planet ” PUMA” it does not go along with the crowd.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  22. Spammy, that bad Ole boy has got my comments and won’t let go of them???

  23. Folks, life happened and I just got to the great comments posted. *Love* that Monty Python clip.

    And, likewise OT but this quote tickled by grammar police nerve: “If politicians are treated with contempt, it is because they, as a class, have behaved contemptuously.” I agree that politicians behave contemptuously. That’s part of what makes their behavior so contemptible.

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