Sunday, March 30, 2014

So I am not the ONLY one who thinks things can only get better when you can instantly look up who played that one role in that one movie and then spend an afternoon reading Wikipedia before realizing you are two hours late for a meeting.

The other day, I read XKCD and found this comic strip awaiting me:

Which was exactly the same sentiment as the one I expressed in last year's For Some Reason I Am Absolutely Convinced That Kids Have Tiny Sentient Robots To Play With (And I Am Jealous), which you can read here (I bet you won't click on it, don't feel bad I know you have things to do, just try to give me a call some time *plays Cat's In The Cradle, stares off into space over a half-empty cup of coffee*) and in which I said:

Here is how you played Superball Baseball: You and another person -- let's say, your brother, or Paul, the kid from next door who sometimes seemed a little weird but mostly was okay -- would get a superball, one of those tiny plastic balls that were all the rage in the 1970s and 1980s, too, and let me take a moment here to just go back to an earlier point that I will elaborate on now:


People sit around fretting about kids playing video games and reading books online and having webpages and never getting outside and reminisce about the "old days" when parents played, apparently,mumblety-peg, and yet every single thing I write about what we did when we were kids involves saying stuff like

"tiny plastic balls that were all the rage"

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, life sucked so hard that people got excited when superballs were invented.  Which is to say: people got excited when plastic got a little more dense.  VIVA LA 1980s!

I have some good memories of childhood, and had some fun playing games, but the thing is: all the fun stuff that I did when I was a kid, like taking inner tubes to the Bark River and floating them down to Nixon Park, or sledding down Kill Hill, or bike-racing -- all of that can still be done today (albeit by local ordinance it all must be done in the form of "organized soccer" on Saturday mornings, and Tom has to bring the donuts this week) -- but everything else has become one hundred quintillion times more awesome, because if you don't feel like doing one of those things, nowadays you can go to a playground that is not just "a couple of swings dangling from rusty chains" and you can go play video games that let you explore whole worlds, and you can download every single book ever in about 30 seconds per book and read it and you have movies at your fingertips and kids have tiny robots, probably, so let's have an end to all this "boy things were better back when I was a kid" nonsense because it was not.

You want your kids to go out tubing on the Bark River? Take them.  Then let them play their iPads on the way and on the way home and everyone's happy and nobody had to hear you drone on and on about life back when people knew what "Kajagoogoo" was (but they didn't like it.)


If you DIDN'T click the link, or if you'd already read that post, you could always:

Check out my short story "Sea" on Inky Magazine, or read the brief short story "A Work In Progress" on lit, a place for stories.

Or, you know, just ignore me.

When you comin' home son I don't know when... we'll get together then, Dad. You know we'll have a good time then.

I'll... be okay.


Robin said...

I noticed that you mentioned me in the label. I think that taking a portion of your old post and incorporating it into the new one worked well. I actually clicked on the old post and read it. About that post... your parents were nuts. I grew up in the 80s and my parents never talked about that stuff. Property values. I am not sure that I knew what that meant until I bought my first house. I didn't even wonder about it until then.

I think your superball baseball actually sounds like a fun game. Or would have been if your parents had just been smart and painted the garage black. Duh.

I am one of "those people" who believe that kids are better off without so much technology and getting outside and playing. I think teenagers + the internet is a recipe for disaster. Yeah, because sending a naked picture of yourself sounds cool when you're 14, but the reality is... not so much. And once it is out there... well, it's out there.

I thank God every day that there was in internet when I was a teenager. Thank you God. Thank you.

My ex-husband's teenage kids stayed with me for a week after Christmas. They both got IPhones. It was impossible to get them to do anything. All they wanted to do was play on Instagram. You know posting selfies (in the girl's case with way too much eye make-up closeted in the bathroom so I would not know what she was doing) and the boy wanted to jump off tall things like buildings... because that is COOL.

I finally said, "What is the big deal about Instagram?"

Turns out that Instagram is the way that they measure their self-worth. Self-esteem. If they get "likes" from their peers they are on top of the world. If they don't, well the world has just crashed into the sun. Honestly, junior high and high school were hard enough without having something on the internet like Instagram for everyone to see how popular or unpopular you are.

I see years of therapy ahead for this "millenial" generation. They now get bullied at school and at home through their phones, Ipads, laptops, etc.

I had a record player and a hairbrush (for a microphone). 3 channels on the TV. Friends to play with in the street. Books to read. I was never bored. When I went to junior high school I was bullied mercilessly and hated life. But that wasn't boredom. It was active hatred.

Robin said...

And here are the typos because I didn't proofread... again...

I thank God every day that there was NO internet when I was a teenager.

Briane P said...

Wow! I don't usually get that much of a response.

You make some good points. I'm sort of the opposite of my parents; last year, Mr Bunches wanted to cut down a tree in our yard to see what that was like, so we did it. And our house is set up to NOT have any property values.

But I differ with you on the Internet. I think everything in moderation. I like having the option of watching a movie, reading a book, listening to music, or shopping anytime. Today, I spent some time watching a movie and reading "The New Yorker," but we also played "Baby Lion Cubs" and are going for a walk by the river later on, so if you space it out, it's great.

Your ex's kids, though: that's a problem. When we were kids in the 80s, it wasn't as easy, I think to be bullied and picked on and have your worth openly measured. And we didn't have as many opportunities to get into trouble, like you noted. Or at least not PERMANENT trouble.

I'm glad you went and read them! I think I'll start doing Me, Annotated on here in deference to you.

Liz A. said...

For years I've been extolling those who make apps (and before apps, anyone would might be able to make this happen) for someone to make it so that when you're watching a show on TV and you see an actor who you know you know from someplace, but you can't quite place where, you could somehow get their filmography so you could figure it out. Just the other day I saw that app actually now exists.

But, teens take things to extremes. And they do stupid things.

Just like with any sort of new technology, it's totally cool, except when it makes things worse than they used to be. All at the same time.

Andrew Leon said...

So, yeah, I already read that other stuff and remember the super ball post (and I'm pretty sure I remember, even, my comment,but I'm not going to go look).

I was almost never bored as a kid. As least, not when I was left on my own. I do remember being bored when I was dragged to stores with my mom. Like the fabric store. That was the WORST! There was nothing to do there, and she would sit and look at patterns for HOURS and HOURS (it probably wasn't, but it felt like it), and I would get in trouble for sitting on the floor or lying on the floor or touching the fabric. Or, well, anything. The fabric store was my nemesis! I am just now realizing that. But, other than that, I didn't have a problem with entertaining myself. Sometimes it was outside, sometimes it was reading, sometimes it was building models.
Sometimes it was the Atari. Man, the Atari! So I don't have a problem with technology as long as parents make sure their kids are not just doing technology.

A Beer For The Shower said...

I wasn't ever bored as a kid because I had my imagination. Then around high school the Internet came out, and it was useful, but I had still grown up without it so it was mostly for research. Not entertainment. It probably sounds like the most old-fartish thing I could ever say, but I refuse to be tethered to my smartphone and I treat it purely like a phone. Way too many people get engrossed with their smartphones that they just walk around like zombies and would rather interact with a 2 inch screen than other people. No thanks.

Hey, I'll trade you that superball for my ball in a cup.

Briane P said...

Andrew: you couldn't bring a book with you? Books were the smartphones of my youth

Liz: I think you and I agree on this.

Beer: (A) I just read your blog and you are like TEN YEARS OLD so I don't think you can comment. But overall, it's easy to not be bored, even without the Internet, until you are sitting in a fabric store, or waiting in line, or forced to sit in the living room while your parents talk with the neighbors about property values. I'd have given my eye teeth for a smart phone then, and I don't even know what 'eye teeth' are.

Andrew Leon said...

Well, I was, like, six, and I didn't really have "books," yet.