By Dobie Maxwell
I am becoming an increasingly disgruntled, formerly proud child of the 1970s. I used to think it was generationally cool to have come of age in the decade of bell bottoms, leisure suits and Elton John’s glasses, but after further review I feel more like a goober than anything close to groovy.
My generation is going to officially be the last of the ridiculously out of touch geezers, and it’s starting to chap my choker already. I am not quite senile just yet and I can clearly recall having it pounded into our Tang soaked psyches in school that by the year 2000, three things would be sure to happen without question:
- There would be absolutely no gasoline left on the planet whatsoever.
- America would be using the metric system.
- Soccer would be the undisputed number one sport in America.
I don’t know who the drooling mook was that came up with these three dud predictions, but he or she surely wasn’t qualified to predict a coin flip. It was all a scam, and we had to give up all of our big spacious road boats when gasoline hit – gasp – a dollar a gallon. Oh, for those prices now!
Whoever is in charge of this morally bankrupt little planet – and it’s not the president – wanted to test the masses to see how much we would take. If we would accept a buck a gallon in the ‘70s who knows how high it could get a few decades later. My generation were the first guinea pigs.
And all these years later, you mean to tell me they couldn’t have discovered a way to run a car on pickle juice or pig poop? Look at the breathtaking breakthroughs in virtually every other field of technology, but we’re still driving around in combustion engine pollution producers. Pshaw.
This wasn’t all the poppycock that was proliferated in principle. Another load of manure I still remember smelling was the concept of Global Cooling. Yes, you read that correctly. It was what was supposed to exterminate humanity as we know it just like they prattle on today about Global Warming. It wasn’t until they saw they had no clue that they switched it to “Climate Change.”
Just as I was preparing in my mind to measure how many meters thick the ice was that was collecting on my roof, as I watched a championship soccer game on TV, they go and pull the rug out from my entire generation. And in all the futuristic movies like “Omega Man” and “Logan’s Run,” did any of those psychotic psychics happen to see, say…cell phones in their crystal ball? I guess not.
What started this whole thread in my head was when I went over to visit my neighbor the other Wednesday, and I saw a football game on the living room television. His teenage son was sitting on the couch and I quizzically asked, “What football game would be played on a Wednesday?”
The kid didn’t bother to look in my direction and I’m glad he didn’t. He told me it was a video game, and I felt like an even bigger out of touch rube than I already was before I got there. Those graphics were so good I actually mistook it for an actual game. I admit I do wear glasses, but I’m definitely not blind. I went to examine the TV a little closer, and sure enough, he was correct.
Not only was I embarrassed to the bone in front of the kid, it set my memory off as to what my generation of kids had to play with. I can remember when Tudor’s “Electric Football” was a big deal, and I wince at the memory. It was a rectangular metal board that plugged into a wall outlet, and two teams of plastic NFL players would have to be lined up manually before each play.
The “football” was literally – I wish I was making this up – a piece of lint that was jammed up inside the arm of one of the plastic players. It took a minimum of ten minutes to set up the board, and then about fifteen seconds of vibrating to watch the “action” happen. The players would not ever go in the same direction, and we would get bored out of our minds in about a dozen “plays.”
“Basketball” wasn’t much better. Every kid my age got a game called “Bas-Ket” for Christmas, or their birthday at one time or another in their childhood years. That consisted of the cardboard “court” that came in a rectangular box along with a ping pong “basketball” that would be flipped up onto the baskets, which were also made of cardboard. It was flimsy, and lasted maybe a week.
For those kids not into sports, army men were part of every kid’s memories. That consisted of a bag of plastic soldiers only a little bigger than the NFL players of Electric Football that would be set up in a bedroom, basement or back yard, and then usually knocked down with a rubber band.
It blows my mind that of the millions of kids that grew up with those toys, nobody complained in the least – until we saw what the kids today get to play with. The shoot ‘em up war games are more realistic than the war movies I used to watch as a kid. If I had any guts I’d ask my friend’s kid to play a game of plastic army men, and secretly film his reaction. Now that would be funny.
When I was a kid I used to make fun of my grandparents for complaining that I didn’t know how lucky I had it. They used to tell me stories about all they didn’t have that I did, and it made me laugh. I couldn’t picture either one of them playing “Pong” much less the games of today.
GPS is another joke. I became a standup comedian in the 1980s and toured from coast to coast multiple times without using a GPS even once. A major reason was that it wasn’t available at the time, but even if it was I might not have needed it. I did just fine with my Rand-McNally atlas.
Somehow, some way, life has pulled the old switcheroo and now I’m the out of date geezer for the younger generation to laugh at. I had a kid ask me the other day “Dude, do you even tweet?” I do have a Twitter account, but I still don’t see why I need it. I have all I can handle in keeping up with my emails. And I have only had to worry about this in my adult life. Kids today are born into it, and have no idea what life could be like without it. I do, and it’s not necessarily that bad. I look at all the technology that kids of today take for granted and I have to admit – I feel cheated.
Dobie is a stand up comedian and writer of comedy, and performs all over the United States. Visit dobiemaxwell.com