I'm so old that

The first question you heard walking into a restaurant was “smoking or non-smoking?”

There was music on AM radio and DJs actually were there because they knew the music.

Our parents weren’t considered neglectful for letting us walk home from the schoolbus or take care of ourselves before we got home from work.

Our first computer had no harddrive and ran off 5" floppies.

Canadian teams were still allowed to win the Stanley Cup (CURSE YOU, GARY BETTMAN, YOU ODIOUS LITTLE TROLL).

The GOP was demanding walls be torn down, not put up.

Nobody was questioning the value of vaccines.

Nobody had a cellphone. You looked numbers up in the phonebook.

If you missed an episode of a show, you had to hope you caught it during re-runs. OTOH, except for very rare shows or rare wham! episodes, it wasn’t that big a deal. It wasn’t like you missed a huge hunk of storyline and the rest now doesn’t make sense.

There was no 24 hour news cycle.

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Sunday evenings were a nature show, Disney, then The Ed Sullivan Show.
I saw the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Supremes, the Miracles… I miss all the variety shows.

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Or… you memorized them.

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  • My first computer was an Atari 800XL. I had to beg like crazy to get that. I wanted an Apple II. It had a tape drive (that I had to buy separately) and a cartridge slot. And a dot-matrix printer.

  • At one point, for a future computer, I spent close to $300 for a 50 MB hard drive.

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59 in a few days, and I miss payphones. One of the joys of my younger life was answering payphones that rang as I walked by.

I’m so old that free-range childhood was just called childhood.

And so old my first programming class was BASIC, that the secretarial students keypunched, and we got our printouts from the mainframe on 11x17" perforated green striped printer paper.

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Or knowing which ones you could make ring and walk away from.

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If you needed information, you had to speak to a human person.

We used paper to keep track. If you went to the bank, the teller would print in your bankbook and then you’d know what your balance was. If you went to the library, you had to search for books using cards. You also had to check out books by writing down your name and leaving a card. Any doctor’s office, bank or institution you had to deal with would have a paper file with your information that they would have to physically retrieve.

You used a paper map to get somewhere. If you got lost, there was no way to let the person you were meeting know. You would generally just wait around for awhile in case they eventually showed up with an explanation. I got lost/there was traffic.

Someone could call you on the telephone and never reach you because there was no one to answer the call and no answering machine to a record a message for them.

There was no such thing as mute, fast forward or rewind on your TV. In fact, you had to get up off your fat ass to change the channel or adjust the volume. There were only 4 channels to choose from.

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The Monkees was on at teatime, but Battle of the Planets was on after school.
Also Pink Panther cartoons followed the interminable football scores on Saturdays, which was awesome.
Random timing for Tom and Jerry cartoons, but whatever, Fred Quimby ones were best.

Seatbelts were voluntary, if the car had any.
Playgrounds had an actual ever-present risk of serious injury or death.
Porn was only ever found in shrubbery, never near buildings; probably left by Storks with filthy mouths.
If you lived in a small town you had to tape your music from the radio; if you were lucky you got a 1st generation copy from one of your mates, most music was pirated to death.

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I remember when diving boards were still around. Gone like ash trays in cars they are.

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This is still true if manual is given as an option (in US not always).

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–My first computer was a RadioShack Color Computer with 4 kilobytes of memory and a cassette tape player for “RAM” memory.

–A hot topic of conversation at school was “Why does Dr. Who have a stalk of celery pinned to his lapel?”

–My brother and I rode to from our home in WV to Pittsburgh in the well in back of the VW Beetle, even though Dad had paid extra to have seatbelts put in.

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Still no real answer to that, unless, what with the whole wibbly-wobbly nature of Time, the Doctor’s always ready for Pimm’s O’Clock?

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I remember when workers went on strike, got pensions, were trained by the company, and could afford to buy houses and raise kids on a single income.

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I’m so old that:

I had a portable walkman. Then a discman. Then a minidisc player.

And the tapes were great durability for the sound.

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You still can’t reach me when you call.

You’ll get the google assistant screening robot and I’ll tell it to tell you to fuck off or call back.

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My parents physically built their own house with the help of extended family (they did buy blueprints) and my grandparents house started out as a railway car.

To play a computer game I had to get it from a magazine, type the program into the machine and hope to hell I didn’t mistype anything.

My mom took turns babysitting our cousins. It was common for us to have 6 kids on a bench seat in the station wagon and another kid sitting on the folding down part between the driver and shotgun seat in the front.

You could actually repair your own car yourself.

Lifetime warranties were a thing that was actually honoured.

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Yep, I had an AtariAge subscription (iirc), and that’s how I got my games. Saved them to the tape drive.

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I’ll be 50 in a couple months.

I watched Star Wars in a theater and collected the trading cards. I joined the Star Wars fan club and would receive a mimeographed newsletter every so often full of terrible jokes and no information whatsoever. It took forever for the Empire Strikes Back to get made and reach my town.

Nothing was better than a bicycle and a hill with a jump at the bottom of it, even though you went home bloody and your mom would threaten to take away your bike.

Photos required a camera and film and had to be developed.

Used record stores were everywhere, they smelled like plastic and cardboard, and you could spend the whole afternoon pawing through dusty bins looking for something that grabbed your attention.

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Wait… how do you wreck a Nova? Those things are monsters! What hit you or did you hit?

I had a boyfriend who had one and we got into a wreck one night, and his car was just fine (we rearended a car sitting in the road). Also, a few years later (well after we stopped dating) he and his girlfriend were driving to a show in ATL, in her Geo or whatever it was, got into a wreck that killed him and put her in a wheel chair for a couple of months. We were all devastated over that.

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While they are no longer everywhere, we do have a few good used record stores in town. “Earth Pig Music” is one. Of course we’ve lost some good ones, too.

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