Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s

29 Jan

Growing Up in the 70’s and 80’s

When I was a kid, adults used to kill me when they went on and on and on about how hard things were in their day. When they were growing up, the whole walking twenty-five miles to school every morning, uphill, barefoot, both ways thing … blah blah blah.

I swore to myself that when I grew up, I was never going to tell that kinda crap to my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they’ve got it.

But now that I’m forty-one years old, I look around and take note of today’s kids. They have  it so easy. I hate to say it, but kids today, you don’t know how good you’ve got it.

When I was a kid, there was no Internet, no WWW.  If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog or use World Book Encyclopedias.

There was no email. We had to actually write somebody a letter – with a pen or a pencil, put it into a paper envelope, lick it shut, make a face because the envelope tasted so bad, then walk all the way to the end of the driveway and put it in the mailbox and raise the flag. It took like a week to get there, if you were lucky. Stamps were 10 cents and had a flag on them, not a picture of Kim Kardashian or any other celebrity.

Child Protective Services didn’t care if our parents spanked us or as they call it now, “beat or abused” us. Hell, the parents of all my friends also had unspoken permission to kick our butts if needed. Nowhere was safe, parents lurked in bushes waiting to pounce.

There were no MP3’s or iTunes. If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself. Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up. And what happened to long distance dedications? Do people not care enough to do that anymore? What?

There were no CD players. We had tape decks in our car. We’d play our favorite tape and “eject” it when finished, and then the tape would come all out of the cassette, rendering it useless, unless you were really good at rewinding it with a pencil.

We didn’t have “call waiting.” If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that’s it. That busy signal could go on for hours!

There weren’t any cell phones. If you left the house, you didn’t make a phone call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your “friends.”

And we didn’t have Caller ID either. When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was. It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, the collection agent; you just didn’t know. You had to pick it up and take your chances.

We didn’t have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics. We had the Atari 2600. With games like “Space Invaders” and “Asteroids.” Your screen guy was a little square. You actually had to use your imagination. And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen, forever. And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died. Just like life.

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on, not the on-screen guide on cable like now.

You were screwed when it came to channel surfing. You had to get off your butt and walk over to the TV to change the channel. No remotes.

There was no Cartoon Network either. You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning. We had to wait all week for cartoons and GOOD cartoons, not Dora the Explorer or a talking pineapple under the sea with a gay best friend.

We didn’t have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove. And on the subject of the stove, remember that big aluminum foil UFO of Jiffy Pop popcorn that would scorch and leave your house smelling like a burned diaper?

Our parents told us to stay outside and play, all day long; and if you came back inside you were doing chores. And you could stay outside until the street lamps came on, your dad whistled for you
or you heard your mom yell “DINNER!!!”

Car seats, weren’t used. Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the “safety arm” across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly. If your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling “shot gun” in the first place. Remember we could also lay across that shelf in the backseat in the sun and could also stand up between the seats and talk to your parents? Seatbelts? What the hell was a seatbelt.

We could drink from the garden hose without fear of catching a terminal skin eating disease and could go barefoot in the yard without worrying about stepping on a discarded crackhead’s pipe or an addict’s needle.

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