Then and Now

One day, many years ago as I was driving to work, I heard a man on the radio speak of something that caught my attention.  He said that TV’s used to get their signal through antennas and telephones required wires.  Now phones use antennas and TV’s use wires.

From the early days of my life, I remember almost every house had a TV antenna.  When I was six, I lived in an area that had just one station and it required a high antenna to pick up that station.  Some might not remember the days when almost all houses had the antennas and it almost looked like an artificial forest of metal trees.

Now they are gone, at least most of them.  It is rare to see one of them sticking up.  It makes it easy to see those who don’t have cable.

Normally, phones had a wire on them of about ten or twelve feet.  For those willing to pay for it, longer cables could be installed so that the girls could take the phone in another room for a little privacy.

Now, most use cell phones.  The antennas on them are so small we can’t see them.  However, we no longer have cables attached to them.  Privacy is simple.  The young ladies can go into their rooms or even outside.

The odd thing about it is that lately, people have started watching TV on their phones.  So, in a sense, it has gone full circle.  The TV is using an antenna again.

 

In my book, “Mitch,” I point out another switch up.  In the early nineteen hundreds, people used horses.  Only the rich had cars.  They were, so to speak toys too expensive for most.  Now, most of us have cars.  Most of us can’t afford horses.  Of course, if the tree huggers have their way, we will go back to riding horses and only the elite will ride around in self-powered vehicles.

I don’t think I want to be around in that day.  Cars might spew smog, but horse manure produces disease.  Try looking up the old days in New York before cars.  That stuff did not disappear on its own, you know.

There has been a big shift in commercials too.  In my youth, the media constantly discouraged gambling.  It was seedy and only bad people did it.  Well, I guess some good people gambled too, but not on TV.  Many programs showed the good guys shutting down the gambling outfits and, of course the schools were often leading the way.

Schools, of course, did what they could to discourage gambling.  Governments at every level depicted gambling as wrong.

I blinked my eyes.  Next thing I know, it turned completely around.  Whoa to the politician that suggest shutting down the gambling.  We can’t do that.  We need the money.  By the way, it fixed nothing.  We now have the gambling and we still don’t have enough money to run the governments at every level.  Actually, it is worse than before.

They are still calling for more money for the schools.  The gambling didn’t help one bit.  I have noticed the county south of where I live allowed gambling.  They are far worse off than before.  The state had to come in and take over the school.

On the other hand, the number of people writing hot checks has skyrocketed.  Though I can’t prove it, I am sure the robberies have gone up.

There is a reason that those in the old days drove out gambling.  It would appear we can’t learn from history.  It means we are doomed to repeat it.  The difference is that now, nothing less than a miracle will get rid of it.  Now our society is more dependent on it than a druggy on heroine.  Near as I can tell, we are stuck with it and it hasn’t solved a thing.

 

In the movies, they used to show people smoking.  It was encouraged by tobacco companies to get people to smoke.  It worked.  Then we had a couple of generations of people dying from lung cancer.

Recently, they decided that was a bad idea.  Now, there is a big campaign to stop smoking and it is no longer seen in recent films and TV shows.  To some degree, it has succeeded.  I’ve noticed the number of people smoking, even in the military has decreased.

I think it was a good idea.  My question is, what took so long for them to figure it out.

It does make me wonder what the liquor companies are paying Hollywood to show the drinking.  Actually, drinking causes more problems than smoking.  Basically the smoker is the only one who suffers.  The drunk causes problems with almost anyone he encounters.

I wonder how long it will take society to realize that.  I wonder just how long Hollywood will continue to portray drinking as cool…the thing to do.

One day I was taking a walk.  I saw a pickup with a sticker on the back window, “My granddaughter was killed by a drunk,” or something to that effect.  I talked to the owner of the truck.  The granddaughter was two.  The drunk had been arrested twice before for drunk driving.

Sorry.  I don’t see drinking as cool.  One thing I know that no one can dispute.  No one becomes a drunk without taking the first drink.  As a society, we should discourage that first drink.  Instead, it is encouraged on every side:  TV, parties, military (though it is openly admitted that it is a big problem) and peers.

 

I get it, really I do.  I know you have to have your alcohol.  You say you can give it up if you want to.  You just don’t want to.  I really understand.  You just don’t want to give it up.  Fine.  Just please, don’t encourage others to drink.  You just might save the life of a two year old, maybe yours.

Those that would like to browse my author’s page, use the below URL

http://www.amazon.com/author/story_teller

The Beauty of the Backspace Key

I prefer to refer to myself as a storyteller rather than an author.  I write stories.  Most of them are fictitious tall tales, but this one is both personal and true.

I entered high school in 1960, a long time ago.  I looked around for a while and took notice that typing would be a useful skill.  So, being the brilliant person I am, I arranged a class during summer school to learn how to type.

After all, most people know that type written term papers usually get at least half a grade point higher than one that was handwritten, sometimes more.  Besides, my handwriting skills weren’t the greatest, speed or quality.  Adding speed as well as the quality would have been a big advantage.

I want you to know I gave up a lot for that class.  Not only did I give up many summer activities, but I also trudged through the summer heat every day to get to and from school.  Well, I did have a bicycle.

I put a lot of effort into the class.  I worked hard.  I gave it all I had.  I worked my fingers to the bone.  Failed it miserably.  Managed a blazing speed of 17 words a minute with three mistakes.

Actually, the seventeen words a minute was not a problem.  It was likely fast as or faster than my handwriting.

However, I want you to know, I suffered all through my life, to this day because of those mistakes.  They came out with all kinds of wonderful stuff, just for me.  They came out with a tape that I could put just above the paper and type the erroneous character and it was as if the wrong character was never there.  Well, not quite.

Throughout my life, the typewriter and I have had our battles.  Volumes could be filled with stories about them, but I’m trying to keep this story short.  It’s not supposed to be a book.

Let’s just say my type written papers had almost as many corrections as characters.  It would have been nice to avoid them, but my job required them

Then, during the mid-eighties, they came up with something wonderful.  The computer.  Not only did the computer keyboard have a backspace key, but also, when it is used, it makes it as if the errant character never existed.  What a wonderful thing!

Then they came out with something even better, an undo function.  Nowadays, if I make a big mistake, I can undo it.  If I realize that it wasn’t a mistake after all, I can redo it.

I want you to know, for those of us that had to work on dinosaur type typewriters: this is no small thing.  Today, it is taken for granted.  Today, I type about forty or so words a minute, but I still make a ton of mistakes.  However, I can now reach up there with my little finger and make them magically disappear.  (By the way, it is one of the most used keys on my keyboard.)

Then one day a thought occurred to me.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had backspace keys in life?  I say something I know I shouldn’t have; I just hit the backspace key.  I do something that hurts someone; I just press the backspace key.  It’s gone, poof—as if it never happened.

Unfortunately, we don’t have that option.  Every page in life is written in indelible ink.  It can’t be erased.  It can’t even really be covered up.  When I say something or do something that hurts someone, I have to live with it as well as the person I hurt.  Then again, if we all did have such a key, there would be no need to be careful.  Maybe that wouldn’t be so good.

Then there are those who don’t care.  If they hurt someone, it’s of no real significance to them.  In the world of psychiatry, they have names for such people.  I have a few names for such people too, a long list of them.

At any rate, when I hurt people, It is somewhat of a relief.  I feel bad, and I sometimes hurt.  It’s a reminder to be careful.  Besides, it separates me from those who have no pain when they hurt others.  I think that’s a good thing.  It’s just a little thought from an old man who enjoys telling stories.

Please visit my Author’s Page at

http://www.amazon.com/author/story_teller

There are many books to chose from.  You will not find one with profanity or adult passages.  Though a few of them get have some violence, they are far less violent than what you will find on network TV these days.  More important, the violence has purpose.