1. The music
I blame my uncles entirely for this. Two of my uncles sang in a Motown band during most of my childhood and another still hosts a doo-wop show on the radio. The love of, what is now “oldies,” music has been embedded in me for decades. The harmonies, the dance moves, the lyrics; it’s sensational. It’s 2014 and I’ll still happily blast, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” Do you think anyone will be listening to “Blurred Lines” in 50 years? Doubtful.
2. Sock hops
I guess the two kind of go hand-in-hand, but I really wish sock hops were still a regular thing. Nobody my age really “dances” anymore outside of weddings; it’s mostly just softcore porn on a dance floor of a bar.
3. Drive-in movies
Yes, there are places you can still go for drive-in movies, but they are not as common. If there isn’t one in my area, I’m not going to drive hours away just to experience that. Drive-in movies are incredibly romantic, and a lot more private than a movie theatre.
4. Malt shops
You know — “the hang out,” the place everyone went to after school. I like the ambiance associated with malt shops — the jukebox, the décor, the atmosphere — but that doesn’t exist anymore. Growing up, our town had Annie’s, but that’s been gone for years. And no, don’t say going to Johnny Rockets is the same thing as a true malt shop. That’s like saying Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson both sing and dance, so they’re like the same thing. No. One is a point in time; the other is timeless (see No. 1).
5. Riding in cars with boys
A weird thing happened to me for the first time this summer. I asked a girl out, she accepted (that’s not the weird part), and then I asked for a time to pick her up. She said she’d rather meet there. She explained why, and I got it. I know I’m not a creep who is going to stalk her house, but she really doesn’t know me; she’s looking out for her own safety, and I get that. If anything, I think it’s more a shame that we — as a society — have gotten to a point where if a guy asks to pick a girl up for a date, which she agreed to, she has hesitation. But maybe that’s just me.
6. Chivalry was expected, not a rare attribute
It’s disheartening when I call someone “Sir” or “Ma’am” and they look back saying, “Did you just call me _______?” as if they are not used to it. I was raised to respect my elders, meaning you said, “Sir, ma’am, Mr., Mrs. or Ms.,” until otherwise corrected, and even then, you still subconsciously do it. Other things like holding doors open, hand-written notes and actually listening when someone is talking and remembering seemingly insignificant details shouldn’t be as uncommon to women as it currently is. (See also No. 5.)
7. Sitting down for family dinners
Granted, as you get older, you become more independent, so you spend less time with your family. But, during your adolescence, sit-down dinners should be an integral part of the family; a time where televisions are turned off, phones are ignored and you ask about each other’s days. I can only imagine what technology will be like in 10 years, when I’ll likely be the parent in these situations, but whatever it is, it will have to wait during dinner. Kids, whatever you have can wait; as for your mother and I, barring an emergency, whatever we have can wait, as well.
Remember when I said that there are plenty of things I love about my generation? Technology is one of them, it really is. Think about it — for the most part, we are able to reach anyone from wherever we are in a matter of seconds; we can have generations of music all stored in one place, flipping through decades with the push of a button. But, technology is also ruining our generation in a lot of ways. A lot of kids don’t know how to hold a conversation or function because their eyes are glued to a phone screen. I get it, technology is important; it allows us to do a lot of things we could never do. Personally, it is a vital part of my job, so I’m on my phone a lot. Instead of all-night text sessions, you can call people to talk rather than saving the dreaded voice-on-voice conversation to something as simple as a, “Hey, I’m outside,” or a “Hey, where you at?” Before you graduate high school, there’s really not a whole lot of reasons you need a $500 phone or to be on it most of your free time. I graduated high school in 2007 with no phone until senior year; and even then, it was off during school hours. I didn’t get text messaging until college; and even then, it was limited outside of Verizon.
I’m a sports reporter for a newspaper, which, if you know anything, is not exactly the most stable career out there. Newspapers are a dying industry as everything moves to the Web. Few reporters, if any, simply write nowadays. They’re an extinct species. The days of, “I wrote my article/column; my work is done,” are over.
Part of the allure of becoming a sports writer, for me, was the scoop — getting to a story before anyone else and sending the competition into a frenzy when they read it the next morning. But those days are over. Twitter has now become the breaking-news capital of the world. Rather than waiting for the news to appear in the next day’s paper, important information has to be rushed from our fingertips into under 140 characters so that the world knows, “He got it first… check the timestamp.”
Another part of the allure was seeing your name, your words, your work in print; knowing it’s being read by tens of thousands of people. With so many sites and outlets out there now, your story gets lost in the shuffle. It’s almost become a, “Hey, look at me!” way of promoting your story.
Newspapers were thicker back in the day. People used to save articles or the entire paper. Not only did you have job security, but there were also other available jobs. Breaking in to journalism now, for most, requires associates, bachelors and Masters degrees, a number of internships, a willingness to do free work, and, not to mention, a lot of luck.
And that’s just to get in. Staying is another ballgame.
I’m a bowler, which is generally viewed as an “old man’s game.” The sport isn’t what it once was. The United States Bowling Congress has stopped giving away rings for perfect games because people shoot too many of them. A 300 game was once sacred; it was an honor; it meant you were the real deal. An 800 series was almost unheard of. Now, pre-teens are shooting them. The PBA prize funds are minuscule compared to what they once were. Forget about bowling action (that’s “bowling for money,” for the laymen); the days of late-night gambling and “strikes are for show, spares are for dough,” are over.