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10 Things You Suffered Through That Your Kids Will Never Understand

10 Things You Suffered Through That Your Kids Will Never Understand

When you were growing up, you probably hated hearing adults telling stories about the “good old days”—stories which somehow always turned out to be about how everything was so much harder back then. (So wait, what made them “good”?) Years pass, and now look who’s telling stories about the good old days! Let’s face it, with the explosion of technologies in the latter part of the 20th century, times really have changed. Today’s 30-somethings are the last generation to have grown up without computers and cell phones being completely ubiquitous. And if you’re in your 20s, you likely came of age during the Web 1.0 era. Either way, if you still sometimes think of the hashtag symbol as a pound sign, you’ll probably relate to these 10 things that today’s kids will never understand.

GameBoy-racist-ad

    1. Lugging around giant portable devices with calculator-style screens

    Even explaining what gaming used to be like to people who grew up with palm-size devices with HD screens is no easy feat. A friend of mine once tried to explain what the original Gameboy was like to two girls aged 7 and 8. “The screen was black and white,” my friend said. “Oh yeah,” one of the girls immediately replied. “One of my friends has the Nintendo DS in black and white!” “No no,” my friend had to backpedal. “The actual Gameboy was just like a big gray box. The pictures on the screen were in black and white.” But by that point, it was a lost cause—the girls were back to playing Draw Something on their iPads. Point is, graphics like the ones touted in this (pretty darn racist) ad were muddy and illegible compared to even the “dumbest” phone or gaming device you could buy now. And remember how before there was a backlit screen, Gameboy’s solution was the Lightboy, an unwieldy magnifying lamp that you attached to the already unwieldy device?

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    vhs-fbi-warning

      2. The epic struggle of dealing with VHS tapes

      Today, you’re a few taps or clicks away from the exact scene (or even the exact frame!) of whatever movie you want to see at any given time. Between YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and the rest of the web, even the most obscure TV episode can be rewatched. Back in the day we had the VCR, which kids today might recognize from the mountainous piles of tapes at virtually every yard sale. Getting a tape of the movie you wanted to watch was just the first part of the adventure. (Forget about TV shows—you’d need to catch a rerun, wait for syndication, or just try to remember what had happened.) In the days before Blockbuster, you’d generally have to get the one copy from your local video store. If the previous renter wasn’t kind, you’d have to rewind, which would eventually wear out your VCR, already one of the more finicky pieces of home technology. Want to see a particular scene? Hit fast forward, hit rewind, hit fast forward again, ad nauseam, as you watch a blurred version of the movie speed by. And if you spent too long with your favorite tape, you’d get hit with late fees, not to mention explaining to your parents why you just had to hang on to Encino Man for that one extra day.

      seinfeld-payphone

        3. Finding a pay phone—a working pay phone.

        Sit down children, and let me tell you a tale of what life was like before everyone had a cell phone. Need to call home to check in? Need to tell someone you’re running late? You had to find a pay phone… and then after you’d located a couple of pay phones, hopefully you’d stumble on one that was working, instead of ones where the receiver had been pulled off, the coin slot was jammed with gum, or worse. You also needed exact change, because the operator would soon be asking for it (and if you needed to talk more for than a couple of minutes, you were going to be hearing from the operator a lot). You were better off making your call quickly and moving on, so you wouldn’t aggravate the people waiting in line to use the phone behind you, or you’d wind up wasting 25 cents yelling at strangers to stop pounding on the door.

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        simpsons-vacation-slides

          4. Sitting through slide shows of your relatives’ vacation photos

          First of all, the “slide shows” we’re talking about are not a function in iPhoto (iPhoto didn’t exist). And no, this isn’t about PowerPoint. Back in the day, whenever some adults your parents knew went somewhere exotic like Hawaii or Washington D.C. or Sheboygan, you could count on an invite to come over to see their vacation slides. “Here we are in front of the Washington Monument.” (Click.) “And here we are next to the Washington Monument.” (Click.) And that’s if you were lucky! Chatty and/or photo-happy vacationers could force you into hours of staring at amateur pictures projected on someone’s living room wall. Sure, now everyone shares photos of everything via Facebook, but you can just look at them or not, and move on with your life!

          american-airlines-sorry-lady

            5. Calling the airline to plan your vacation

            You know how now you see TV ads touting travel websites that allow you to use one site to search airfares everywhere? Even finding out the fares for one airline used to be an exercise in patience and perseverance. In movies people just walked up to the counter, bought a ticket, and got on the plane. But in reality, things were much more complicated. If we wanted to see our grandparents, my mom would have to sit by the phone with a legal pad for hours, calling each airline to find out when the flights were, what the fares were, and so on. Sure, you could pay a travel agent to do it for you, but no matter what, you had no real way of knowing what you options were, at a glance. On the other hand, once you did get through planning your trip, you could check luggage without paying an extra fee, you didn’t have to strip down for airport security, and you’d get an in-flight meal (not saying it was good, but at least you weren’t paying for it). Sorry, American Airlines ad lady, a computer did replace you.

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            vacation-bad-directions

              6. Finding your way with giant folding maps and car atlases

              Road trips weren’t that much easier. Smartphones have made GPS units obsolete, and now plenty of new cars come with touch screens that plan out your route. Prior to all that, if you were headed somewhere new or you got lost and needed directions, it meant wrangling with a ginormous folding map or pulling out the trusty road atlas. Unfolding it was easy. Looking at it in the confines of your car was a bit less so, and required some maneuvering. Folding it back up into something the same size? Forget about it! (AAA still gives out free road maps, by the way, but these days hipsters use them as gift wrap.) If you were on a multi-state trip, chances are you used a road atlas—a spiral-bound book that usually gave you roughly two pages’ worth of maps per state, with insets showing you cities. It’s kind of a miracle that anybody made it anywhere.

              sixteen-candles-phone

                7. Sharing a single landline with your entire family

                Kids who have grown up in a cell phone-only home will never know the anxiety that comes with waiting forever for your crush to call, having to actually answer the phone every time to find out who’s calling. It’s your aunt? Got to wait ’til mom’s off the line with that big call. You finally pounce on the phone… and get to have a completely awkward conversation, because the phone is in the kitchen, and your parents and siblings are in there cooking, eating, eavesdropping, and so on. No matter how hard you tried, the phone cord (did I mention that phones had cords?) would only stretch so far, and it was inevitable that you were going to be overheard. If you were lucky enough to have two phones in your house, you had to worry that your sneaky little brother could be listening in on the extension! And when the phone bill came… let’s just say things could get ugly, especially since your mom probably told you it was impolite to call other people’s houses late at night, but late at night was when the rates went down.

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                netscape

                  8. Using your dial-up internet service… while someone else was on the phone.

                  Oh I’m sorry, kid—plain 4G is too slow for you? Clearly you don’t remember the days when dial-up was the only option, using your phone line to check out a Geocities page using Netscape Navigator or to make use of one of those free discs AOL seemed to send in the mail every three days. After a substantial wait and a bunch of disturbing sounds (like a fax machine breaking—wait, do you kids even know what a fax machine is?), you were finally free to join in your favorite text-based multiplayer game. At least, you were until someone tried to use the phone (you know, the one family phone you all shared). Half the time your connection was broken, and half the time your sister was screaming at you that she needed to use the phone. It’s basically the opposite of virtually everyone having a web browser on their laptops, their smartphones, and now, apparently, their wrists.

                  walkman-oh-man

                    9. Carrying cassettes around with you

                    If you didn’t want to listen to the radio (AM/FM that is, not satellite) or you didn’t have reception, your option was to bring your tunes with you. That meant that whenever you sat in the backseat of someone’s car, almost inevitably you’d have a crate of cassette tapes beneath your feet. Rocking out to your Walkman while you rollerblade? Well, you needed to pick out a tape and hope you didn’t get sick of it (unless you crammed a spare one in your fannypack). Eventually, the compact disc came along, and that changed everything. Instead of stomping on cassettes that littered the car floor, you could rest your feet upon a pleather-covered binder full of CDs. No more Walkman, either—now you could have a Discman, and experience the thrill of a device that was awkward to hold and that caused your music to skip every time you made a sharp movement. The whole listen-to-any-song-you-want-whenever-you-want thing still blows my mind. I feel like if I could travel back in time and tell my kid self about Spotify, I would blow their minds, too.

                    polaroids-instant-60-seconds

                      10. Waiting (and waiting) to see your pictures.

                      Okay kids, you know how your pictures look with Instagram filters like Nashville and 1973? Well, that is how pictures actually used to look. The biggest difference is that instead of being able to rattle off 30 selfies in as many seconds and see them all instantly on your phone, taking a picture was a pretty big deal. You only got 30 or so images per roll of film, so photos were reserved for special occasions (e.g., not just that you were in the bathroom and your hair looked really, really good). Did the photo come out? Were your eyes closed? Well, hope for the best — you’ll find out once you’ve finished the whole roll of film, taken it to get developed, and picked up the prints. Yeah, Polaroids were instant, but Polaroid film wasn’t cheap! No one was just snapping away with them. You probably have more photos saved on your phone right now than your grandparents took of themselves in their entire lives.

                      Featured photo credit: free photos & art via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on November 17, 2019

                      20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

                      20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

                      Saying, “Thank you,” can be difficult to do. Some things just demand a little something extra because of the magnitude of the favor or the depth of appreciation involved. But what can you do to say thank you in a meaningful way? Sometimes you have to get a little more creative than just firing off an email. Here are 20 creative ways to say thank you that your friends and family will remember and cherish!

                      1. Make a gift bag.

                      A unique, homemade gift bag with a custom label or a note is a simple but heartfelt way to show your appreciation for the wonderful things your friends or family have done for you.

                      2. Give a toast.

                      Many people fear public speaking more than death, giving this particular thank-you a little extra meaning. Composing a sincere, eloquent toast and delivering it is a nice way to show appreciation that truly comes from the heart.

                      3. Write a poem.

                      “Roses are red, violets are blue…” Uh, you could write that...but why not put a little extra zing in it? Find out what their favorite kind of poetry is: haiku, free verse, iambic pentameter, and so on. (Google them if you don’t know what they are.) Then write one that expresses why they deserve your thanks…and why you’re glad to give it!

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                      4. Create your own labels.

                      There are a number of websites that offer custom gift labels. Find one that fits your personality and that of your friends and create a personalized thank-you label!

                      5. Give a gift card.

                      Sometimes choosing what to give a friend can be tough. A gift card is a good way to get around this problem. As always, be sure to include a personalized note or card thanking the recipient for their friendship and help.

                      6. Send a letter.

                      Snail-mail is a largely lost art form. Don’t worry about how long the letter is, though. What really matters here is that you took the time to put pen to paper and express your feelings sincerely and honestly!

                      7. Use social media to send a special message.

                      If someone’s done something you think the whole world should know about, why not put out a social media blast? Use your blog, your Facebook, your Google+ account, and your Twitter to spread the word about why this person’s someone your friends will want to know too!

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                      8. Make your own digital greeting card.

                      While an email isn’t always the best way to go when saying thank you, a digital greeting card that you put time and effort into creating can really brighten someone’s day! Make the card reflect the recipient’s personality and compose a short message of thanks for their generosity.

                      9. Make a YouTube video.

                      Sometimes, actually hearing someone say, “Thank you,” can make all the difference. Why not take it a step further and create a special video of thanks for your friends, family, and those special people who helped make your day so important…or who helped you through that rough time?

                      10. Deliver cookies or candies.

                      Making something yourself is a fun and delightful way to say thank you to someone. Create a sampling of baked goods or homemade candies and decorate them with a simple message, or make them so they form letters! (Think Valentine’s candies, only situationally appropriate.) Attach a thank-you note or label and surprise those special people with the gift of your time and creativity.

                      11. Make surprise gifts for guests.

                      There’s no need to wait until “later” to send a thank-you message. Why not do it at the time? Create little gift packets or bags for your guests with surprises inside. This is a great way to say thanks to the people who attended your event, and make sure they won’t want to miss the next one!

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                      12. Put together a flower basket.

                      Whether you prefer fresh or artificial flowers, assembling a flower basket with a thank-you note is an excellent way to brighten someone’s day and show you appreciate them.

                      13. Take a picture.

                      Sometimes capturing the moment is the best way to put a smile on someone’s face. Have someone take a picture of you receiving that special gift or opening that surprise package and send the giver a copy with a quick but sincere note to say thanks!

                      14. Repay their generosity by paying it forward.

                      The best gifts come from the heart, and the best way to repay a gift is to pay it forward. If your friend has a special cause they care about or something they believe in passionately, why not make a donation in their name or volunteer some of your time to the cause? This will mean more than any number of cookies, candies, or thank-you notes because you’re taking your friend’s love and spreading it around to others.

                      15. Do something special for them.

                      Take them out to dinner. (See “make a toast.”) Give them that movie they’ve been wanting forever. Cook them dinner and give them a present when they arrive. Any of these are good options for showing someone you really appreciate them and how grateful you are to have them in your life.

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                      16. Reciprocate their help.

                      Everyone needs help sometime. Whether it’s holding their hand through a particularly traumatic incident or helping them replace the alternator in their car, being there when they need it shows you remember what they did for you and how much it meant. It also shows that you’re willing to be just as good a friend to them as they were to you!

                      17. Be there for them.

                      Not every thank-you gesture has to be a grand public spectacle. Sometimes just giving them a place to come hang out when they’re lonely or showing up to offer them a sympathetic shoulder means the world to a person.

                      18. Listen to them.

                      Listening is almost as lost an art as the handwritten letter. When your friend or family member needs to talk, listen to them. Ask questions when appropriate, but just letting them know you’re there and paying attention to them to the exclusion of all else for a little while is a great way to say thank you for the times they listened to you.

                      19. Say it in another language…or two…

                      A simple thank you is great…but why not spice it up a little? Instead of just saying, “Thank you,” write or make a video of you telling them thank you in different languages. Some examples might be, “Gracias! Merci! Danke schoen! Spasibo! Mahalo!” and any other ways or languages you can think of. (The ones listed above are Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Hawaiian, in case you were wondering.) If you want to really get tricky about it, say a short phrase in each language that conveys why you’re thanking them!

                      20. Show them some love.

                      A simple touch, a hug, or helping out when they need it without being asked may be the most powerful gratitude message you can send. Offer to take the dogs for a walk, sit for the kids for a few hours, or run to the grocery store so they don’t have to. The little things are often the most important and meaningful. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still send a note, but sometimes your simple presence and willingness to help is all that really matters.

                      Featured photo credit: Hanny Naibaho via unsplash.com

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