The Private Man

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Weekend Weirdness – What Kids Will Never See

This is one of those tangent posts because history – post WWII American social history – is one of my favorite subjects. I was at a friend’s family dinner at a restaurant. There were about ten folks there including a funny young man about 12 years old. This got me to thinking. What are the things he will never see that were common when I was 12 years old?

Some are obvious:

  • Cassettes/LPs
  • Rotary dial phone
  • Public telephones
  • Roadside assistance call boxes on the interstate highways
  • Lots of litter in the streets
  • Pull tab beverage cans
  • Smoking indoors

Some are not so obvious:

  • Seven digit phone dialing
  • Pagers
  • Music CDs
  • CRT monitors and televisions
  • Paper boys (I used to be one)
  • Rusty cars
  • Fax machines

So, I throw this out to my astute and brilliant readers. What are the things that were common in our youth and that kids simply won’t see now?

Le Bar du Comments is open.

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25 thoughts on “Weekend Weirdness – What Kids Will Never See

  1. Conversation with an attractive yet modest, non self-absorbed woman.


    *clicks on favorite porn fetish site*

  2. Even in my mid-twenties, I volunteer with kids around 10-12, so I’ve seen their confusion when I mentioned things I remember. The Internet dial-up tone, floppy disks (actual floppies, and the hard 3.5’s), computer mouses with balls (so much joke fodder, gone forever…), and lawn darts come to mind.

  3. Overhead projectors in class
    Dot-matrix/ribbon computer printers
    Public cigarette vending machines
    Scrambled “porn” on cable
    Dial-up modems that hogged a phone line
    Answering machines that used cassette tapes and mini-cassettes

  4. Card catalogues in public libraries
    Books with actual paper pages, hard binding and dust covers (not completely gone but will become less common)
    Chalkboards in classrooms
    DVD video cameras

  5. just visiting on said:

    Children playing unsupervised in parks
    riding bikes with out helmets
    being able to buy smokes for my parents
    big wheels

  6. just visiting on said:

    baby walkers
    cloth diapers with safety pins
    daring someone to eat pop rocks and soda

  7. Female chastity.

  8. Iowa Jim on said:

    Cameras that use film

  9. Typewriters

  10. Duck-and-Cover
    Nuclear war fears (because we fear other things now more, not because the threat is actually any less)

  11. Rotary dial phones
    Phones with cords!
    “Blind dialing” a phone number without an LCD to tell you which number you got wrong
    Cars: Plymouth, Mercury, Pontiac, Saturn

  12. wingman on said:

    Black lights
    Boeing 707’s
    Billie Jean King
    Blizzard of ’78 in Boston
    Buying alcohol at 18

    Drinking with teachers
    Having sex with teachers

    • “Having sex with teachers” – that still happens, at least, we keep hearing about female teachers and male students in the news… Probably the reverse still happens too, occasionally, yet that never gets as much attention, because they tend to hide the identity of the female students – but they’re not as reticent to hide that of male students sexually exploited by female teachers. Double standard, strikes again…

  13. I grew up with two TV channels. If something happened on TV the night before *everyone* was talking about it the next day.

  14. sestamibi on said:

    Beer/soda cans with pull tabs?? Hell, I remember “church keys”!

  15. – Kids riding in the front seat of cars with their parents (one of my favorite memories) and nobody wearing seat belts
    – VCRs
    – purple inked pages in schools (from “ditto” machines)
    – film development stores (like Kodak huts with the yellow roofs)
    – full service gas stations (an attendant coming out, pumping your gas, checking the oil, and wiping down our windshield)
    – toys not made in china

  16. Printed shareware software catalogs

  17. Jester on said:

    Wind-up watches
    Old Coke that became “New” Coke… Which sucked so they made Coke Classic
    Oakley wrap arounds and Chip N Pepper clothes (Who remembers hyper-color shirts? lol)
    Televisions that had no remotes
    Manual windows in a car
    Going to the grocery store and the prices were on each package and all wrung-in manually by a cashier
    Credit card imprint devices/Those books the CC company used to send out weekly with all the stolen credit card #’s before we could just swipe a card.
    Colecovision and Atari 2600… Games on cartridges
    Playing outside
    When I was in College, I could smoke in class lol
    Non twist off beer caps/Stubbie bottles/glass pop/soda bottles
    Candy stores =)
    Pinball machines… Do these even exist anymore?
    Arcade games that cost $0.25
    Dot matrix and daisy-wheel printers
    BNC network connectors
    Magazines that had all the code of a small program or game that you had to manually copy into your computer
    Cell phones that were only portable because they were installed in your car lol
    Bars of flash bulbs/cubes
    Saturday morning cartoons that didn’t suck!

  18. The punchlines/end shot of RoadRunner cartoons!

  19. There’s a great song about this by The Killers. Read My Mind. Here are the relevant excerpts:

    The good old days, the honest man;
    The restless heart, the Promised Land
    A subtle kiss that no one sees;
    A broken wrist and a big trapeze

    The teenage queen, the loaded gun;
    The drop dead dream, the Chosen One
    A southern drawl, a world unseen;
    A city wall and a trampoline

  20. “Card catalogues in public libraries”

    How about libraries in general??


    – Bookshelves (I give them 25 years tops)
    – Photo albums
    – Passports (ok, maybe it will be another 50 years, but eventually…)
    – File cabinets
    – MP3 players
    – Shopping malls, or clothes stores in general (3D imaging will make trying things on unnecessary)

  21. johnnymilfquest on said:

    God I really hope that fax machines die out eventually.

    I did some temporary work for a company only last year that wanted their employees to fax time sheets in to the office.


  22. AnonymousDog on said:

    Private Man,

    I don’t think I am all that much older than you, but I can remember 4 digit phone dialling and party lines. I can also remember 8-track tapes, manual transmissions, (column shifts , no less) tube radios and televisions, console stereos, wah-wah pedals, and Album Oriented Rock radio stations.

  23. Hamster Tamer on said:

    A Navy with battleships, and a NASA that got us to the moon with zero Political Correctness.

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