Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

What They’ll Never Know

There has been a "24" marathon on television the past few days. Hooked on the show during its original airing, the marathons of Seasons 1-3 lured me back in and I have subsequently been awake until one in the morning the past few nights reliving the exploits of Jack Bauer.

I noticed during the first season (which aired in 2001) that the Counter Terrorist Unit team was using Zip disks to transfer files. If you're not familiar with Zip disks, they were in essence the Eight Track of electronic file transfer. They were popular for a couple of years between diskettes and CDs. Then flash drives came about and made them obsolete.

The point of this little computer history lesson is that it was a flashback for me to see the cumbersome transfer devices. I remember having dozens of them filled with old newspaper archives. A lot of younger people have no idea what they are, and before long the Zip drive will be essentially forgotten.

Such is life and the way of a world that's always moving on.

I wrote a column a few years ago about my daughter's love of all things cartoon. Well, now my second daughter has taken a liking to them as well.

When the television is on, they are both asking for cartoons. Well, the baby's not really asking, but her big sister says she speaks on behalf of the 14-month-old so she has two votes. Six-year-old logic.

With an abundance of networks catering to kids in an incessant 24/7 cycle, there is never a shortage of cartoon chicanery to tickle their funny bones.

Such was not the case when I was a child.

Saturday mornings. The thought brings a smile to my face even now, years later, long past those early mornings of watching Bugs and Daffy, Scooby Doo and the like.

While those shows are still around, there's no need to wait for Saturday morning any longer. Like the old Zip disk, the "kid" day of the week has gone the way of the Dodo.

What else will the kids today never know?

Well for one they'll always think of vampires as misunderstood creatures who whine about their feelings and sparkle in the sunlight rather than be baked to a crisp.

Thanks a lot "Twilight."

Speaking of movies, remember the Bruce Willis iconic action flick "Die Hard"? Terrorists take over a building in downtown Los Angeles at Christmas. They seal the place tight and sever all phone lines to the plaza. No calls in or out.

This could never be done today. Not with everyone having cell phones. In fact, landlines are becoming a thing of the past all together. Do you still have a landline in your house? I do not. Abandoned it a couple of years ago because I never used it, and everyone called me on my cell.

Long gone before landlines in the home were landlines that you pay to use. How often do you see a payphone, let alone banks of them as was common a decade ago? I still see them from time to time in places like the airport, but payphones are virtually extinct.

Other items of curiosity for our kids will be roadmaps (I haven't cracked one open in years), long lines at the movie theater (thank you Fandango and the little kiosk inside the theater), cracking open an encyclopedia for a report (stay away from Wikipedia though, kiddies), using a typewriter (thanks be to Steve Jobs) or a time when Mel Gibson wasn't a raving, lunatic (I still love you for Braveheart, Mel). Speaking of movies, how about 3-D meaning little flimsy paper glasses with red and green lenses?

Kids will never know what it was like to actually have to get up to change the channel or volume on the television (though you should make them from time to time), send a letter in the mail (same as the volume on the TV), make a collect call (here's hoping they don't get arrested) or write a check for services rendered (little plastic strips of magic going by the names of debit and credit).

They will never know what it's like to have to jump-start a manual transmission car by pushing it and popping the clutch (for the record this is not a bad thing) or go to the store and buy music (let's hope they are at least paying for the Internet downloads).

To quote Dylan, the times they are a changin'. To paraphrase Springsteen, the foreman says these things are going boys, and they ain't coming back.

Hmm, we had Dylan and the Boss. They've got rap and Justin Bieber. Maybe the kids today don't have it so good after all.

Josh Beavers is the publisher of the Minden Press-Herald. He is a two-time recipient of the Best Newspaper Column award given annually by the Louisiana Press Association.






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