People love to mourn the passing of trivial things that, deep down, everyone knows nobody really cares about. Take Hostess, for example. That company just went under like three days ago, and already people are eulogizing the Twinkie as if they actually continued to eat them once the very earliest stages of childhood passed. And besides, it's not like some company won't just buy Hostess and keep poisoning schoolkids themselves.
But any excuse to act as if they've lost something dear is a good one for the public at large. So now Ho Hos and Ding Dongs are a thing that we all have to pretend we miss for the next few days.
Here are a few more things we've been pretending we miss for a lot longer than that ...
#5. Mom and Pop Stores
Any (well-deserved) discussion about the evils of big box department stores like Walmart will inevitably veer off into a soliloquy about the good old days when tiny mom and pop stores ruled the consumer landscape. Before all of the union busting and forced overtime and other famous atrocities came to light, the biggest complaint about the big chain stores was that they put the little guy out of business. How is a small operation supposed to compete when the competition can afford to sell bucket-sized versions of the same items you sell one at a time for the exact same price?
What They Aren't Thinking About
You know, mom and pop stores are still a thing. Even if a lot of them have gone under over the years, you can still find them. Provided you live in a city with a decent-sized population, you don't have to buy your albums at Best Buy. You can seek out your local independent record store and make the exact same purchase. So let me ask you this ... how often do you do it?
For everyone's constant bitching about how the Walmarts of the world destroyed small businesses, you sure as hell don't see a lot of that outrage translating into patronage of the smaller shops and stores that are still trying to stay afloat in the face of the Big Blue Machine. If you did, things like Record Store Day wouldn't be necessary.
Reminder: Steve Jobs did not invent the music industry.
What's that, you ask? It's a day when major and independent record labels alike put out releases by big name artists that are only available that day and only at participating independent record stores. It's intended to compel consumers to ignore the allure of $8.99 CDs at the large retail chains, even if for just one day.
And that's the thing -- it usually is just one day. Needless to say, most of the clientele at this yearly effort to help keep a CD section in the head shops of America consists of enterprising eBay sellers hoping to turn a quick profit.
The Foo Fighters doing a bunch of cover songs can be yours for just $229.99!
But why does this day even exist? Aren't music fans the ones who automatically rally around the little guy and fight against corporate power? Why do people need to be reminded to visit independent record stores each year like some kind of dementia-addled relative?
Simple: Because mom and pop stores just aren't that convenient. With very few exceptions, the selection is dick and the service becomes nonexistent as soon as two or more customers arrive to monopolize the sole cashier's attention, leaving you plenty of time to write your 1,500-word Yelp review about "how charming and retro this place is" while silently cursing yourself for being too much of a working-class hero to take a bus to Target like a normal person.
And it's just a sad fact of business that smaller stores can't afford to sell you things at the same low prices the larger stores can. Especially in an economy like this, you shouldn't feel bad about making your purchasing decisions based on what makes the most sense for you financially. The smaller stores are going to lose that battle every time.
I'm not saying that big chain stores are objectively superior to smaller stores or that the mom and pops are at fault for not being able to provide the same amenities that a plush, luxurious Walmart can, but I am definitely saying that if you're going to bitch about the big guys putting small businesses under, you should at least make it a point to support the ones that haven't been taken down yet. If you don't, you really don't have anything to complain about.
#4. Violence in the NFL
Watch an NFL game in the company of a large group of people and you could probably set your watch by the regular intervals at which someone is going to complain about how they long for the days when "the refs just let 'em play out there." Translation: "Rules be damned, if Ray Lewis wants to stab an opposing quarterback on the field, he should be allowed to do so. It's a game for men, after all. And defense wins championships!"
What They Aren't Thinking About
Here's the thing. Defense does indeed win championships, but offense sells tickets. Offense makes the fronts of Wheaties boxes. Offense gets shoe contracts. Offense is able to do all of that because it's fun to watch. A New England Patriots game is a whole lot less interesting if Tom Brady isn't under center. I mean, you do actually want to watch football, correct? You want to have the option to do that in your life? I ask because, without the Peyton Mannings of the world, the NFL probably wouldn't exist, so that career-ending knee injury you've been praying for (because that's how God and sports work) probably isn't the best thing. And besides, if you think allowing more violence is going to make the game more interesting, I'd like to remind you that we tried that, and it was a failure of spectacular proportions.
That cocky grin lasted about three weeks.
In 2001, Vince McMahon had the bright idea to launch the XFL, a bastard version of the NFL that added the gimmicks and unmitigated violence of professional wrestling to the usual mix of play-action passes and halfback dives and such. It was like regular football, but ... manlier. Unfortunately, it was also painfully boring to watch.
How could this be? For one thing, they allowed what's called bump and run coverage. That means a defensive back can hit a wide receiver any time at all before the quarterback releases the ball. And that, in turn, means the chances of anyone catching a pass are slim to none. Without a passing game, offense slows to a screeching halt. When that happens, which it totally did with the XFL, you're basically watching soccer. And as we all know, America collectively sighed and said "Man, fuck soccer" like a hundred years ago. We don't like it when the players are running around in spikes with exposed thighs, so we certainly aren't buying into it when everyone is padded to the hilt.
Cry all you want about the NFL protecting quarterbacks and receivers, but it's never going to change, because the end result is a Super Bowl that ends with a score of 6-3, and nobody wants that shit.
#3. The Days Before People Sent Text Messages
People love to reminisce about the days when folks talked in person or, at the very least, over the telephone instead of sending all of these obnoxious text messages. Everyone knows that one guy (always a guy, never a girl) who just flat-out refuses to send or reply to text messages. If you want to tell him you're on your way, you're going to have to make a phone call to do it. Even if this guy knows you're coming and to tell him is a mere formality, you must do it through the majesty of voice, he'll have it no other way.
What They Aren't Thinking About
You know what? Fuck that guy. Whether he realizes it or not, he's actively conspiring to make all of our lives a little bit more difficult. This is the technology equivalent of the old woman at the grocery store who steadfastly refuses to give up her decaying checkbook in favor of a newfangled debit card. And it's time for it to stop.
Above: A man wishing he was a real drug dealer.
I understand not wanting to carry on an entire conversation via text message. We can't hammer out our feelings 160 characters at a time. Some things require actual human contact. But asking me to pick up ice on the way to your party is not one of those things. These exchanges of mundane information and requests are in no way enhanced by me fumbling around to hit the green button fast enough to hear your sweet voice.
And besides, how fucking lonely are you that you miss the days when your dipshit cousin had to ask you if you know where to find weed in person? How deprived of human interaction have you become that exchanges like this now hold some kind of sentimental value for you?
Rest assured, if any of this applies to you, your problem isn't technology, it's depression. Buy a cat and start sending text messages like a normal person before everyone stops communicating with you altogether.