#2. Garage Saling
I'm going to start this one by pointing out that "saling" is not a word. It never was, and I get it, but cut it the hell out. Don't say it. If you go garage saling, it means everyone around you is involuntarily assholing until you leave. Asshole.
Now that that's out of the way, any disgusting, bed buggy thrill you may have once gotten from going to a garage sale is as dead as disco. You can't pop down the street to see what crap Old Man Witherspoon has for sale and get an Action Comics No. 1 for 25 cents, because that cheapskate old prick Googled it the night before and he's selling it for $500,000 now. Do you have that kind of money to spend at a garage sale on a comic that smells like mothballs and old man balls? No you don't.
Thanks to shows like Storage Wars and Antiques Roadshow and Pawn Stars and a dozen others, everyone knows that their crud is worth something. And worse, all the shit they have that's worth nothing, they still think it's worth something, so you're never going to get a good deal ever again.
This, in turn, basically means that if and when you ever see a garage sale again, it's like finding the corpse of your childhood pet propped up on a table next to a sign that says "Pet Stinky $0.25." It'll never have that same feeling it did back when no one knew or cared what shit they had; they just wanted it out of their house, but didn't have the stomach to just garbage it like they did with grandpa. Now when you go by garage sales, people are selling pop and snacks alongside their shitty DVDs that cost $10 apiece. No one is paying $10 for your garage sale DVD, Mr. Thompson. It's Double Dragon, and there aren't even any special features. It's useless!
The hidden wonders of a stranger's home are now gone, only to be found by the cam you installed in the neighbor's duct work when they went shopping and foolishly locked the door with a barely functional lock, practically asking you to come in and pleasure yourself with their butter. And it's never coming back. The hidden wonders, I mean. Do whatever the hell you like to the neighbor's butter.
As an abnormal child with too much time on my hands, I always got a deranged thrill from getting mail. You never need mail when you're a kid, and you rarely got good mail, except for the odd birthday card with a couple bucks stuck in it, but it was nice to know Ed McMahon might be willing to give you $10 million if you'd just subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens. And did you notice that Playboy stamp that was always on the list of magazines you could subscribe to? I used to take that one and keep it in my room. Mrrrrow.
So anyway, the Internet fucked all that.
You probably still get mail -- we all do -- but how much is from actual people? How often do you send mail? Do you know what a stamp costs these days? The post office really took it on the chin when people found out they could send messages instantly on their typey boxes. They were still reeling from what the telephone did to their business. And on the surface, maybe it's not so awful that email exists, but think of what we lost in the trade for instant communication. I can't speak for anyone else, but the only time I'm excited to see a new email is when I suspect there's boobs in it. And let me tell you, there's pretty much never boobs in it. I had a friend in college who used to send me pics of girls with penises all the time, but that never really felt the same to me.
Worse than lack of boobs, and by that I mean not worse but still sad, is how we communicate. Did you learn how to write letters in school? Proper formatting and all that jazz? There's kind of an art to letter writing. Email is basically what happens if you aggressively teabag your keyboard a bunch of times. Of the first 10 emails in my inbox, only two even include an actual greeting, and one is "Hey fuckwad."
We've lost the art of communicating with people, and that sort of indefinable feeling you get by actually holding a letter in your hand, smelling the paper, having the brief thrill of opening it up to see what's inside. We traded it for boob jpegs. Boob jpegs that never show up. I've had the same email address since 2005, man.
Check out more from Ian in The 5 Most Ridiculously Awful Computers Ever Made and 7 Bizarre Things (And 1 Bodily Fluid) People Use as Money.