5 Things You Grew Up With (Your Kids Will Think Are Insane)
At this very moment you are living in the future that your ten-year-old self was pretty sure was going to be up to its nuts in robot butlers and cyber ham. Unless you're ten right now in which case what the fuck? Your parents let you read this? I could literally start talking about dildos at any moment. I hope you go to them with any confusing questions you may have so they can assure you I'm not real and there's no reason to take anything I say seriously. That aside, you're also living in a time when today's ten-year-old will have no idea what you went through to get to this point. Just look at all this non-dildo stuff that has been lost to history.
Phones Used To Buzz Into Your Earhole When Nobody Was On The Line
You have a phone, right? There's a good chance you're reading this on your phone. There's a better chance you use your phone as a phone far less than you use it as a device to type and read making it kind of bizarre they bother to call it a phone when that's probably third down the list of things it does. No one calls a cat a "sand shitter," even though that happens more than you use your phone as a phone. But pooping in sandboxes aside, remember dial tones?
You probably haven't considered this in a while, and if you still have a landline phone, maybe you still have a dial tone? I wouldn't know, I don't have a landline phone. But I know I don't have a dial tone and legit haven't heard one in years. Now imagine the kid born after 2010 who while vaguely aware of the concept of phones that have squiggly, pig-tail wires attached to them would have no idea why the damn thing drills a ceaseless robo-fart into your ear every time you pick it up. If a kid picks up a phone today and hears a dial tone, they're going to assume it's busted. Like bad busted, too, because it's never made that sound before.
In days of yore when everything had to be plugged into something, the dial tone was a friendly reminder that your phone worked, because there was literally no other way to know your phone was working. It didn't do anything. There wasn't anything to look at or charges to adjust or battery life to keep an eye on. It was an ugly-ass lunch box with a plastic half brick you pressed to your flesh. The dial tone was the phone saying "Hey friend, why don't you give grandma a call? Also waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!"
Those days are gone now and they never need to come back. The next generation is not just going to be unaware of a dial tone, they're going to have to Google the term because it means nothing.
Credits Meant The Movie Was Over
When I was a kid, nothing sucked more than watching a movie on TV and waiting for the next show to start as the damn credits rolled. Nothing. Not war or famine or Full House. You watched the credits only because you wanted to see what was on that channel next and were too lazy to leave the room or, you know, live a life. If you'd rented a video, you pressed stop as soon as that first name started to scroll up because credits were how you knew the movie was over. Did all those people work hard to make this film? Sure, but I don't know them or anything, they don't need me to read their names. Your parents didn't stick around to watch the school play after your part was over, they threw their beer cans on the floor, yelled at you to get off stage, and went the hell home.
Nowadays, thanks mostly to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if you see a film in the theater you'll notice that just about half the room stays as still as statues when the movie ends. For any comic-book or action-type film, and even some comedies, you want to stay put because surely there's a post-credit bit of awesome, or some sweet bloopers running through the credits. The movie isn't over when it's over, it's just dribbling away like those last vexing droplets of whiz after a night enjoying gimlets at the bar.
The future is going to be rife with movies that make you five minutes later for everything you do thanks to this phenomenon. Kids are going to be expecting it all the time and they will wait, reading the names of each and every gaffer, best boy, and second-unit caterer from Quebec where they filmed all those Bigfoot-takes-a-forest-bride sequences. I showed my niece The Goonies and she asked me to turn it back on after I stopped the Blu-ray so she could see the final scene. It's in their heads and there's no getting it out. But also, don't you wish there was a post-credit scene in The Goonies and it was just Corey Feldman singing "Ascension Millennium" with Chunk and Sloth? Because I wish that.
There are two kinds of teenagers in the world. There's the kind who are self-assured, know everything, and are featured in PSAs on how to be awesome -- drag-racing and smoking that reefer. And then there's the kind I was. I can't speak to that other kid in his varsity jacket and five-o'clock shadow, which, in retrospect, might be just the memory of a few high-school sex comedies I saw in the 80s and not a real thing, but never mind that. I can speak to the gut-butt-fucking fear I felt as a 14-year-old calling the girl I liked from French class and having her mom answer the phone.
I can't even think of the last time I called any individual and got anyone else answering the phone. If you called someone now and someone else answered, your first instinct is either their phone was stolen or they're dead. The days of having a house phone are drawing to a close and even if you have a landline, you probably have a cell phone anyway and that's how people call you. No high-school kid is calling their friend's house and getting stuck chatting to Mrs. Friend's Mom.
In a reasonable world it wouldn't matter if you had to talk on the phone to a person's mom for 30 seconds, but that's not the world a teenager lives in. Getting mom or dad on the phone is psychologically on par with being caught masturbating. It's harrowing and earth shattering in ways that are hard to account for and the children of tomorrow have no idea how lucky they are that human interaction is so limited now. You don't have to talk to the pizza place if you don't want to, you don't have to go to the bank to pay your bills, and you never have to talk to that hot girl's mom knowing full well that she knows you've been staring at her daughter's exposed bra strap in the back of second period every goddamn day.
The kids of tomorrow are losing a healthy sense of fear and self-loathing that previous generations were saddled with. That illogical and fear-born sense of inadequacy that plagued you at every turn because you were sure someone was judging you, even if you didn't know why. Now everyone's that varsity jock just high on their own sense of unfettered phone confidence, calling people left and right and only talking to them like some kind of majestic phone barons of a future telecoms utopia.
In the realm of gaming, look at what the Go-Gurt gobblers of tomorrow are missing out on. When I was a kid, I had to go to Blockbuster to rent a new Playstation game and so help me God if I was late bringing that thing back, lest the dreaded late fee be put on my bill. Try to explain that to a kid in ten years, that there was once a time when you not only needed to go to a business to rent a piece of physical media which is probably going to not exist in a decade's time thanks to streaming and online gaming, but my playing the game meant someone else couldn't play it. Some poor schlub had to wait for me to bring it back and if I was late, Blockbuster charged me again because Jimmy Guntstubb was desperate to play Battletoads and I fucked up.
Basically, gaming in any practical form, for any kid whose parents weren't rich enough to buy every new game on a whim, was a community endeavor. Everyone had a tacit agreement to work together for the joy of the game, or the whole system was fucked harder than a Fleshlight thrown into a prison yard.
There was literally no way to see gameplay outside of a commercial unless you caught an episode of Video Power with Johnny Arcade, so renting was the best way to test the waters and see if you were up to the challenge of Contra. You and every other kid had to be orderly and patient. You rented that game, you put in your time, and you took it back. Every late asshole threw the whole system into chaos.
The very idea that you couldn't play a game or watch a movie today because the kid down the street's parents refused to vaccinate him and now he has polio is damn near absurd. Why should someone else's shitty punctuality affect your gaming? It shouldn't. But dammit, it did. The struggle was real and the only defense that existed against it was Blockbsuter's unshakable adherence to the rule of late fees, the most strict punishment and deterrent they could muster.
If A Game Failed, It Was Likely Your Fault For Being A Filthy Slob
Obviously technology today is a hell of a lot different than tech from the 80s, or 90s, or from about 5.27 seconds ago. Rest assured technology in 2027 is going to be full of brain-wave-activated toasters that can give you a hummer while making Pop-Tarts for you, the way Edison intended. But that doesn't mean toasters won't exist in the future. There is, however, a good deal of stuff kids are never going to get to see or experience. It's not evolving or getting updated, it's simply been rendered obsolete.
The big issue with physical media is the general maintenance and upkeep. If you had a VCR you probably remember the thrill of adjusting the tracking when your video inexplicably just started oozing down the screen and tweaking like it hadn't had a drink since this morning. Or how about that VHS copy of Splash you watched too many times that eventually became so worn out and static-riddled it was like watching garbled porn on a cable station you didn't get (which is another thing your kids will never know about).
Gamers went through this, too. When I bought vanilla World Of Warcraft back in the day, I think it came on five or six CDs because the idea of actually downloading the game was as silly as the idea of eating a ham sandwich with no bacon on it. If even one of those fuckers got scratched, you were screwed. Or let's say you installed it just fine, but in the middle of a big boss fight, your mouse suddenly spazzed out, and the cursor shot up to the corner of the screen. That old style mouse had a ball and rollers in it. A little, grey ball that sucked up desk-based schmutz like a magnet. You'd have to pop the bottom of your mouse, pull the ball out, swab off the layer of dog hair, dust, and dried tears on it, then do the same for the tiny little wheels inside. That's a lost art now, like polishing your monocle (the real way, not the euphemism for sticking Pop Rocks in your pee hole).
The point is that the game failed because you failed. You took such poor care of the components, it crapped out. Already today that can be circumvented thanks to a having a hard drive to store games, and in the near future, companies like Sony and Microsoft will just drop the idea of physical media altogether so you have one less thing to get sticky with your Mountain Dew. Because, as we all know, true gamers Do the Dew. Everything will exist in the cloud, and if a game failed, it's not on you -- it's all them.
No more discs means no kid in the future is ever going to have that moment when they take a scratched copy of Earthworm Jim and try to rub peanut butter across the bottom of it because someone somewhere once said that will repair surface scratches ... even though I've never actually met anyone who got that to work and it mostly left my Final Fantasy VIII smelling like a middle-schooler's sandwich from back when middle-schoolers were allowed to have Final Fantasy VIII sandwiches.
For more check out 6 Things Our Kids Just Plain Won't Get and 5 Oddly Specific Things That Won't Exist In Our Kids' Lives.
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