Take a quick look; they’re going fast

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 3/10/21

Every older generation, no matter the period of history, seems to think the current younger generation is going to the dogs and is basically hopeless.

My parents and their peers thought Little …

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Take a quick look; they’re going fast

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Every older generation, no matter the period of history, seems to think the current younger generation is going to the dogs and is basically hopeless.

My parents and their peers thought Little Richard and Elvis were degenerate and while it’s true Elvis shook his pelvis, he never showed it to anybody — at least during a performance. But look back at the writings of history and you can find those thoughts, all the way from Ben Franklin to Aristotle.

Part of this feeling we — at least, many of us — have as we age is the realization that life is bigger than us. Still, a “forward” message on the Internet from a friend not so long ago gave me great pause ... and a little sadness. In it, the author noted nine things that may likely disappear from life sooner or later, maybe some in my lifetime.

All nine of those have occupied a significant portion of my years, maybe yours, and that piece reassured me life is bigger than me.

At the top of the list was the post office. No way, you say ... but it’s possible. The entire organization is struggling to survive as inflation, shutdown and less in-person shopping thanks to email leads to more FedEx, UPS and other forms of communication and service. For some time, there’s been discussion that Saturday service may soon to be a casualty in some places; what’s next?

Next on the list is the use of checks. You already see the growing use of debit cards. It costs banks huge amounts of money to process paper. Every wondered about the logic of a 50-cent check as a rebate from a cereal purchase? The decline in paying bills by checks has something to do with the decline in the use of the post office, wouldn’t you think?

There were other things on the list of items that may be like the disappearance of the buffalo. Among them were newspapers ... ouch! That hurts. I still have many from 30 years ago, still waiting to be read. And the smell of paper and ink gets me going. But fewer and fewer people read newspapers and maybe part of that is the lack of good product and content. But more and more our society is into sound bites, specific “spins” of news and instant gratification.

Same thing for books, which were on the list. Sorry but I can’t get the same joy out of a Kindle or whatever. Got to hold the book in my hands, mark it up, put it down and pick it up again and so on and so on.

Another item included the land line telephone. I’ve got one for the Internet but that’s about all. Taxes on top of taxes for that service will help it die a death unless there’s an improvement in the situation.

But of all the items on that list the one that struck me as most interesting in a way was the television. I still remember the introduction of the thing. The first one my dad brought home from C.E. Durham and Son in Bynum in the 1950’s — complete with test pattern and glowing fluorescent border around its glorious black and white picture. Took awhile to come on; the tubes had to get warm. Went off at midnight with the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

Today the set comes on instantly with a humongous picture but what’s on it should be shot. Comedy isn’t funny; every “dramatic” series is too much; violence runs rampant.

That’s why folks today, at least those like me, watch TVLAND where they can see “I Love Lucy” or watch Dick Clark on The Game Show Network. Plus, more and more folks are watching full length movies and so forth. When you add in that there are about a dozen commercials every four minutes for such appealing products as “Sitz-A-Lot” for your hemorrhoid relief, typically shown during the dinner hour, it’s no wonder things are heading downhill.

Change, of course, is the only thing in our world that’s constant. And as I reflected on this list it reminded me of things I’ve already seen disappear — things such as manual typewriters, slide rules, 8-track cassettes, 45 rpm records, and a host of things that are found only in museums or antique shops.

And so it goes for each generation. My parents saw the disappearance of the Model A, the horse drawn plow, hand pumps for drawing water from the well, and so on.

Pretty soon, it seems, all we’ll have left are memories and, as the note I read said, we’ll lose those to Alzheimer’s.

Pay attention and keep a sharp eye out.

Bob Wachs is a native of Chatham County and retired long-time managing editor of the Chatham News/Chatham Record, having written a weekly column for more than 30 years. During most of his time with the newspapers, he was also a bi-vocational pastor and today serves Bear Creek Baptist Church for the second time as pastor.


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