You have to understand that my generation is the generation where all this stuff was invented. So that means we didn’t already have any of this crap – ingenious stuff. When my kids were in high school they were required to take a computer applications class. In MY day the equivalent would have been a typing class…. On actual typewriters…. Where you actually had to put paper in the typewriter (actually two pieces so you didn’t damage the “rollers” – quit laughing, I know I’m a dinosaur).
And there wasn’t even such a thing as a “correcting” typewriter back then. The only “correcting” was that you had one of those typewriter eraser things and you had to actually take the piece of paper OUT of the machine, erase it the best you could and brush it off with the little brush attached to the other side of it (do they even make those things anymore?) and then try to insert the paper back in the machine and line it up so that the correction didn’t stand out even more because the words weren’t lined up. They didn’t even have LiquidPaper or anything like that yet. I know you youngsters have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about, but trust me… it was an absolute pain in the butt.
If you made too grievous of an error, let’s just say the words “do-over” took on a whole new meaning. Let’s just hope you were at the beginning of the paper and not at the bottom because then you had to re-type the whole page. And cut and paste? Yeah, that took on a whole new meaning too. You had to ACTUALLY CUT with scissors and PASTE with glue onto the page. And being able to do even THAT? And make a copy of the pasted work on a new sheet of paper on an actual copy machine? Man, I thought I was the bee’s knees when I first was able to do even THAT. Because before that was all that mimeograph stuff… Don’t even get me started on THAT.
Kind of makes me wonder what Thomas Jefferson would think were he still alive today. I didn’t realize (as many times as I’ve been to Monticello growing up in Virginia) until several years ago that he actually invented one of the first “copy machines”. It was a contraption that linked together two actual pens to write with so that you put a piece of paper beside the piece of paper you were writing on and as you wrote with YOUR pen, the other pen on the contraption wrote on the other piece of paper…. Right hand to God! I saw it with my own actual eyes! Can you imagine what he would think NOW? If he were privy to all the technologies we have available to us? He was so far ahead of his generation with that clumsy contraption and now? He’s not rolling over in his grave…. He’s probably smacking himself in the forehead going “Why the hell didn’t I think of that?”
I’m really going to date myself now, but, I never even really SAW a computer until I was like 20 and then they were VERY antiquated and HUGE. I was working for a uniform rental service in Fayetteville NC and they used a computer for their billing. I thought I was SO cool when the office manager showed me how to work the computer. I felt like the Jetson’s! And all they used it for was the billing. Everything else was still done by hand. The correspondence was still done by typewriter. But by then, we had those fancy correcting selectrics. Of course they took up almost an entire desk top but who cared? You didn’t have to manually move the carriage forward when you got to the end of the line.
And spell correcting and grammar correcting? That’s what secretarial pools were for. The executives never had to really write or type anything themselves! They would just call in their secretaries and have them do it for them. Back then for a guy to be in a typing class was considered “sissy”. Why did they need to know how to type when they had secretaries? Seriously, we really lived in THAT sexist of a world. So, yes, we HAVE come a LONG way baby… to get to where we’ve got to today. Any of you remember THAT commercial? Back when you COULD advertise cigarettes on television? Those Virginia Slims commercials that touted being a fierce and independent woman? WAY before Sasha was Fierce. That was the epitome of being an independent woman! They actually made us our “own” cigarettes! The commercial went something like this: You’ve come a long way, baby. To get where you got to today. You’ve got your own cigarette now, baby. You’ve come a long long way!
Yes, we were fiercely independent because now we had a cigarette that was made for US. But, I digress…. I remember the first “car phone” that we had. We had bought a used Mazda and the man we bought it from had a car phone installed in the car already so all we had to do was activate it. We thought we were SO cool that we actually had a phone in our car. Never mind that you couldn’t LEAVE the car in the middle of a phone conversation because you were actually attached to the car with the phone. It was on a stand that was installed in the car next to the gear shift on the floor. They did HAVE “portable” phones but they had their own little case to carry the battery and everything that was like the size of overnight bag. And they didn’t last all that long either. And the reception was terrible, but, you could finish your conversation away from your car!
But that was a heck of a long way from the “party lines” we had when we were growing up where you had to actually share your phone lines with your neighbors and you never knew if someone else was on the phone until you picked it up. And neighbors would eavesdrop on your phone conversations. And you didn’t do anything else while you were on the phone because you were literally attached by the phone cord. We thought we were cool when we got a longer phone cord or a phone that wasn’t a rotary phone. For you youngsters, that’s a phone where you have to actually insert your finger into the round dial and move it around in a circular motion to make a phone call. Yes, we actually had to do that. And you hoped the number you were calling had lots of 1’s and 2’s and 3’s because the higher the number the longer it took for that little dial to fall back around to dial the next number.
Yes, today’s generation has no clue how convenient they have it or how much longer it took to do everything “back then” as compared to now. And some days I sit and think back to the prehistoric age I lived in growing up and am amazed at all the marvelous technological advances we have made. I truly do appreciate all the great minds that invented these gizmos and gadgets. I just wish my moronic mind would absorb it faster and be able to actually figure out how to use them correctly.
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