When I was a kid adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; walking twenty-five miles to school every morning uphill both ways through year-round blizzards carrying their younger siblings on their backs to their one-room schoolhouse where they maintained a straight-A average despite their full-time after-school job at the local textile mill where they worked for 35 cents an hour just to help keep their family from starving to death. I remember promising myself that when I grew up there was no way in Hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it! But ... now that I'm getting up there in years a bit, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.
I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a freaking child's Utopia! I hate to say it, but you have no idea how good you've got it!
When I was a kid we didn't have The Internet -- if we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damned library and look it up ourselves! And there was no such thing as email! We had to actually write somebody a letter -- with a pen! -- and then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!
And there were no MP3s or Napsters! If you wanted to steal music, you had to go to the damned record store and shoplift it yourself. Or wait around all day to tape it off the radio and then the damned DJ would usually talk over some part of it and screw it all up!
You want to hear about hardship?
You couldn't just download p0rn any time you liked. If you wanted to see a little skin, you had to bribe some homeless dude to buy you a copy of "Hustler" or "Swank" at the 7-11! It was either that or flog the dolphin to the lingerie section of the JC Penney catalog. Those were your options!
We didn't have fancy sh*t like Call Waiting. If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal .. period. And there was no such thing as Caller ID, either. When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was it: boss, your mom, a collections agent, your drug dealer, you didn't know! You just had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!
And we didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600 with crappy games like "Space Invaders" and "Asteroids" and the graphics totally sucked a$$! Your guy was a little square! You had to use your imagination. And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever. And you could never win, the game just kept getting harder and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!!
When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating. All the seats were the same height, and they were all as comfortable as the chairs outside the principal's office. If a tall guy or some woman with a huge hairdo sat in front of you, you were screwed. And you had maybe 4 movies to choose from if you were lucky, not 24 like you have now. Or say you went to the drive-in theater. Most kids have never seen one of these outside of a movie or television, but they were not the nostalgic makeout spots they're portrayed as. Most of the time, you were either hot, too cold, too itchy (mosquitoes) or too far away from the screen. And the sound coming out of little speaker that you hung on your window was either all fuzzy and crackly or nonexistent. Either way, you had a helluva time understanding what was being said on the screen. Then here were the idiots who honked their horns or flashed their high-beams in the middle of the movie (just to be pricks), or the dumbass who got lost on his way back from the concession stand walking around with an arm full of junk food whisper-shouting his date's name. What with all that crap going on, I didn't really enjoy a movie until I was 20 years old.
And sure, we had cable television, but back then there were only 15 or 20 channels and there was no onscreen menu. You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on. And there was no such thing as Cartoon Network! You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning. D'ya hear what the hell I'm saying?!? We had to WAIT ALL WEEK to see the next episode of Johnny Quest or Scooby Doo, you spoiled little bastards!
Or what about nuclear war? The only time today anyone talks about nuclear war is when it's America doing the ass-kicking. Back when I was young, we lived in almost constant fear that Leonid Brezhnev or Yuri Andropov would wake up drunk out of their mind on vodka and launch a first strike against us, and we'd respond, and ... get this, you whiny little shits ... ALL LIFE ON THE PLANET WOULD BE DESTROYED!!! Makes a couple of planes into a couple of buildings seem pretty tame by comparison, doesn't it?
You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled, I swear to God! You guys wouldn't last five minutes back in my day! Why if you ...
Holy crap, I cannot believe I just spouted all that. I sound like Dana Carvey's Grumpy Old Man ("... and we LIKED it!").