Friday, November 28, 2008
Thoughts on Yet Another Birthday
So today I celebrate (mourn?) an event that traumatised the hell out me one day many years ago. Back then, computers were still 10 feet tall, occupied entire rooms, used tape for RAM and possessed the memory of a present-day pocket calculator available at the dollar store.
Wars, cold and hot, were being fought between major countries in almost every quadrant of Earth (yes, I know, it sounds like a Mel Gibson epic, doesn’t it?)
The moon shot was years away. To dial anyone from anywhere that was not your ville, you absolutely had to go through an operator. There was "Person to Person" and "Station to Station." It cost an incredible amount of money for the time. There were no faxes. Telegrams were the usual method of communication, with their staccato “IN TOWN TONIGHT STOP OKAY NOT TO COME TO AIRPORT STOP WILL TAXI STOP LOVE YOU STOP.”
Men wore hats. Almost all men and some women wore hats. I was born in a hospital in Calcutta, India, which, like most hospitals, whisked me away from my mother and put me in a bassinet somewhere in the neonates room, where, no doubt, Dad came to gaze, not smoking a cigar, but a cigarette. Hell, the doctor probably lit one up with him. And they let my mother smoke in her room while she recovered.
Flying was an incredible luxury. It was like going to the moon. All the men wore suits and ties. All the women were dressed in their finest. Going from New York to San Francisco probably required two stops, but no one minded, because they were in the lounge, smoking and drinking.
I lived in India for ten years, so at the time there was no television, period. Even Gandhi didn’t have television. There was no radio. The only music came from a mono wooden thing that stood 4-feet tall and played Nat King Cole, scratchily. There were no battery-operated toys.
On the day that I was born, so many years ago, the world was literally a different place. If I put my son in a time machine and sent him back to it, he’d be bewildered. No computers? No fast food? No Dora the Explorer?
So, it’s with mixed feelings that I observe this day. Sure, back then life was simpler, but was it? Was it really? Probably more people than today were still busy killing each other, probably even more so than today pollution, poverty and horror were rampant . . . need I go on?
Just wish I’d been born thirty years later.
Can you say Barney the Dinosaur?
Posted by ChefNick at 5:53 AM