My job (for a buck an hour, plus the freedom it gave my parent to work the store with little guilt), was to demo the games for customers looking to buy them. Yep, I got paid to play Super Breakout, Asteroids, Pitfall, Kaboom, Adventure, Circus Atari, Super Mario (the original) … I had the awesomest job, like, ever.When I tell my kids about it, they just laugh. Atari and Coleco, and Nintendo are so arcane, the idea of wanting to play something where your man is not much more than a blip on a screen seems more like punishment than playtime.
“Guys, did you hear me, I got paid to play video games, do you not think I’m like the coolest mom?”
“What do you mean, nah? I had to take a picture of my Missile Command score and send it in, it was so high. I was working with advanced technology — the stuff sci-fi is made of.”
“Mom, you’re cool, OK? *gives telling wink to sister, as if to say, Ugh Mom is so not cool*
But Gen Xers are cool, we were there at the beginning of the digital revolution, we were there for the start of something, something big, but the technology that was totally groundbreaking then, is totally embarrassing now. Here are a few…
1. Joysticks — I’m thankful they aren’t around anymore, as I prefer my kids get their carpal tunnel syndrome the modern way … through texting.
2. Fotomats — “Wait, you used to be able to print and hold actual pictures in the olden days? Why?” said some child somewhere. “Yep, and we used to walk our pictures over to Instagram and Facebook way back then … it took much longer to post a status update,” said I, in response.
3. Dial up internet – Our kids will never know the joy of hearing that screeching sound and knowing in a short 15 minutes they’ll be connected to a world of weird people waiting in chat rooms. PS – If it takes 20 seconds for something to load, my kids start to cry.
4. Floppy disks — It only took like 37 of them to save a single program, now my kids download 37 programs, ahem, apps in the amount of time it takes to get called in to see the dentist.
5. Answering machines — I guess voice mail is similar enough. Though your kids will never know the joy of running home to see if that little light is blinking or the defeat when you realize there wasn’t a message from (insert important crush here), or the panic when the tape ran out or got eaten by the machine before you got to hear all your messages (that was worth crying over).
6. The cassette tapes that replaced our awesome 45s, LPs, and 8-tracks and the CDs that replaced our awesome cassette tapes — My kids think CDs would make good coasters. I think that’s a sign that they don’t understand the point of a coaster.
7. Microfiche or what I like to call retro-Google — What a time suck that was, now you can just say what you’re looking up into your phone and it will magically appear, well, after you repeat it multiple times to Siri, or Robin, or Scott Baio or whoever your personal phone assistant is (I hear Scott’s hard up for work – funny, I thought I’d marry him one day, now I’m just hoping he’ll direct me to the closest Starbucks).
8. Video stores — Where someone like me could make a living — well, make enough to buy a bubblegum flavored ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. (Please tell me there are still Baskin-Robbins’?)
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- More Gen X Humor: