In Obsolete Terms

With the kids getting older, I’m now realizing how many things they have access to today that I never did at that age.  It’s amazing to think that whenever they see a computer they assume it’s connected to the internet.  They have email and collaborative internet games like Toon-Town whereby they can play against other connected kids and siblings.   They have hand-held computers they can play in the car that sure beat my car-trip days of finding the A-B-C’s on road signs.

Some technology like compasses and barometers, which have been around for hundreds of years, haven’t been totally replaced.  But, we now use more pleasantly-reliable technology like GPS in-car, mobile phone, etc.   We’ll still use terms like “what direction are we traveling”, so that’s a bit easier to explain.

However, what will be more difficult to explain is how the latest advent of technology replaced something the kids will never know about.  Where terms and phrases will become obsolete.   Here’s a few of my favorites:typewriter

Honey, Where’s the Liquid Paper? – This not only meant for fixing a written word, but also it fixed misspellings on the typewriter (before the advent of IBM Selectric which had an special editing type ribbon to erase misspellings.  Jeez, what an amazing technology that was.  Hours of savings and cleaner, type-written results.  I’m sure if I put a typewriter on the kitchen table (I don’t have one in the house), the kids would scream in unison “what the heck is that?”  Ironically, you can find pictures and the history of typewriters on the internet.

Go adjust the Antenna – Perhaps this is where Ro-Sham-Bo was invited and the loser had to get off the couch and adjust the antenna while everyone shouted out the changes in the reception.  Do you remember get excited about going to Radio Shack and your dad buying a state-of- the-art antenna that you just couldn’t wait to wrap the wires around screws on the back of the TV?   And, then of course the local channels would come in clearer, but you still had to adjust the antenna as soon as you changed the channel — the knob on the front of the TV of course.   When was the last time you saw one of those huge antennas on top of someone’s house?   Maybe only in Des Moines.

I’ll Go Get the Paper – Home delivery of the newspaper has been a staple almost my whole life.  Even in college, I had the Chronicle delivered to my apartment.  Now, I can get the Chronicle on-line and the need to pay for a home delivered paper virtually vanished overnight.  Obviously, no surprise almost every newspaper company is out of business or near bankruptcy as they didn’t adjust their business models fast enough to align with people’s changes in reading habits.

I’ll Bring My Polaroid – Remember about 25 years ago being the life of the party by being able to take instant photos and then passing them around.   Shaking them in your hand to dry after taking a photo and watching the images come to life.  So to speak ’cause no matter what, they’re still fuzzy with mis-matched colors.   Today, of course, it only takes a $20 (or free) mobile phone to take a digital image and send it or post it to anyone in the world.  Polaroid isn’t exactly out of business, but just another vendor in the digital camera market.

rotary phoneCheck Out Our New Rotary Telephone – Do you remember being worried that a number had too many “9’s” in it, or were you excited to whip the entire dial around and watch it spin back.  While we still use the term “I’ll go dial that number”, the word dial has taken on new meaning.  In reality, to dial – means to regulate, select or tune in.   Sure, that’s what we’re doing, but it’s not the result of using a circular device or knob.  I could imagine my kids reaction if we brought a phone like this into the house.

I Got a Deal on These Cassette Tapes – I still remember paying premium dollars to get blank tapes to record my records to play them in the car.  What a pain that is compared to today.  We would spend entire weekends playing albums and writing down the songs on little cards that fit inside the cassette tape boxes.  The iPod changed all that, but so did the ability to cut a CD.  The only thing the kids would associate tape with is an art project or fixing stuff around the house.

As I think of new ones, I’ll add to this post.   What terms or appliances are obsolete in your house?

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