Then And Now

Things change.  Or at least we think they do.  Is there really something new under the Sun?   Perhaps so on occasion.  Let’s explore that thought.

Long ago guys wore jeans.  They had two brands essentially–Lee’s and Levi’s.  You could get them from Sears but that was definitely not cool.  They wore worn without belts and pretty tight and relatively low compared to dress pants but no cleavage was ever revealed.  Hair was either a buzz cut or long with ducktails and greasy applications.  Today they get jeans from WOMEN designers.  Gee, Armani, Dior, Polo, etc all have jeans.  Sears is still barely in business.  They have their hair colored sometimes and it is spiky, sticking out in all directions for some.  They wear them very low and most or not full length but some halfway between regular pants and Bermuda shorts.  Back then tattoos were only for guys who had been in the military and most of them didn’t have any; today those tats are like billboards on Interstate 95 they are so ubiquitous on some of them.   Then it was the Kingston Trio preppy look now it is the grungiest looks that are on the TV’s.

In my youth lots of the guys I knew could and did work on their cars.  They really did about everything–change the oil, work on the transmission, lots of work on the carburetor and would not hesitate to redo the pistons or chambers.  Brakes were adjusted with a screwdriver through the slot in the wheel and they could set the timing and the linkage.  Today you have to be a computer geek to figure out what is wrong with your car before you even think about doing any work.  As a result how many young guys do you know today who can do anything on their cars?  Most are stumped when it comes to so much as changing a tire.  Of course since they are cutting out the spare tire we may not have to worry about that soon but the car will get all of 40 miles to the 4 hour charge.   Of course you probably won’t  be able to do the charge at home until you have the electrician out to re-work you fuse or switch box because they can’t handle the extra load.   Everyone back then knew exactly what you meant if you asked “what will it do?”  It was the 0 to 60 mph time.  Lots of the manual shifts could hit 85 or 90 in second gear with a little adjustment.  Today we are planning those cute little buggy things that are fiberglass to save weight. 

Movies were made that told real stories, often tough, romantic or poignant and hard to believe but without cussing or random sex every other scene.  On The Waterfront or the The Apartment are good examples.  The Apartment is as romantic as it can be and even has some illicit sex at its core.  It is a real classic with Lemmon and McClain but not a cuss word and no one had to see a sex scene to believe the adultery was occurring or the youthful romance was budding.   Amazing but real people and actors can talk and communicate a full range of human emotions without cussing.  Today, well if the couple are attracted to each other (and maybe even if they aren’t but just in close proximity) then you can count on the sex scene(s) and often quite graphic.  Hey, if you like porn then go for it.  There is plenty out there.  But do we need it in our modern version of story-telling (movies)?   I love sex but being a voyeur isn’t really my thing.  Am I the only one that gets a little uncomfortable during those predictable scenes?  Even if people cuss in real life do we need to hear it repeatedly on the big screen?   Even in the rough and tumble business and law world I never heard men talk and cuss the way they do in these movies.  Some cussing yes, but not every other word.    It is boring and the screenwriter should be able to do better than that, if not then look for another line of work rather than being a wordsmith.

Today most of what passes for music sounds like the working  of a coffee grinder with a broken blade.  It is all played on about 4 notes and with about 4 instruments.  So repetitious.  Then someone breaks in and doesn’t sing but screams alleged words that are never enunciated clearly and incomprehensible to even the best of ears.   Porter, Gershwin, Rogers, Miller and the great ones would have been appalled if the folks couldn’t understand their lyrics and knew that music required many instruments to reach the full range of its power and appeal.   You can have Winehouse, I’ll take Doris Day anytime.  You can have Beyonce and I’ll take Tommy Dorsey.    Yes, there are some differences.  

Then you had a dial, rotary phone. Voice mail was a secretary to take messages if you had one or Mom or whoever else answered the phone at home.   There were no cell phones so you didn’t have to worry constantly about messages or making calls and there were pay phones on almost every corner if you really needed to make a call.   You might find it hard to believe but people worked really hard then and yes they accomplished a lot.  ‘They could mulit-task as they say today.  Try dictating to a secretary and talking on the phone at the same time and scanning a contract to boot.   Do all those voices mails and texting really add one whit to productivity?  Like to see a real study on that.  Might be they are more of a distraction than they are a benefit.  Except for the women folk the calls were short and to the point and usually had useful or necessary information.  Aren’t the majority of your voicemails really just trivial or completely unneeded info?  Couldn’t everything have been said in 30 seconds when you  met face to face?  

“Can you hear me now?” used to mean that you had cracked the door open a little wider from the bathroom or study or had laid down the saw you were working.


1 Comment

Filed under business, Culture, Economics, family, history

One response to “Then And Now

  1. Adam

    Hey, I’ll have you know that I changed out my own blower motor resistor this past weekend on my 2004 Tahoe. Does anyone even know what that is? For your education; it’s this little weird looking electronic thingy that has two sets of different wires and is about the size of a wallet. I sound like a real mechanic don’t I? Well, truth be told, I DID do my homework because the dealership said it was going to cost $800 to fix my AC controls, which were only working on speeds 3,4 and 5. Well with two kids, a stay at home wife and another kid on the way…$800 isn’t an answer I wanted to hear. I got the resistor at Autozone for $27 and replaced in within 30 minutes. Did I know what I was doing the whole time? No! Did i take the time to learn something and try to fix it myself? Yes! With Google and a few phone calls to other mechanics I diagnosed what was most likely the problem and went for it. Now, I just have to figure out what I’m going to do with the balance of $773!! Don’t get excited…it’s for food, diapers, bottles, wipes, doctor appointments and the list goes on. My point is this, use the advances in technology (the internet), use your head and marry those with the old adages of the past where men did work on their cars. You be amazed at what you can accomplish. And yes, i agree with you, i think we were actually more productive (in some ways) 25 years ago than we are today. Everything is so reactive today because of technology.

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