Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
I saw something on Facebook recently that caused me to pause.
Actually, it caused me to put both feet on the brake pedal and come to an angry, screeching, tire-smoking halt. You know, the kind that leaves an exact imprint of the treads of your back tires on the road for the length of a football field. When the back of the car lifts up and all the people behind you can see are tail lights in a cloud of gray smoke.
I know you know exactly what I am talking about and probably did after the second sentence, but I’m paid by the word, so a lot of this is unnecessary filler and chatter to get me a little coin before vacation season.
I wasn’t actually driving, mind you. It’s a metaphor.
I explained this just now to my wife, who chastised me for being on Facebook while driving. Keep in mind, she thinks I drive too slowly and I probably could not only be on Facebook, but reading an actual book while driving, according to her. If there was a land speed record for going the actual speed limit for a period of time, I probably hold it. Editors: Please note, this is the end of the chatter. The actual column starts in the next paragraph. Really.
The thing I saw on Facebook was a picture with a caption that said something to the effect that if you had any of the items pictured currently in your house, you were old. Our problem was we did not have one item pictured in our house. We had all of them.
We have a telephone that is not a cellphone. We have an actual working VCR. We have an actual working typewriter. We have a record player.
There were other things like a three-drawer file cabinet, those metal folding TV trays that never seemed to go back into their little rack without the flimsy metal legs getting hooked on each other, folding card tables, VHS tapes and those tall skinny Tupperware cups that only seemed to come in those hazy white and electric green colors. According to this, my wife and I are old.
There are a number of other things we don’t currently have in our house, but probably will eventually. We don’t have one of those big Danish butter cookie tins that never seems to have any cookies in it. For the record, I like the ones that look like little pretzels with a little bit of sugar on top. I rarely get them, because the Danish butter cookie tins always have something else inside like a sewing kit, a first aid kit, a snake bite kit (OK, that one might be a stretch) or a bunch of loose screws, nails and bolts.
All I wanted was a little butter cookie that looked like a pretzel with sugar on top instead of salt and I got a handful of tenpenny nails. My grandmother kept one filled with buttons. Imagine the surprise when you go for a cookie (yes, the little pretzel ones with the sugar on top) and get a handful of brass buttons, leather toggles and teddy bear eyes.
We don’t have a can crusher attached to the workbench in the garage. Firstly, we don’t have a garage. Secondly, we don’t use as many cans as we used to. My great-grandmother used to keep a bowl of chalky mints on a sideboard in her dining room. It was always full, but I never saw anyone eat a mint or anyone refill the bowl. I ate one once and it was as chalky as I thought it would be. I asked my great-grandmother when she last filled the bowl and she told me she filled it once in the summer of 1966 but just left it alone because no one really wanted the mints.
One of the items pictured was an address book. We have an address book, a big, thick one with a phony leather cover and a bunch of pieces of paper stuck in it as addenda to the listings. I know a lot of people use their cellphone contacts for the same reason, but we are kind of old-fashioned.
My wife’s grandmother had one that had a little rotary dial on it like a phone and you stuck your finger in the hole with the letter of the name you wanted and it would open up right to that page. It was fantastic if you had the book sorted correctly. If you had Claire Grossnickle listed under “Claire” and not “Grossnickle,” it could cause all sorts of problems not knowing where to put your finger in the little rotary dial.
I guess you’re considered old if you hold on to things that work just fine and don’t need to be replaced by something modern and technologically advanced. My wife tells me this all the time. Seemingly, she and I both work just fine and don’t need to be replaced.
Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.