You’ve seen the lists on Facebook or some other online time-sucks. They are designed to tap into your nostalgia for the way things were when we were growing up. Live telephone operators, doctors selling cigarettes on TV, cursive writing, looking up things in an encyclopedia, milk delivery, phonebooks, payphones, drive-in movies, tie-dyed shirts, lava lamps and bell bottom jeans. The lists go on and on.
The compilers of these lists are people who are extremely nostalgic for the way things used to be and they want to entertain us with those memory associations. Or maybe they want to drag us back to those good old days because, well, why not?
Wait just a minute. Doctors telling us that cigarettes are OK and have great flavor? That was the good old days? Barbie dolls set a good example for adolescent girls? Riding motorcycles without helmets was safe? Trying to get decent TV reception with rabbit ears on top of the set? Penny candy that rotted your teeth? Chemistry sets that could blow us up along with the house? Cereals loaded with sugar? Candy cigarettes that we could suck on until we were ready for the real killers? Eating Swanson dinners that lacked any real nutrition (and now we know the Tucker Carlson connection)? BB guns that could take out an eye? Really. Sunbathing without sunscreen – holy melanoma! Lead paint everywhere at home and asbestos covered pipes in schools? No seatbelts or car seats for infants?
Are boomers being encouraged to fondly remember things that in retrospect should have scared the hell out of us if we really thought about it. Just revisionist thinking you might be saying. Granted, we survived, but maybe we should be a little bit more realistic about our nostalgia. Remember the benign but thank your lucky stars the other stuff didn’t maim or kill you.
My favorite mostly safe childhood activity? Attaching baseball cards to our bicycle spokes with clothes pins so that our bikes sounded like powerful sports cars when we peddled as fast as our little legs would go. Innocuous? We thought so. Still have all my fingers.
Jay Harrison is a writer and creative consultant for DesignConcept. You can also visit his author page here. His newest mystery novel, Rio Puerco Demise is available on Amazon. His first mystery novel, Head Above Water, is also available on Amazon. But that’s not all. You can also purchase the Best of BoomSpeak on Amazon.