Going, going, gone

One of the best definitions of the generation gap comes from the cartoon The Simpsons. Grandpa, listening to his son’s music, says: “I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me. And it’ll happen to you.”

We all accept that as we grow older, times will change. Technology will get out of date. Music styles will come and go. But with the pace of change accelerating, these days we don’t have to wait a generation for a generation gap. Some sociologists say that the differences between Grade 9 students and Grade 12 students in the same high school is just as big as the gap between Grade 12 students and their parents. For anybody trying to keep up with the times, that’s a scary thought.

To help Christian Courier readers stay “down and funky with the youth of today,” I thought I’d put together a list of things that are going the way of 8-Track tapes and skinny leather ties. Once I got started, though, I realized it was going to be a long and depressing list. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In February, Starbucks announced that they are going to stop selling CDs in their stores. This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. Classic retailers like Sam the Record Man are long gone and even newer chains like HMV are on life support. If you went out shopping for Taylor Swift’s latest CD right now, she could date and break up with four boyfriends before you find a copy.

Personal MP3 players
You’d think that with CDs disappearing faster than the Leaf’s playoff hopes that sales of iPods and other Mp3 players would be going up. Nope. Sales of iPods went down 52 percent in 2014. That’s because people are using their phones as music players, making iPods pretty much obsolete – just when you were finally ready to go out and buy one.

Land lines
Remember in old horror movies when some guy in a hockey mask would cut the phone lines to the cabin in the woods? These days, kids would be wondering what both a “phone line” and a “hockey mask” are. More than 60 percent of Canadian households where the adults are under the age of 35 use a cell phone only. Sorry, Jason.

In 2014, 90 percent of Americans owned a cell phone. Of the people who owned a cell phone, 52 percent use them to send email. But a whopping 81 percent use them to send text messages. These days, email is seen as slow, old-fashioned and kind of quaint by most young people.

Speaking of quaint: young people are fleeing Facebook in droves these days. It turns out that if your mom can see everything you do online, and when your crazy uncle can send you rants about how Obama is going to use his weather control device to raise taxes, that kids will start to feel Facebook is less of a cool social network and more like a really uncomfortable family dinner.

Cable TV
At the same time that people are deactivating their land lines, families are also cancelling their cable TV subscriptions. And why not? Would you rather watch 30 commercial-filled minutes of Honey Boo Boo on Network TV or three glorious uninterrupted hours of Dr. Who on Netflix? On second thought, don’t even answer that question.

DVD/Blu Rays
Like CDs, the “hard format” versions of movies are disappearing faster than John Travolta’s hair. On the plus side, they’re almost as cheap to buy as they are to rent – meaning you can put together a pretty impressive video library for next to nothing. Finding a machine to play them on in the next decade, on the other hand, might be a challenge.

Hard drives
With everyone storing their information on the “cloud,” (that’s a computing term, by the way, not a reference to those things angels sit on during harp practice) hard drives are slowly becoming a thing of the past, too.

Pay phones
With 90 percent of Americans owning a cell phone, there really isn’t much reason to cram into a smelly phone booth. Unless you’re Superman.

Remember when your mom would unfold those big paper road maps during family trips after your dad got everyone completely lost looking for the campground? No more. Cell phones have maps built into them. Cars have GPS. So the trees can sleep a little easier knowing there’s a lot less need for paper these days.

Alarm clocks
Remember how satisfying it was to reach out and pound your fist down on your annoying clock radio? Don’t do that with your phone, which is more likely what you use for an alarm clock in 2015.

Wrist watches
Do you still look at your wrist expecting to see the time there? Or do you pull out your phone? If you’re the former, you’re either old – or one of those college-aged hipster types who thinks wearing old-fashioned brands like Timex makes them “cute” and “quirky.”

Phone books
Sensing a theme yet? Why thumb through the yellow pages when it’s so much easier to say “Siri: find me the phone number of the nearest pizza place?” Then, you can place your order online and not have to speak to a single human until the pizza guy shows up at the door.

Truly, we live in a remarkable time. Keeping up with the times, though, is a full-time job.  

  • Lloyd Rang works in communications and is a member of Rehoboth CRC in Bowmanville.

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