Half Way To Dead

I will turn 45 in a little less than two weeks (Feb 8th). I'm starting to feel like Andy Rooney. Looking back at my life here are some thoughts:

Every phone had a chord on it. The phone RANG. There were no ring tones.

Movies were about $5 and if you didn’t see it at the movies you waited till it came on TV. There was no way to rewind or pause. If you had to do something you had to wait until a commercial came on.

Cars ran on leaded gasoline.

Speaking of Gasoline, the air was dirty and the sex was clean. Well, it wasn’t lethal anyway

I barely, I mean barely remember black and white TV.

Captain Kangaroo was cool. Mr. Rogers was not.

Ernie was my favorite muppet, but looking back I wonder if Burt was his “partner.”

Saturday mornings were spent with Bugs and Friends, and School house rock (educational TV, what a thought).  I would have a bowl of Captain Crunch, or Quisp, or Frankenberry.

I remember when we left the cool new “video game” PONG on without turning off the TV and it burned the final score into the screen. It was so much cooler than playing pinball.

I was the only kid in first grade who knew who Jimi Hendrix was when he died.

Nixon was president and Ali was champ, and you could catch “The Johnny Carson show” (as I called it) at 11:30 for a large part of my childhood. In my opinion, Ali is still the champ.

I remember listening to top 40 music on AM radio through the one speaker in dash board of my mom’s Plymouth duster. None of the words were bleeped out.

I remember hooking up a CB radio in my bedroom with the antenna going out the window. On occasion I could talk to my friend at the end of the street. (ancient version of text messaging?).

I road my bike everywhere. No hill was too tall. I’m not sure how, but my Mom didn’t seem to care that I was gone most of the day. There was no way to reach me. If I was going to be late, I would use a pay phone. I had to be home when the street lights came on.

To this day, I never understood how 8-track tape players got popular. They sounded awful, didn’t play right, and often fell apart.

I still have two containers of 45 records, and over 400 LPs. I haven’t listened to a single one in about 4 years. I still have a turn table, but nothing to plug it into (and yet I will not throw them away).

I am noticing that more and more of my sentences begin with “these kids of today…”

I remember life before Google when everyone had a set of encyclopedias.

While I vowed as a child to never grow up to be like my Dad, I hear more and more of his words coming out of my mouth directed at my children. He’s kind of cranky and will turn 80 in June. That scares the crap out of me.

While I use to be able to get away without wearing my glasses, things are really getting blurry now. The bad news unless I get surgery, my eyesight is only to get worse. That’s right: this is as good as its going to get.

When I was a kid, if I got pudgy a growth spurt would come along and take of it. I’m still in need of another growth spurt.

When I was a kid the word “sucks” was a curse word (it insinuated oral sex).

There was no attention deficit, and ADHD, and ADXKYMGT (etc) kids. If you were hyper, you got detentions. If you continued, you got paddled. My ninth grade Algebra teacher flung  an eraser at a student who was sleeping in class. There were no guns, no metal detectors, and in general we all attempted to pay attention.

When I was in school there was honor roll (GPA 3.5 and above) and Merit Roll (GPA 3.0 – 3.5). Today there is no Merit Roll, and the honor Roll is 3.0 and above. And yet people want to argue about the “dumbing of America.” We also kept score. There was a loser and a winner. Both experiences had lessons to be learned.

A dirty fight in high school was if someone brought a bat. It only happened once, and we were all so shocked it never happened again.

I remember at McDonald's when I graduated from the hamburger, and could actually eat a Big Mac. There were no super sizes. I think there were small and large fries. No one would even think about eating two big macs in one sitting. We would eat McDonald’s every Thursday before Mom went bowling. I enjoyed dunking my fries in my milk shake. Today if I eat a big mac, I spend the next hour clearing my throat and feeling awful.

There might have been one person who got pregnant (we understood the concept of a condom, and feared disappointing our parents). Now there are day cares at the high schools. Girls are congratulated when they get pregnant at age 16, and told “you're are so lucky.”

I have seen parenting traded in for friendship. I have also seen children with fewer manners, less respect for adults, and a general shrinking of the time when children are “innocent.” My parents dragged me to church. I didn’t always want to go, but I’m glad they did. I never would've survived my Mother's Death without my faith. There are no teenagers at my church because the parents want to be “friends” with their kids, and they let them call the shots.

I knew all my neighbors growing up. I can’t name a single neighbor on my street. That's sad.

I have seen Americans grow larger (myself included). When I was 25, “That was the year” that I was going to get in shape. When I was 30, THAT “Was the year” I was going to get in shape. Well I’m turning 45 in 12 days (February 8th) and THIS IS THE YEAR that I get in shape. You see as you get older your muscles shrink, and losing weight will only get harder – unless I take steps to keep the muscles I have and build new ones.

I’m turning 45, and my wife jokingly says I’m half way to dead. We’ve come along way. I’ve witnessed black and white TV to the space shuttle. While technology is supposed to enhance our lives, I feel nothing is more enhancing than having my family around a table at dinner. Nothing competes with someone saying “I love you.” I feel nothing recharges my batteries than my faith in God. I truly believe that freedom can come through the discipline of teaching our children right from wrong. That takes courage. They will hate you for about 10 years, but when they turn 25 and have children of their own they will thank you.

The first 45 years were good. The second 45 are going to be great (if I can just remember where I put my glasses).

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Building a Better Dave : Half Way To Dead

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