I talked about age yesterday. That’s not fair. I don’t wanna repeat myself and all that. But apropos to the prompt, this meme came up on my facespace:
And, of course, the answers were varied and amusing. Because many of the people who answered were much younger than myself, and this was posted on a gaming page (a page for people who play video games) so many of the answers had to do with video games and how they’ve changed over the years.
My first video game was Pong, which, I think, was on the Atari. We thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread even though it was just two lines and one dot. But damn, if it didn’t keep us entertained for hours. Okay, maybe not hours, but it was fun to play when we were bored. I mean why not table tennis on the tv? Way fewer lost balls and the computer kept score for us. No more arguing over whether the ball was “out” or not, because it was made quite clear by the game. Simplicity itself. Then, of course, came Space Invaders, Adventure! and so on. My very first computer game was text based, also called
Adventure!, my husband has corrected me, it was called Adventureland… and it consisted a “choose your own adventure” story where you gave the computer two word commands like go north, get mud, climb tree, and fight monster. I don’t remember if I ever beat that game, but I had a lot of fun playing it.
But as to the question itself, there are many things I can say that “younger people” wouldn’t understand. And that’s not a dig on younger people, they have simply been born into a different world. To take a completely arbitrary example, most kids these days have been born into a world where cellphones are ubiquitous. To be in a world where they didn’t exist, that’s just not something anyone under 20 (in the United States) can conceive of. I remember relating a story once to a group of people about the time I got lost in New York City and I had to ask quite a few people for directions (because they talk so fast there), and one of the listeners of my story asked me why didn’t I just use my cell phone? I had to explain to her that this was before the time of cell phones. It totally blew her mind (she didn’t think I was that old). Ha! Another example, we here in the States also have cars everywhere. Even the poorest of the poor in our country has access to some kind of transportation. It’s incredibly difficult to imagine a time when there were no cars, no busses, and even no trains, and one had to walk everywhere or be confined to their home town for entirety of their existence.
Or imagine telling someone under twenty that you were born before the age of the internet, or even *gasp* before the age of computers. Oh, sure there were computers the year I was born, but they were supercomputers, only used by the military and companies with enough money to build them and room to house them. Because they needed to be housed in their own space, and kept cool and powered at all times, &c… And, of course, the money to hire the people to keep them running. Because not everyone knew how to operate a computer back then. Windows totally wasn’t a thing. See all the reels in the picture? Yeah. If I remember correctly, that’s the memory right there. So anyway, what I’m saying is personal computers weren’t a thing until I was a teenager and even then, they were only for people with the money for them. They weren’t nearly as commonplace as they are now. The internet was just a twinkle in someone’s eye when I was born. But I’m betting that there are people who cannot even imagine a world without computers, or the internet.
And I’ll make a confession, whenever I think about doomsday, I always have in my plans that somehow, the internet will survive. I don’t know why. I’m not a youngster. I’ve lived a good chunk of my life without teh interwebs. I’m fairly sure that if my internet went out tomorrow, I could get along relatively well without it. But I’d rather not. Weird huh?