As time marches by and progress brings new technologies and innovations, we sometimes lose a few items that we end up missing.
And while I am not suggesting technology and innovations should regress, it would be nice if things just gressed for a while sometimes so we could keep a few of these favorite items.
With that in mind, our judges have put together the Top 5 Items Lost To Progress.
First a few honorable mentions:
Phone Books – This remains out of the Top 5 because they are still around in some forms, but I miss the simplicity of the old phone books. Everyone had several in the house (including a few from previous years) and they had every number you needed. You sometimes had to switch between phone books to find the right numbers, but it was easy to find the contact information for friends, businesses and government offices. Today, you can look for phone numbers on the internet, but if you search for a list of pizza places or dry cleaners for example, you get a list of sponsored businesses first and then several pizza places from out of state, a few reviews of pizza, information on how to dry clean at home and everything except a complete list of phone numbers for whatever you are looking for. Phone books were easier! Why did we get rid of these things?
Not having to worry about spoilers – It wasn’t long ago that the only spoilers you had to worry about with movies were those supplied by friends or occasionally by the actors discussing their movies on late night television. In those days, there was no internet or social media that you had to avoid so you didn’t read spoilers for a movie. Now I realize that the internet has made way for amazing innovations such as blogs, but the popularity of spoilers is a downside. As an example, I can give you a spoiler right now and let you know that this column is not going to get any better.
5. Video Rental Stores – Speaking of movies, I miss the days of video rental stores where you would go in and examine walls of movies in order to see which one(s) you wanted to rent. It took forever because there was so much to choose from and the movies that you finally chose were usually out at the time anyway, but it was an event in itself to browse in the store. After finding a movie or five you wanted to rent, you paid a small rental fee and then another small fee when you returned your movies late, but it was worth it. I know that everything is available on demand now, but it seemed much simpler and more fun with the video stores.
4. Downtown Five and Dime Stores – The stores we have today have a little bit of everything, but they don’t have the charm of some of the stores from days gone by. The downtown businesses like G.C. Murphy, Ben Franklin or Woolworths had a wide variety of products, and sometimes even restaurants, and they were fun to visit. These stores had those large cash registers and they generally had the important products that I was looking for, such as baseball cards or comic books.
3. Pinball Machines – This is another item that I know is still around, but they are not as prevalent. Video games are fine to have on your phone, computer, television or in a small arcade, but pinball machines were so much fun and it seemed like they used to be everywhere. If you had a quarter or two, you could play for as long as you could keep the ball moving on the machine. Video games are fun, but it seems like in order to play you need to download an app, scan something in, enter your user ID and password, retrieve the password you have forgotten, answer a few challenge questions, enter a credit card number and then try to figure out which buttons to push. I just want to flip a silver ball into those rubber things for extra points.
2. Not having to worry about Social Security numbers – Today, everyone is so nervous about their Social Security numbers, and certainly with good reason, but it wasn’t that long ago that none of us cared about who had our Social Security numbers. I had my Social Security number printed on my checks, along with my phone number, address and bank account number, and then I would just hand that check to total strangers and it all seemed totally safe. I carried my Social Security card around in my wallet and never imagined anyone might want to pretend to be Nick Claussen. Frankly, I would have probably just been flattered if someone had tried to use my Social Security number to impersonate me.
1. Simple remote controls – I often wish that when watch television, I could just turn on the television and then move the channel button up and down to find what I want to watch like I used to be able to do. Unfortunately, that can’t be accomplished with today’s technology. I need to turn on the television with one remote, change the television to the correct input setting, switch to another remote, wait for information to load on the magic box that is connected to the television, and then either hit the guide button or some other button that will finally allow me to slowly change a few channels, while allowing time for the screen to freeze after a few channels. Why is it so complicated? I just want to move up and down! I don’t want to start the program over, change the screen color or use any of the 15 buttons that are on the bottom of the remote that I have no idea what they do!
I realize I sound old and cranky here, but are there any items lost to progress that you miss? Feel free to comment below. Thanks.