It's the most joyous time of the year. That time when we stop what we're doing. Take some time off work. And make lists in order to prove how smart we are.
Today's list: The Top 10 Rites of Passage Our Kids Won't Have to Deal With
Alright, this is going to come off a little "crotchety old man"-esque. But there are a slew of Rites of Passage that we had to go through in order to become a civilized human. I'm not talking about the "uphill in the snow both ways" joke. I'm talking about the little things that annoyed us, but taught us the valuable life lesson of "quit your whining!" You know how our parents told us that we were growing up soft? Well if that's true, then our children are going to grow up downright ethereal. Because they won't have to put up with any of the following ten things.
10. Renting stuff from the video store.
Have you seen a Blockbuster parking lot these days? There's usually two cars parked in it, just enough for the two employees that are working there. Netflix has not only crushed the once-powerful Blockbuster video, but is now pissing on its grave. I have fond memories of Waco's Blockbuster on Friday night. It was always packed! You'd think there wasn't a whole lot to do in Waco!
9. Metal playscapes that burn your skin right off.
After a full day of sitting in the sun, those metal slides had to be radiating at about 200 degrees Farenheit. In fact, I think if we harnessed the energy emitting from those things, we could replace coal as our largest energy fuel. I'm not quite sure how solar panels are supposedly so inefficient when I still have burns from metal slides I rode when I was six. Now they're all plastic and don't even give you splinters or anything. My god, look at that thing. It's harder on you than those Marines obstacle courses.
8. Being discriminating when taking photos.
Remember back when you got your pictures developed at Eckards or whatever? There was always three or four pictures where you had your thumb over the lense. But you didn't know until after you paid them! And the photo developers are like, "what a freaking moron! Ha ha! There's 32 cents down the drain for this guy!" Now it's just point and click every five seconds. The result is facebook photo albums that run 300 pages. I'm not sure that's a complete improvement.
You should see Girl Supercomputer when we're waiting for a tape to rewind. All our Disney movies are VHS tapes, so whenever she wants to watch old sexist Disney movies that will inevitably give her an eating disorder, we have to rewind the tapes. You'd think we were waterboarding her. "Why can't I watch it now?!! Why isn't it ready!! Ahh!!!" Because, sweetie, you have to rewind these damn things. When you hear the loud THUD, indicating the tape is properly rewound, you can come get daddy from the kitchen, where I'll be drinking whiskey.
6. Getting your Nintendo to work.
Everyone had their own trick for getting their NES to work properly. Usually it involved some sort of blowing on the video game itself. Sometimes there was rhythmic pumping of the console itself, up and down, followed by a continous pushing of the RESET button. It took like 20 minutes to get the NES working. Maybe that's why we actually thought those games were good.
5. Changing disks on computer games.
If you grew up as a total dork like me, you played the Sierra games like Kings Quest and Quest for Glory. You'd walk to a different screen and you'd have to change disks (there were usually like four or five disks per game). Then you'd walk back and have to switch again. It totally ruined the experience. You were all, "what was I supposed to do with this bird's nest again?" In other news, I had no girlfriends during my entire public education.
4. Bitching about your favorite movie not being nominated for Best Picture.
Did you hear about this one? They're extending the Best Picture category for the Oscars to 10 nominations. This is total bullshit. Now everything's going to be nominated. Any marginally good movie or three-hour historical epic is going to be nominated for Best Picture. You're not going to be able to say, "Movie X should have been nominated!" because Movie X was nominated. And if it wasn't it really musn't have been a good film.
The first time I brought a discman on a school related bus trip, everyone looked at it like I had found the holy grail. Nevermind that it skipped every four seconds in the bus or that if you EVER touched the lense is was ruined forever. Remember trying to go running with Discmans? The little clip-on to your belt was a cruel joke because it was pretty much useless when not parallel to the ground. And eventually you'd just start holding the thing like you're a waiter who's really, really late getting that cosmopolitan out.
It might be Hulu. It might be Tivo. But the age of commercials is quietly coming to an end. I have no idea what toymakers and erectile disfunction drug makers are going do to, but they'd better adapt fast.
1. Chicken Pox.
When I learned there was a vaccine for chicken pox I was floored. Chicken pox was the best/worst thing about childhood. It was awesome because you got to miss two weeks of school. It sucked because you had all these damn itchy red spots all over you. I remember when I got chicken pox in third grade. I came into class and my teacher looked at me and said, "What's wrong with your face?" Looking back, how does a third grade teacher not expect and immediately recognize chicken pox? Anyway, they sent me home and I missed two weeks of school. And I got my first B ever in school. But it was totally worth it.