The Struggle

    By Antonietta LaVecchia

    We’ve all seen it.


    It’s real.

    You know when you have to use your hot dog bun for a PB&J sandwich or, even worse, when you have to use Wonder Bread as a bun for your hot dog. The way these things are presented on social media, it’s as if it could ruin your entire day.

    At this moment, I’m about to sound like my mom (cringe). Ready….Well, Dear Millennials, you don’t know #thestruggle. You’ve grown up in a technology-driven era that some of us 40–*cough-cough*-somethings did not have the pleasure of growing up with.

    iPods? Yeah, right. Try records, or if you were lucky enough to grow up in the ’80s, cassette tapes. When the Sony Walkman came out, it was like a whole new free world—music anywhere you went! However, it also meant you had to listen to the same cassette over and over or carry along a few more in your backpack for some variety.  There were no pocket-sized anythings when I was growing up.

    Am I bitter? Damn straight I am. And not because I didn’t have this stuff growing up, it’s when I hear tweens whine about not having the latest iPhone. The phrase, “Back in my day, we had to use a phone with a cord…that was connected to the wall…and it was rotary,” actually comes out of my mouth. Do you have any idea what that’s like? You say it and then you have a moment of…WOW. I. AM. MY. MOM.

    So, I’ve just decided to embrace the fact that I’m pretty much a (clenching teeth) middle-aged woman who remembers the “olden days” and will reap great joy of putting together a list of #theREALstruggle, just so that one day when the millennials reading this are my age, they can say to their kids, “Back in my day, we didn’t have hover-crafts to take us back and forth to school….”

    • There was no “Google it.” If you needed information for a school project or report, you had go to the library and use an encyclopedia. If you were really lucky, your parents had their own set, which was purchased from a door-to-door salesman.  And yes, there was a time when people sold things door-to-door—books, food (any Charles Chips fans out there?), housewares, and the like.
    • Do you know how the channels got changed when I was a kid? Whoever was the youngest was the “channel changer.” Yeah, remotes are awesome, right?
    • Directions went like this, “Go down the road about two miles or so and make a right at the Exxon station, I don’t remember the name of the street. If you see a McDonald’s, you’ve gone too far.” And prior to the GPS days, Mapquest was our best friend.
    • Are you a night owl? Well, all the major networks went dark at 2 a.m. There were no Gilligan’s Island reruns on at 3 when you couldn’t sleep.
    • There was no “call waiting”—if you wanted to tell Susie that Johnny had a crush on her and the line was busy, well, you had to call the operator and have them do an “emergency breakthrough.” And you prayed to God that it wasn’t Susie’s mom on the line you just broke through.
    • We went outside. There were entire summer days when our parents had no idea where we were. There was no tracker app to keep tabs on your kids. But, you know what? We were OK. We followed our parent’s rules and came in when they said to.  We stayed in groups and didn’t wander off on our own.
    • You had to carry change with you at all times. No cell phones for us. We had to use those good ole-fashioned payphones. And you know how much a call cost when I was a kid? 10 cents. Yep, we carried dimes around all the time. Take a drive to your center of town, I bet you can’t even find a payphone anymore.
    • When cable came about, you were lucky if your parents had the money to spend on such a luxury, otherwise you used a fair amount of tin foil to get your rabbit ear antennas to give you a clear picture.
    • There was no “On Demand.” You went to the video store, rented a movie, and if you didn’t rewind it you paid a fine or you were considered unkind.
    • When you were sick, you had to actually call and speak to your boss. There was no texting or emailing out of work.
    • We didn’t breeze through E-ZPass. There were times you could be sitting in traffic for miles, waiting to throw your .25 cent toll in. Yes, there was a time that tolls were only a quarter.
    • When the phone rang, you had no idea who was on the other end. There was no caller ID, so it was a total crap-shoot. It could be your best friend, a telemarketer, or Aunt Edna who will keep you on the line for an hour.
    • And finally, back in the day…when you stalked someone, it was a commitment. You drove past their house a million times or called and hung up. Now you just pick up your phone, hit social media, and you know exactly what your crush is up to. Have you ever tried driving past a house multiple times without getting noticed? That takes some serious ninja skills that today’s kids will never acquire.



    • Show Comments

    • Joe z

      Great article I miss those days when I noticed the stars at night and has to stop and ask for directions .too much bullshit these days I’m on overload we all could use some down time to vegetate.

    Comments are closed.

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