When I Was a Kid Things Were Tough

Posted on November 1, 2013


When I was a kid things were tough–so much tougher than the kids today have it. The toughest part for my generation was that it was so hard to find anybody to complain to about how tough things were. The kids today can whine once on Facebook and immediately reach hundreds of people. But when I was a kid, if you wanted to complain, you had to call each friend and complain to them one at a time. After three or four phone calls, you’d grow exhausted and forget what you were so upset about. It was terrible.

And sometimes you would muster up the courage to call a girl just so you could commiserate on how bad you both had it, but her dad would answer the phone and call out, “Heather, one of your girlfriends is on the phone!” because your voice hadn’t deepened yet. Things were tough.

And these phone calls were made using a telephone, and the phone was attached to the wall, and your family only had one telephone that everyone shared. And if you called a girl to complain about how bad you had it, sometimes she wasn’t home and you had to leave a message on her answering machine and your mom got on the telephone while you were recording the message and yelled at you to get off because it was past your bedtime and the machine captured everything. Things were pretty bad.

My parents had it even worse. When they were kids they had to walk uphill in the snow for hours and hours just to find one person to hear their complaint about how much they hated walking uphill in the snow.

And don’t get my grandparents started on how bad they had it. My grandparents had to spend all day gathering wood just so they could light one fire and send smoke signals across the valley to let their neighbor know how much they hated the smell of smoke. Things were tough.

And when I was a kid we didn’t have video cameras on our phones and movie editing software on our laptops. if we wanted to make a movie, we had to use the family video camera and record on VHS tapes, and the editing was impossible, and none of us knew how to add sound effects or music, and we’d spend two weeks of summer vacation working on the movie before we would eventually lose interest, or lose Dad’s camera, whichever came first.

Last week my nine-year-old son The Fonz decided he wanted to run for VP of his elementary school. He thought he had to give a speech on Friday, but his mom reread the note on Tuesday night and realized the speech was the following morning. In place of a speech, The Fonz suggested making a movie trailer, and in less than an hour, he and his twelve-year-old brother made a movie that was ten times better than any movie I ever made as a kid. Or as an adult.

The Fonz won the election. But he has no appreciation of how easy he has it. When his grandparents were in school, they never voted on who got to be in student council. They only voted on who got eaten.


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Posted in: Family