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Archive for July, 2011

The jig is up. I’ve been found. My cover is blown. Not by the FBI, CIA, or NSA. Those guys nabbed me a long time ago, but that’s another story for another time. Thanks to the power of Facebook I’ve been discovered by the secret society of the OLMC. (My grammar school classmates from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Class of 19XX.) Yep, all those people who knew me before I became this well-preserved collection of vast experience and purveyor of wisdom. It’s hard to believe that I once was a geeky, shy bundle of pre-pubescence and now, well, look at me! I’ve traded the oval glasses for contact lenses. I can drive a car. And speaking two languages is now considered a good thing. I so evolved from my days in Catholic school where I fondly remember my old 1st grade teacher Sister Carol Anne Mary Helen Catherine Eileen Teresa … wait. Where was I? Oh…

All this reconnecting got me to reminiscing about those formative years, when the nuns carried thick rulers just as corporal punishment was ever so slowly being phased out. There was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Internet. They were simply the “good ol’ days” when life was just a little simpler.

It was a time when there were no pocket-sized devices that carried every piece of literature, newspaper, and cinematic masterpieces all stored in 1.33 ounces of metal and plastic. We were pre-adolescent pack mules lugging over a dozen text books that weighed about 20 pounds each and we walked five blocks which seemed like five miles to school and back.

It was a time when 4G meant writing G G G G in script on the blackboard until you looped your loops in accordance to the established guidelines of Parochial school penmanship.

It was a time when if we were even remotely inclined to spread juicy gossip with our BFFs, there was no texting that arrived to the intended person in milliseconds. We had to, first, memorize a series of seven alpha-numeric characters, then wait until we got home, and dial. And if we got a busy signal we had to wait a little while and do it all over again and again until we got through. And if no one was home the phone just rang and rang and rang and rang and we had to sit around and wonder for hours where everybody was. By the time we finally connected, we forgot what we wanted to say. Problem solved. No gossiping.

It was a time when there were only a few superheroes and their powers merely consisted of being faster than a speeding bullet, discharging gimungus sticky substances from their wrists or wearing a mask and a tool belt that carried cool little gizmos that did neat stuff.  Our family car was a beat up used (er, I mean pre-owned) Chevy, which served as transportation for us and our aunts and uncles, and their children, and the neighbor across the hall and her children (sometimes all at the same time). It never transformed into a really big scary robot from outer space on a mission to save humanity from global destruction.

It was a time when the term playing didn’t mean sitting in front of a high-def flat screen as our CGI-generated avatars, who are way hotter than we could ever dream of being, jump out of airplanes and swim across crocodile-infested waters while we, in the real world, simply exercise our eye-thumb coordination and sip on a slurpee. Playing meant getting scrapes and bruises on our knees and elbows and occasionally having to be rushed to the Metropolitan Hospital emergency room to get stitches because we ate greasy potato chips just before trying out a tricky Olga Korbut routine on a playground apparatus way before rubber padding was invented. (It was an unfortunate monkey bar incident. She was my hero. I don’t want to talk about it.)

It was a time when changing the channel meant you actually had to stand up … and walk across a room … and turn a dial to one of only 4 or 5 channels. AND if you wanted to see a crisp picture someone had to manipulate two metal wires, one of which may, or may not have a small piece of aluminum foil wrapped at the tip. And sometimes that person (usually me) had to stay perfectly still in an uncomfortable posture while holding aforementioned metal wires, to prevent loss of signal lest my father missed his favorite ball player about to pitch a no-hitter.

It was a time when creating a playlist consisted of placing a tiny pin needle on just the right groove in a vinyl album and then hitting the “play” and the red “record” button at the same time on a dusty tape deck while praying for a limited amount of hisses and scratches. It was also a time when if you couldn’t spend your allowance money on the latest Donny Osmond single, you simply taped the song directly from the radio.  (Yes, I was a fan of the Osmonds. I don’t want to talk about it.)

Yep. Those were the, uh, good ol’ days, alright. Sure as hell miss ‘em alright.

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