Walking up to my townhouse today, I spied an errantly tossed Yellow Pages phone book lying askew on my front porch. As I do every year, I immediately grabbed it and tossed it in the recycle bin without even batting an eye. I thought to myself … how are the Yellow Pages still in operation? They are a relic … a dinosaur … they are the Commodore 64 of phone number retrieval. What’s next? An encyclopedia salesman on my doorstep?
It got me to thinking about all the other things that are wholly obsolete … like VCRs. Over the weekend I purged all of my old VHS tapes … tapes that cost me thousands upon thousands of dollars back in the day. (I did save one of ‘em, however. As much as I tried, I couldn’t bear to throw away my beloved copy of “Wayne’s World”.) I haven’t owned a VCR in years. Why I kept the tapes is beyond me. Posterity? Sentiment? I’d guesstimate that 75% of middle America hasn’t watched a VHS tape in years … and that the VCR is probably collecting dust somewhere in the family basement.
While traipsing through Target last week, I spied one of those pricey, new-fangled, blade-free fans. It was a simple, spherical contraption that looked both high-tech and high priced. (It wasn’t called a fan either, mind you … it was called an “air multiplier”.) I studied it for a white-hot minute … wondering how it worked. Fortunately, Target was smart and had one on display … and switched on. I enjoyed the cool breeze while thinking how sad it was that kids would never be able to talk directly in to an old-school box fan again to create that weird, futuristic, alien voice.
Time marches on.
Speaking of marching on … does anyone else miss maps? I have a map of the great state of Iowa in my car. I’ve never used it. It’s still neatly folded up and sealed in plastic. For whatever reason, I can’t bring my self to throw it away either. Maybe I’ll create one of those cherished keepsake boxes and put all my obsolete crap in it. I’ll probably put my Garmin GPS System in there eventually. I’m fairly acclimated to now using my smart phone for finding the most efficient route. Since I have zero sense of direction (other than “up” and “down”), I’m still not quite sure how I ever got from Point A to Point B without a GPS telling me to “TURN LEFT … NOW!”
And finally … remember pay phones? Of course you do. Remember the last time you used one? Of course you don’t. Something like 91% of the U.S. population has access to a cellular phone … thus, pay phones have gone the way of the Dodo bird. I did see one at the Iowa State Fair that appeared to be in working order. Kids would walk by and point … likely wondering what the hell it was. Adults would walk by and fondly smile.
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