Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yesterday and today, keeping up.

My, how times have changed things. Cell phones, computers, electronic games, electric cars and wind turbines are so common they don't elicit a second thought from most people. Record players, crystal radios, slide rules, mimeographs, carburetors and tinker toys are almost ancient history. New countries pop up overnight causing maps become irrelevant even as they are printed. Language too evolves at nearly light speed and words and their meanings change sometimes overnight. It's kind of difficult to keep up with all the changes. Particularly, for me anyway are the social and cultural differences so far removed from what I learned in school. Here are a couple examples from my high school classroom days.

In social studies the teacher described how the communists had the citizens bring their kids to a "government" provided day care. "That just goes to show you how much the communist government controls their people and take their freedoms away." She said.

All through junior and high school the hot topics of conversation most often surrounded sports, college prep, getting a part time job, practical jokes and cars. Girls were mixed in like seasoning.

In high school, getting into trouble usually involved being late, chewing gum in class, smoking in the bathroom, passing notes in class, running in the halls or squealing tires in the parking lot.

Most guys showed respect to the girls and did things like open doors for them, pay the check at restaurants, not swear around them and would almost die before passing gas in front of them. Girls flirted and giggled and mostly left it at that when they were with boys.

When fights broke out between the guys, as it sometimes did, it usually ended with a bloody lip, a bruised ego and if a teacher found out, detention. A couple of regular trouble makers were sent to "Juvy." (juvenile home)

About three or four times a year the entire high school had an "assembly" and a recent graduate would talk about his or her success due to their education. At least one was enlisted in the armed forces giving us local heroes to think about.

Being "nice" was considered a good thing, something to strive for in spite of raging hormones and unlimited innocent, youthful ignorance and stupidity. Even if we failed at it we admired it.

History will determine if today is better for us or yesterday was more beneficial. I just know that it's a interesting ride either way. There are advantages on both sides and it's good for some of us to step back and take a look at the differences from time to time. How far have we come?

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