I was thinking today how different things are for kids, than they were when I was growing up in the 1970s. Specifically, I was thinking about how spoiled they are.
I know, I know, you’re saying to yourself, “There you go sounding like an old man!”…but hear me out.
Today, while I was on the computer, my son ALSO wanted to be on the computer.
Did he have to wait his turn?
He simply grabbed my iPad, and jumped on. And if he didn’t have that, he could have used the iPod Touch, or my daughter’s netbook.
But we didn’t even have computers.
Then, while he was playing the Wii, my daughter wanted to also play a game.
Did she have to wait her turn?
She simply reached for her Nintendo DS, and was off for a jaunt in the gaming world too.
We had Atari.
We had to wait our turn.
And our characters in the game were squares. Not in the “not cool” sense of the word square; they were literally a fuckin’ geometric shape.
Do you see how hard we had it?
We were being attacked by deformed letters of the alphabet, and we LOVED that shit!
Never once did you hear us say “The graphics on this are kinda weak.”
A FUCKIN’ Q!!!!
But all this thinking had me remembering “Ms. Harvey”.
Who was Mrs. Harvey, you ask?
Oh, you didn’t ask?
Well I’m telling you anyway.
Ms. Harvey was a woman who lived across the street from us, on Upland St. in Chester, PA.
To the best of my recollection, she was 128 years old, and had NEVER been married.
I was NOT a fan.
If I close my eyes, I can still feel it all in my bones.
A hot Summer day in Chester, the coolness of the indoors as the window unit air conditioner was cranking away at full blast, and the smell of my Grandmother’s Pasta Fagioli in the air.
Everything was PERFECT in the world, as I sat in front of the TV watching my afternoon blast of “Speed Racer”, which led into “The Space Giants” on Channel 48 from Philadelphia.
But then, a faint knock comes to the door. My mind, knowing that knock and knowing the punishment I would endure if said knock was answered, begins pleading with the cartoon gods to not let my Grandmother hear the person at the door.
But alas….it never went that way for me.
Ms. Harvey would enter our home like royalty.
There were rules, you see.
First, I was to be presented to Ms. Harvey, at which point I would answer a barrage of questions, usually pertaining to what I learned in school, or whether or not I had spent too much time in front of the television today.
The television, that was now turned off.
You see, that was another rule.
When Ms. Harvey would enter our home, she would immediately say “You know that television isn’t to be on when Ms. Harvey is here, Joseph.”
And my family….like cult members responding at the behest of their leader, would INSTANTLY hit the power button.
By the way, if you’ve lived a century, and never landed a man, you don’t get to refer to yourself in the third person.
But the prelude to all of this was the worst part.
You see, upon my being presented to Ms. Harvey, she would kiss me on the cheek.
Seems harmless, right?
Well you’re wrong.
As it were, Ms. Harvey had a considerable amount of “peach fuzz” all over her face that she had been cultivating since The Great Depression, and we had shag carpeting….as dictated by proper 1970′s protocol.
When she would plant her wrinkled lips on my cheek….”ZAP!!!!!”, I would get to enjoy the biggest static shock ever.
I swear, I think that old bird used to come by just to get an electrical fix to keep her ticker going!!!
And then, I had to sit there, and enjoy Ms. Harvey’s dissertations about how terrible these times we were living in were, for what seemed an eternity.
I didn’t have another TV to go watch, because we only had one.
I didn’t have a portable gaming system to fight the letter Q on, because they were the stuff science fiction movies were made of in the late 70′s.
So what’s my point in all this?
Fuck these kids today.
Fuck Ms. Harvey’s electricity.
And Fuck the letter Q, AND the shape known as a square.
I need a drink.