Matthew Arnold Stern -- Writer and Speaker Buy Offline today! Click here
Skip to the article

Humor: "When I Was Your Age..."

by Matthew Arnold Stern

Now that my oldest child is 14 and going to high school, it's time for that great tradition all parents of teenagers share. It's those "When I was your age..." sayings. Parents always like to tell their kids how much worse off they were so that the kids would feel guilty about how much they have. My mom grew up during the Depression and World War II, which was certainly the Greatest Generation when it came to handing down guilt to their children. Even though I grew up in the 1970s, there are still enough stories of deprivation I can use to irritate my kids.

"When I was your age, we didn't have..." "We had..."
PlayStation 3s, Nintendo Wiis, and XBox 360s... To walk five miles uphill in the snow in our bare feet to the video arcade to play Pac-Man on a machine so old that the maze patterns burned into the CRT. The ghosts were so faded, they almost look white. And if you ran out of quarters and the change machine wouldn't take your wrinkled, faded dollar bill, you were out of luck!
Cell phones Only one phone in the house, and it was attached to the wall and had a rotary dial. And you had only one choice for a telephone company. Ring tones? Riiiiing! That's your tone! And the phones only came in one color: beige!
Blogs To write on a bathroom wall if we had something meaningless we felt we had to share with everyone. And on your fancy Blogger site, could you replace the "x" in "Nixon" with a swastika? Bah! Didn't think so.
Comedy Central Saturday Night Live! The great Saturday Night Live with Gilda Radner and John Frickin' Belushi. Steven Colbert? Please! Chevy Chase can bring that psuedo-neocon bozo to his knees with one smirk.
YouTube To watch ABC if we wanted to watch inane crap.
iPods To drive a Datsun with a good AM/FM/8-track player if you want to take your tunes with you.
George W. Bush To elect Jimmy Carter if we wanted an incompetent president.
SUVs An 1972 Oldsmobile 98! We could fit eight Boy Scouts in the back seat and all their camping gear in the trunk. And gas mileage! Our 98 got 4 miles per gallon. You still want to complain about the Hummer H2?
Drug ads on TV Cigarette ads! Hard liquor ads! Junk food ads! All the habits that cause the diseases those advertised drugs are supposed to cure.
DVDs To watch a movie over and over again. You went to the 10:30 a.m. showing of Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, and you stayed in the theater until you were good and sick of it. And if you couldn't memorize the entire dialogue by the end of the day, you didn't watch it enough! So, you had to go back the next day until you could sing the entire chorus of "Summer Nights" by heart!
Starbucks Only one flavor of coffee: coffee! Nobody cared what it tasted like as long as it woke us up. It was 25 cents a cup with unlimited refills. And we were happy!

More Humor

20th Century Wrap-Up

Understanding American Politics

A Writer's Oath

Related Topics


Technical Writing Tips

Creative Writing Tips




Add to My Yahoo!
Matthew Arnold Stern
bio | articles
Subscribe to the Matthew Arnold Stern Newsletter

Powered by AuthorsDen
Google Entire Internet


Hosted by 1&1