Off Topic

I think, therefore I harm

I’m Old

Diskette

My very first MP3, illegally downloaded from college, filled three of these

A recent poll showed a decrease in interest of the young people regarding the question of Québec’s sovereignty, a group which was historically in majority in favor for such a split. In the context, the young people were described as being 18-35 years old. According to this, I have just turned old.

This week, I turned 36. I’m old. Well I don’t have gray hair, nor any excess hair in places I didn’t before. However, I recently disconnected my TV because there was nothing good anymore. I know none of the songs on the top-10, and can’t barely name any popular artist, other than Justin Bieber and… well… I was never much a card or board game player, but I’d rather play poker than get anywhere with too much noise or people. I drink just a couple of beers and regret it in the morning.

I remember the time when I thought of a 30-something as an old person, someone who didn’t know how to have fun, someone who had nothing to talk about but money and politics. I thought I would never change, I wouldn’t age like that. That’s where I am now, in that age group I once thought as old.

cassette-pencil

Kids will never figure the link between these

Back in the days, I had a lot of projects and a lot of time, but no motivation. Now I still have a lot of projects, some motivation, but no time at all.

I am not young anymore, but according to several unofficial sources, I’m not yet middle aged. Some dictionaries and organizations describe middle age as 40 to 60, others from 45 to 65. The US Census includes everyone from 35 to 54. Apparently, there is no consensus regarding what age is middle age. Where am I?

Policemen and teachers look so young now. Pregnant women look too young to bear a baby. Even politicians don’t look as old as they did.

rotary-phone

I know where the word dial comes from

I remember the arrival of Japanese subcompact cars and the two-point seat belts in the back seats. I remember when the Pentium was a novelty, and recently laughed at a joke concerning its floating-point flaw. I saw Back to the Future at the drive-in. I used 8-track tapes, vinyl discs, cassettes and CDs. I remember how the walkman would play slower as the non-rechargeable batteries became weak, and how the discman wasn’t actually a portable device, and how you could rewind a cassette with a pencil. I remember diskettes when one megabyte was still a huge storage size. I remember when video games were challenging and you only had three lives. I remember when cartoons were funny and always ended with a moral. I saw the Challenger explosion live on TV. I remember phones with a cord, and even what it was like to dial a number before the touch-tone. I remember when people only had to tell you the last four digits of their phone numbers, and when we actually memorized phone numbers. I remember when my pager made me worthy of respect. I used phonebooks, TV guides and folded road maps.

How old are you?

atari-2600

This was the gaming console. It beats your PlayStation or Xbox. The second joystick was included and it came with Pac-Man, and later Ms. Pac-Man. The Atari 2600 first appeared on the shelves in 1977. Remaining the most selling console well into the late 80s, it was discontinued in 1992. A console that led the market for almost 15 years, beat that Microsoft!

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7 comments on “I’m Old

  1. Steve Morris
    April 24, 2014

    I am ten years ahead of you, but I feel the same. I expect to feel exactly the same in another ten years, but I won’t look the same.

    People in their thirties don’t usually look old. People in the forties sometimes do. People in their fifties almost always do. My advice is to start fighting the ageing process now by eating well and exercising.

    But be sure to enjoy every moment of life.

    • Tom Duhamel
      April 24, 2014

      Oh, my post was half sarcasm 🙂 I’m not physically old. Actually, people are surprised when they learn of my age, because I look quite younger. It’s more in my head that I feel old. I realize how much I’ve changed when I look back, all I went through… The majority of my employees/colleagues are much younger, many in their early 20s. Listening to them and getting lost, makes me feel so old. Like when they talk about some popular music, which I don’t even know of, or when they mention old technologies, which they have heard of but never saw, and I realize wait, how could you not know about it? that was only… oh yeah you weren’t even born. The 90s are to them what the 70s are to me, a mythological period.

      Thanks for commenting Steve 🙂

  2. sledpress
    April 24, 2014

    When I got my first library card, Eisenhower was still President of the United States. I remember when cars didn’t HAVE seat belts. I remember when “stereos” only had turntables to play vinyl LPs. I remember black and white televisions with ten-inch screens, and drugstores with decals on the door saying “It’s KOOL inside,” a marketing gimmick from Kool menthol cigarettes, common because at that time the drugstore might be the only place on the block with air conditioning.

    But I am still beaucoup badass and can run rings in the gym around guys 15 years younger.

    • heretherebespiders
      April 24, 2014

      That’s because you are totally bad-ass.

    • Tom Duhamel
      April 24, 2014

      Reagan is the president I remember, when I became old enough to understand the concept (not that I remember how he ruled how his politics).

      As a child, I actually had a B&W television in my bedroom. I forgot to mention this one. As a teen, that TV moved to the shed in the backyard, which was furnished as a small living room, so we could bring friends there (we were watched so there would be no alcohol, drug or sex there). When I moved out of my parents to get to college, I brought that TV with me, and that’s what I used for maybe two years. I don’t remember what happened to it, but as far as I remember it was still working the last time I used it. It was likely a decade old when it came into my possession, and I used it for probably another decade.

      When I began smoking, you could buy smokes in drugstores, but that eventually became illegal. I too remember the cigarette advertisement. They were banned here in the late 90s I believe. I remember the ads were mostly centered around freedom and great air (go figure). I like the KOOL ad that you mention… menthol… air conditioning… Probably didn’t get here because using English words isn’t Kool here.

      Ah! You’ll probably keep pulling weights at the age of 112! 🙂

      Thanks for commenting, Mademoiselle 🙂

  3. heretherebespiders
    April 24, 2014

    I’m rather surprised you are six years younger than I, and still had 8-tracks. I’m with you on all points but the 4-digit phone number. But there were only a few local 3-did it prefixes, so I knew what it was if you lived in my town or the next one over.

    Little typo at the start – poll, not pool.

    Happy belated birthday!

    • Tom Duhamel
      April 24, 2014

      I didn’t actually owned any 8-track. My father had quite a large collection of these though. At home, he had a lot of vinyls too (which I could only approach with close supervision), but he would bring several 8-track cassettes in the car. I wouldn’t surprise to find that he still has them somewhere in his basement. I remember how it didn’t have any clear beginning or ending, it would just play from whatever point you had left before and continue to play infinitely.

      I lived most of my childhood in small places, in rural areas (villages, really). You really only had to tell the last four digits, because the first three ones were the same for several villages, or an entire small city. It couldn’t obviously work in you lived in larger cities, because 4 digits only allows for 10,000 different phone numbers, which by definition doesn’t fit in a larger city. For a time back then, you could even dial only the last four digits, and the system would understand you were trying to reach someone in the same area as you were. There would be a slight delay to see if you were going to dial more numbers, so if you needed to call a longer number you had to dial it in one shot, as a short delay would get you to the wrong place.

      With phone numbers, which were previously owned by an entire family, but now moved to be a personal number, this kind of scheme doesn’t work anymore, obviously. Even area codes aren’t as clear as they were before. A decade ago, people would raise an eyebrow if you gave a phone number that didn’t match your address. I have a Mtl island number even though I live off the island, and nobody even notice anymore. When the long distance era finally comes to an end, you will move to the other side of the continent and keep the same number.

      “Typo” corrected 🙂

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This entry was posted on April 24, 2014 by in Personal and tagged , .
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