Kids intrigued by life in the olden days — for a few minutes

One of the perks of belonging to an older generation is the bragging rights earned over Generation W.

Generation Whippersnapper has to accept on faith the claim that life was tough — oh, was it ever — back in the olden times. “Yes, sonny, by crikey, I remember when video games were controlled with a four-direction joystick and a single button.”

“Really, Grampa?”

“There was even a time, stretching back, like forever, when there were no video games at all, and people had to play canasta. They would sit on their front porches — houses used to have front porches — and complain about the communists.”

“What were the communists, Grampa?”

“They were people who lived in a faraway land working for the overthrow of capitalism by churning out lies in their propaganda mills and building death ray generators on hilltops. But their evil plans never worked quite right and they ended up clutching capitalism to their own impious breasts. Now look at ’em. A sorry sight. It’ll be a hundred years before they know the first thing about making a decent pair of jeans.”

“How long did it take you to walk to school, Grampa?”

“How long? Hours, that’s how long. It took hours. And since electronic calculators weren’t part of the picture then, we had to learn arithmetic, by jigger.

“And I’ll tell you something else — when our shoes wore out, we kept wearin’ ’em till they wore out some more, and then we wore ’em for a while after that.

“Folks seemed to be happier in their misery back then. Course, that was before they started putting chlorine in the water and fooling around with D and A. …

“Now where did that fool child run away to? I haven’t told him about the time I was kidnapped by aliens.”

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