Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nostalgia and all that rots (Quaint Part II)

Back before everyone had computers and cable television with all those channels, back before there was any such thing as cell phones and computer games, what the heck did we do?

once upon a win
more epic win

Remember Whee-Lo? Actually, I didn't remember the name of this toy, but I'd recently remembered it, for some odd reason. It's just a magnet on tracks. (If you want to see one in action, it's on YouTube, along with everything else.)

And, of course there was Etch-a-Sketch, which I could never do anything with. 3D was the only person I knew who was good at this.

once upon a win
more epic win

Remember Hands Down? And there was Battling Tops, Toss Across, Pick-up Stix, and Jacks. These, and many other board games, were pastimes that meant spending time with siblings and friends, face-to-face, laughing, joking, and sometimes having our little spats. It was the type of social interaction that comes naturally to our species, conversing and competing in the same light-hearted way that humans have for centuries.

Until now. Yes, young children still interact, but it seems that more and more, teenagers spend as much time interacting remotely as they do face-to-face. Since I do not have teenagers of my own, I was very much shocked to realize recently how addicted some young people are to texting each other. The chitter-chatter must be constant. As I sat outside yesterday (it was lovely here), I saw a young woman driving by who was obviously texting.

At my place of employment, we have been told repeatedly that cell phones are not to be at workstations; they are to stay in our purses, jackets, or whatever, but we are absolutely not allowed to be texting during work hours because it poses a security risk; it would be too easy for an employee to text a message or take a picture that contains personal information. However, my coworkers break this rule all the time. In fact, things got so bad recently that our regional manager insisted that all cell phones be simply handed over during work hours, with the understanding that anyone could collect her phone during breaks. Well. One of our youngest tellers had a FIT, while another tried to hide hers. Not only can they not live anytime without this toy, they are willing to challenge their supervisor about a simple rule they've been blatantly breaking. I'm speechless.

Whee-Los were actually pretty addictive, but obviously no comparison to what's going on here. And sure, I can spend hours reading blogs, but when I'm at work I can't, and somehow, that's not tragic.


TLP said...

You know what else is missing? Being able to enjoy hearing one's children interact while playing games. I used to overhear you guys playing board games and the banter was sweet to my ears.

Now even when kids are playing a computer game they are wearing headphones listening to music. The parents are shut out completely.

Tom & Icy said...

Before phone text message there was note text message on a sheet of notebook paper folded up very tightly and tiny. When I worked maintenance in a school and had to repair lockers for the kids, I'd open it and there were hundreds of those little folded notes falling out.

Bone said...

Well I know instead of online quizzes to tell me which Gossip Girl character I am, in middle school we made those little foldy paper fortune teller thingies where you'd pick a number and a color and it'd tell you who you'd marry and how many kids you'd have or something. I don't know what they were called, obviously.

Sean P. Farley said...

I can't remember any games when I was a kid! I was a kid of the early 80s...Hungry-Hungry-Hippo! MouseTrap. Chutes & Ladders. But that was also the era of Atari and arcades, so PacMan was a must have. Sigh. Now I'm a slave to this dang computer. p.s. I notice on your shelfari you have "The Secret History" That is on of my FAVORITE books!! I've read it half a dozen times. Did you read The Little Friend? Not as good, but good.

Nessa said...

My neice and her boyfreind text eachother all of the time and they are sitting right next to eachother when they do it. They use it like whispering secrets.

Ariel the Thief said...

I used to have what you call "Etch-a-Sketch". It was great. I kept drawing naked men and women (never boys and girls), and enjoyed because I did bad, then deleted before anybody saw. Hah!

Forgetful Librarian said...

Thanks for the fun post...I still enjoy Pick-up Stix!

sharazad said...

So that's what that thing is called- a Wheel-o!
I never played with one, but I've seen them.
I am a child of the nineties so I feel nostalgic for video games- remember N64 and the old green-screen gameboys?
Good times...