The things I knew back then, that I don’t know now


Quick… name a holiday that a store isn’t open.

Did you have to cheat? Did you have to resort to naming Christmas or Thanksgiving? And if you did… are you absolutely sure you’re right?

I go back… barely… to the days when stores were closed on Sunday because it was Sunday. I know that sounds silly. And in reality, it was silly. But it’s true. Closed on Sundays.

Welcome to my childhood. (Life was so much simpler then.)

My parents used to bring the kids to McDonald’s when we were young. The only real choice was hamburger or cheeseburger. We weren’t offered a Quarter Pounder or a Big Mac. I can’t say I even recall picking my drink… but on that, I always would have selected Coca-Cola, so I can’t be certain of being denied an option or just had smart parents that didn’t need to bother asking.

Hamburger or cheeseburger. That was it.

It was a part of my childhood where I didn’t have to question things. There were certain things I just knew. Things have changed as the years have passed.

…parking meters were to be used only until 6pm and never on Sundays

…stores were closed on Sundays

…hamburger or cheeseburger

Oh sure, there are other things. Most of them are best saved for another time. But for now, you get the idea. The world moves on, the world keeps changing, and often our decisions get more complex. What we knew to be true as kids is never completely true by the time we’re adults.

Douglas Adams had a great quote that I’ve heard often, and seen reworded on occasion. Goes like this in most cases: “I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies: 1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. 2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. 3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.” Works for me.

There’s a lot of truth in what Adams is saying. Kids today consider cell phones and the internet as if there has never in history been a need for phone booths and library reference desks. For those of us that remember some of the things from our youth, good luck finding a pay phone.

I listen to people talking about their finicky kids and I don’t get it. Kids were never that picky when I was younger… or were they? Of course, they probably were. At least on some level, and with some activities. Which, in turn means that the more things change the more they stay the same.

The other day I was driving around with Justin and he told me that I didn’t understand the world today. He said that the kids he went to school with weren’t like the kids I went to school with. In a way I understand what he means. The technology is different. The structure and organization is different. But it’s really just visual. An illusion. For my read on things, the kids are exactly the same… and as long as they are trying to drive cars and figure out how to get a beer (figurative examples), they always will be the same.

As a strange ending to this story, we found an amazing thing recently in California. In-N-Out Burger. The basics are essentially all they serve. Hamburger. Cheeseburger. Double-Double. Not too much thinking involved there. Biggest decisions might involve getting a shake.

Hamburger or cheeseburger.

The more things change…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the early days of the In My Backpack web site, I was trying several different ways to present material.

My journal entries were referred to as “A Momentary Lapse…” for a period of time, which eventually transitioned to “Are you chewing gum?” for a bit. After a few restarts, modifications, and relaunches, the Now Playing area took over.

One of occasional segments—appearing perhaps ten times a year or so—was called Random Thoughts, which I described as…

Too long for “A Momentary Lapse…”… Not enough for a full article… Need to get them off my “ideas to work on” list…

This essay was originally created and presented as a Random Thoughts entry. I’m bringing it back as a From the Backpack offering because I’m curious about the content and the effort. But, worth noting, it may still seem a bit incomplete, needing more development, and may or may not have gone through some additional edits and re-writes beyond my usual finds when searching the archives.


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