Ramblings About Getting Old (Before I Forget)

Today is my birthday.  Before I forget, I should write something about getting old.

I won’t tell you how old I am, but I will give you a hint.  By some forms of twisted logic, I should get twice as drunk tonight as I did on my 21st birthday, the first night that I could legally drink in the USA.  

For my youngest known readers, I offer the following reflections about life in the old days.

When I was your age:

1.  There were only 3 channels on the TV, and you had to get up off the sofa and walk all the way across the living room to change the channels.

2.  If you wanted to play “Space Invaders” on your home computer, you had to type in the BASIC code yourself, on the keyboard which was part of the computer, not a separate attachment.  Then you had to load the software using your Cassette Drive, which took even longer than booting up Windows. 

But you were really happy when the new version of the computer came out and it had 48 Kilobytes of RAM.

3.  All that stuff you are reading about at the end of the US history book was really happening.  Speaking of this, I was listening to a teenager who had strong political opinions.  He was telling me that Jimmy Carter wasn’t such a bad President.  I gently reminded him which of us was alive when Jimmy Carter was president.

4.  Michael Jackson was black, and male.

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17 thoughts on “Ramblings About Getting Old (Before I Forget)

  1. Happy Birthday,

    add 9 to that

    1. still applied, unless you count the snowy channels from across the lake.

    2. “Pong” from Atari was the rage – a computer was something you found in the Gemini space capsule. i doubt it had 48 Kilobytes.

    3. Jimmy Carter was just another peanut farmer.

    4. wasn´t he the little on on the Jackson Five? and they were all male.

  2. I for one am glad you are as old as you are because I can now benefit from the wisdom you’ve gained over the years. Our church has been extremely blessed to have you as an elder.

    And look on the bright side: you are the only elder that’s not going bald. That has to count for something. 😉

    Happy Birthday!

  3. Happy birthday! I’m only a few months older than you, but when I was 21, the legal drinking age in Arkansas was 18.

    1. We had four channels — NBC was 4, ABC was 7, CBS was 11, and… oh dang, I can’t remember it, the one that Sesame Street and Mr Rogers was on, was channel 2. We had a big black and white TV that had a channel-changer — it was a little contraption with three prongs of a tuning fork inside of it, and there was one key above each prong. You’d press the key and it would CLICK and you’d hear the tuning fork go “Sproinnnnnng” and depending on which one you clicked you either turned the volume up or down one notch, or you turned the channel up to the next one. Oh yeah. PBS was the fourth channel. 😛 Oh, yes, and the networks went off the air at 10:30 after the ten o’clock news, except that one station had a “Horror Classic” movie on Friday night — old Frankenstein and Dracula movies and that kind of thing, and went off the air after that. When they were off, they had a black and white picture of an Indian head that showed until they came back on the next morning. The other channels just had a test pattern of colors (we had a color TV too, but it didn’t have a “channel-changer;” we didn’t say “remote” back then).

    2. We played Lemonade Stand on my daddy’s Apple. It was an all-text game. I don’t remember when we were finally able to play graphics games, like Brick Out and Space Invaders.

    3. We had a mug that was in the shape of a peanut, with farmer boots on and a big, disgusting Jimmy Carter smile on it. My brother and I never drank from it unless we were pretending that by doing so we’d somehow drain the life from that man.

    4. LOL! Priceless.

  4. Adiel, he’s also the only guy on my side of the family who isn’t bald. A dad and four brothers, all with shiny domes — it’s nice to have a handsome husband with a full head of hair (even if I do tease him about the color now and then.)

  5. I do hope this image shows up!! Why did you NOT tell me on the chess site yesterday!! Shame on you….!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! May you be blessed… with many more…hope you’ve had a good time!!

  6. Happy day +1!

    I’m about a year and a half younger than you. In the big city we had 5 channels — 3 big networks, PBS, and the best — the independent channel 45 (now Fox, I think), which had Captain Chesapeake and reruns of shows like Hogans Heroes. We could also usually get 20 — D.C.’ indy station — and sometimes their other networks, too.

    And am I right in suspecting that twice as drunk as your 21st birthday would also be just as drunk?

  7. Valerie,
    You would be right about that. I have never been outright drunk in my entire life, although there may have been a time or two during my college years that I would have failed a breathalyzer. As far as I can remember, on my 21st birthday I did not have a single alcoholic beverage.

  8. The third one didn’t work, but the other two have restored my faith in you! LOL! They’re really cute.

    Valerie — here’s the funny thing — he says he doesn’t remember. BUT, that’s because he doesn’t recall marking the occasion in any specially alcoholic way at the time.

    We were almost-engaged by his 21st birthday, and I don’t’ remember what he did, either. (Then again, we were both still attending separate colleges so maybe he did something with his buddies.) It’s possible that twice as drunk as he was that day would be a little bit tipsy, though.

  9. 😉 very weird… I would say… that pic of the image was supposed to be at the end of the video…don’t know why it doesn’t show…but that’s why I asked for the particular order…see it in your mind… 😉

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