“Hey Dad. What do you call this?”
“It’s a telephone.”
At what point do you begin to realize that your passing the torch to the next generation? You know, when is it that you realize that your generation is no longer the youngest kids on the block and it dawns on you, that just like every generation that came before yours, you’re being replaced by a younger, sweeter, perhaps more arrogant, wide eyed group of newcomers who have no idea how you managed through the ancient times that you grew up in?
One of the first big signs that your youth is slipping away is when actual kids, people considerably younger than you, start looking at you with a confused look when you talk about perfectly common things from your childhood. And the kicker is that they really have no idea of what you’re talking about. When the next generation of babies start not being babies anymore and they start becoming the little people who are amazed when they hear stories of your childhood, as if you’re telling them about mid-evil times, that’s a sign that tells you that eternal youth is actually not eternal and you’re getting, dare I say it, …. old. There’s no wake-up call like when a kid says “What’s this?” about something from your generation.
My grandchildren have been raised on iPhones. I don’t mean that they sit on their phones all day gaming or spend hours on social media. I mean that the phones that they have known for their entire short lives have been iPhones. They do their video chats with grandparents and friends and they do a little gaming and maybe a bit more of whatever their parents allow them to do. But it’s always been on a phone that has a miniature TV screen that plays movies, along with an entire music collection, hi-tech video games, a library of pictures of their entire lives since the day that they were born, apps that do all kinds of stuff, and the internet, just in case they need to do some sort of looking up stuff.
Not long ago my eight year old granddaughter realized that they had this Vonage thingy on the counter and she asked if she could call someone on it. So, her dad dialed up his Mom and handed his daughter the phone and she began to chat up a storm and wander around the house like she was all that. Then in mid-conversation she turned to her father and said, “Dad. What is this thing called?” He looked at her with a blank look on his face and said, “It’s a telephone.” Then she promptly informed her grandmother that she was talking on a… “telephone.”
A couple days later, she called me and proceeded to wander around the house and talk on the “telephone” and she continued to be quite impressed with herself and how easily she adapted to such an archaic device. And when I told her that telephones used to be attached to the wall with a chord, well, she was blown away. I told her to look it up on the internet on the iPhone and she could see pictures of it. I could envision what she looked like as she imagined talking to her friends and relatives and without being able to wander through the house or stroll out into the yard to show me the hole that she and her brother had dug in the flower garden.
So, here’s the news flash to my thirty something year old kids. Your children are confused about how you used to have a phone that could not play music or movies or video games and it had buttons that made funny little beeps every time you pushed one and it made a brrrrrrrrr sound before you made your call. It’s the beginning of the end now. Your youth is fading. It won’t be long before they start rolling their eyes at the corny things you say or shake their heads when they hear you talking about the good ole days when you used to…..
Ponder it for just a minute. Your eight year old didn’t understand what a cordless phone was. That’s the poetic justice you get for calling me an old man twenty-five years ago.