Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I'm Glad It Didn't Exist In 1966

I would like to share with you the things that I am glad did not exist when I was in college, which I began in September of 1966. This idea was brought to me by a recent reseeing of the film Play It Again, Sam. This is what I said in my Amazon review of it: "I am amazed how well this 1972 romantic comedy holds up. I haven't seen it in decades and expected it to be awful. but the comic team of Allen and Keaton were very bright, young and funny. Herbert Ross directed it from Woody Allen's play. Ross was well known for romantic movies with strong female leads. Essentially Woody Allen is a complete nerd type who is terrible with women. His best friends are Tony Roberts and Keaton who are a married couple. As they fix Allen up with one disastrous blind date after another, Allen and Keaton fall in love. He is aided along by visitations by the ghost of Bogie. it is a delight.

Much comedy is made of Tony Roberts as a business man who is addicted to the phone. Everywhere he goes, he calls his office to leave a series of phone numbers where he will be able to be reached all night. In 1972 he would have been considered a phone addict. By today's standards, he is brief and to the point. Other people around him rarely use the phone at all so he stands out. No one would notice him today as he would simply be yet another person who spends most of his day and night on his cell phone."

So yes, cell phones and a number of other things, I am just as glad I missed and while I was going through my hours long retina eye testing this morning at the Eye Center, I began listing what they are. My list follows.

Cell Phones  Although I love everything computer, I would have hated being available walking around campus, hanging out for a pizza, sitting out on the quad or going to and fro from my classes. It would have been invasive in the extreme. Who in the hell wants to waste their college years being on the phone?

Genetic Testing  It is bad enough being overly focused on my health now. To focus on my disease future in my college years would have ruined the entire experience.

Diet  People were just beginning to experiment with vegetarian diets but you did not face a veritable onslaught of information about food bad for you every time you ate the food you'd grown up on at home. You were not presented with a laundry list of bad food to avoid by everyone you met.

Exercise  Most college kids only had access to the same sports they'd done at home. You had to be on a team to do anything more strenuous than walk, bike and swim. We were expected to walk to all of our classes on our hilly campus and it was amazing how sufficient that was.

STDs  Very few college students had an STD and they were ones that generally were not fatal. If they did have one, it was tested and treated in most cases. AIDS did not exist. Cancer from HPV as an STD occurring later in life did not exist. 

Religion  The chief religions were Protestant, Catholic and Jewish. There were campus clubs for each group if you wished to join.  Most did not. We knew no one of any strident, militant or violent religion the entire time we were on campus. No one worried about a bomb being left in the quad or a dorm or a classroom.

Global warming    Didn't exist so didn't think about it. As I freeze this winter in the extreme cold, I wish I could return to not knowing about it. Even worse, it is one of these red state v. blue state issues.

Fracking   Didn't exist because there was plenty of oil and it was cheap. Now we are being forced to rip apart our own land to get energy any way we can.

Medical Care   covered at home, covered at college.  everyone else was covered too. never thought about not getting medical care.

Jobs  assuming you were not going to Vietnam, there were so many jobs. Some fields were so critically understaffed that people without the proper degrees were hired. I got a teaching job with having a degree NOT in education.

Entitlements  These had just come into existence for the big groups of people. Since people who got the serious diseases, DIED of them, no one worried about too many people living so long as to drain those programs. Most people we knew with heart and cancer problems died of them. So no worry about entitlements.

Middle East   We knew there was the new state of Israel and that there were Arab countries there too. We knew there was a lot of oil in some of those Arab countries. We knew those countries warred against one another.  If we knew Jewish students, they wanted to go to Israel. Since we didn't know any Arab students, no one expressed any interest in going there.  We knew Muslims were in that corner of the world but we didn't really know much more.  We left them alone and they left us alone. We were all happy in our mutuality of ignoring one another. I liked knowing that little.

Student Loans  State Universities were within a middle class family's price range back then. If your parents could not afford to do an out of state school or a private school, you went to the in state school. The best students competed for scholarships but then you had to have need to qualify. The end result was that the only people who involved the government with their schooling were veterans who were using their VA free college benefit. I never met anyone who was on a student loan in college. i did know some students who were tight on money who lived at home and went to the state university in our city. The end result was that no one left college with huge student loans. 

I thought in all fairness that you should see Jim's phablet, a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. It is an android based combo cell phone and tablet and he lives with it 24/7.  I have never seen him fall in love with a piece of electronics quite like he has with this one.

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