Things My Kids Will Never Learn

Childhood for my kids differs from my own experience in a lot of ways.  They don’t have a swamp out behind the house for starters.  But the most critical difference is this: they aren’t burdened with the expectation that tomorrow will be anything like today.  As members of the first generation born on the other side of the Future Shock divide, they are bred for constant change.

Already, they could produce a long list of habits or technologies they loved that have become obsolete.  They are entirely accustomed to the notion that whatever they are using today will be worthless by sometime tomorrow afternoon.

We could fill a thousand pages discussing what’s wrong with that situation, but that’s where we live.  The only thing that will change it is a collapse on a 5th Century Western Roman scale – not entirely out of the question.  The only people pushing for that type of disaster are the Paul Boys and a few folks on the environmental left.  So long as those forces remain on the margins, this will be our reality.

How else will their world be different from mine?  Here are a few things I expect that my kids may never learn:

  • Why we use the word “dial” to describe calling someone on the phone
  • How to fold a map
  • How to make a collect call
  • What a pay phone is
  • How to use a paper encyclopedia or dictionary
  • What a vinyl record sounds like
  • How to tune in the UHF channels
  • The delicious joy of Saturday morning cartoons
  • How to attach pictures to that sticky stuff in a photo album
  • What Liquid Paper is for
  • How to record their favorite songs off the radio
  • Why you “roll up” a car window to close it
  • The way to carefully fast-forward to land at the start of a song
  • How to untangle a VCR tape that’s been “eaten” by the machine
  • The need to balance a checkbook
  • The fun of hanging out in a record store
  • The thrill of finding the neighbor-kid’s dad’s Playboy
  • How to write a letter
  • The joy of being loose in the neighborhood all day with no one standing over you
  • How to sit comfortably on a long ride in the bed of a pickup truck (don’t sit on the wheel-well!)
  • What a “B-side” is
  • How to read a  TV Guide
  • How to handle a newspaper without getting ink on your fingertips
  • What it’s like to get lost
  • What it’s like to be bored

What does this mean?  In spite of all they’re missing out on, maybe our kids will be in a better position than we are to hold their sanity as the already frantic pace of life continues to accelerate.  Maybe they will be better suited to adapt to the psychological demands of global capitalism.  There’s a chance that the things our kids don’t learn might save us all.

If we can avoid running this beautiful ship up onto the rocks for just a few more years, maybe there will be some help coming from a younger generation.

For now, I need to figure out what to do with this box of cassette tapes.

About Chris Ladd

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.
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1 Response to Things My Kids Will Never Learn

  1. Scott Erb says:

    Excellent. Though to be honest, I’ve never actually learned how to fold a map. Not that I haven’t tried.

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