I recently celebrated my brother’s seventh birthday at a magical place called Chuck E. Cheese’s. From the golden tokens being manually jiggled into their slots to the rogue skee-balls rolling around the floor to the kids pooling their tickets to buy matching jelly bracelets, the experience was reminiscent of birthday parties of yore. In fact, aside from someone finally determining the much-beloved ball pit was really just a colorful urinal, Chuck E. Cheese’s appears to be one of few childhood experiences untouched by time. It was fun to tell my brother I had the same birthday experience when I was his age.
But with the “dinner’s ready” text replacing the porch light flash and the personal gaming system replacing family game night and the iPad replacing everything else, it’s high time we update the “when I was your age stories.” (No one still believes that walked-to-school-in-the-snow-uphill-both-ways one anyways).Thus, “when I was your age”:
- Birthday party invitations came in an envelope
- Road trip entertainment consisted of coloring books and family sing-a-longs
- When you sent mail to someone, you could count on not having to hear back from them for at least a few weeks
- Having a roll of film developed was an expensive and exhilarating crap shoot
- You had to calculate and manually record your own bowling score
- Finding a Scrabble partner was an arduous task
- The only new TV shows on during the summer were Lifetime movies
- “Going to the library” was a common leisure activity
- Highways across America were littered with the tinsel-like remnants of cassette tapes
- You had to memorize everyone’s phone number
- The only electronics to fear being grounded from were a curling iron and crimper
- In order to play a game you had to be in the same room as your opponents
- When someone told you to “look it up” they were referring to an encyclopedia
- If you wanted to know if a boy liked you it required a hand-written multiple choice note
- Reading other people’s diaries was considered inappropriate
- Final versions of book reports were written using black ink, college-ruled paper, and sporadic splotches of white-out
- If you really liked a song on the radio you just had to keep on listening and hope for the best
- When you were done with a movie you had to rewind it or risk being fined
- “Posting” referred to the finger paintings, recipes, and photos on your refrigerator
- If something ran out of juice you had to go buy new batteries
It seems times are changing far faster in this generation than the last, and the “trials and tribulations” we went through as children don’t seem so rough until we’re explaining them to a kid who never had to learn cursive.
What “when I was your age” story can you add to the list?