Keeping Up With What’s Up

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January 20, 2012 by David Gillaspie

Before they crash

Kids growing up before WWII had toys you’d never think of.

A stuffed sock. A piece of string. A can. It was called the Great Depression, first for financial reasons, then psychological.

Those kids hooked string between cans for early cell phones. No texting.

If the string was long, they could move further apart to talk. If they couldn’t hear each other, they yelled, which was a throwback to the standard Oklahoma long distance.

After the war, toys changed from textiles to Tonkas. The toy trucks of the fifties were so heavy they could have been made out of recycled tank metal. Plastic wasn’t manly enough.

There was enough metal in those toys that if you melted a few of them you could skin a modern Toyota with their crumple-zoned aluminum foil thin bodies. Lean against a Kia fender and leave a dent.

The hep-cats of the early sixties grooved to their transistor radios and AM rock. ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ came out of a two inch speaker with equal part static, but it didn’t matter. It was freedom from the blonde cabinet hi-fi their parents used to cue up Mitch Miller.

Today’s smart phones are perfect for the communication styles of facebook, twitter, and linkedIn. See something funny? Take a picture and post it. Have an interesting idea? Tap it out.

The new of today is what we all expect, but will it stick?

Kids in the ninety’s had a few bright spots before video games took over.

Pogs were collectibles even though they look like they came from inside paper milk bottle caps. A milkman used to put bottled milk on your doorstep with the cap. Pop the pog out of the center, put the cap under your shirt and press the pog back in for a milky badge. Wear it the next time you saw the milkman and he gave you a free sample of chocolate milk.

Beanie Babies showed up and became a competition of who could gather the most. It turned grade school boys into doll collectors, but there’s worse things.


What would Depression-era kids call today’s wireless, plugged in, social networked world living in front of screen?

Anti-social? Or would they understand?

Ask your great-grandpa, then brace yourself.


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