Thursday, September 25, 2003

With my birthday approaching, people are starting to hassle me about my age. Here is the latest, sent to me by e-mail. What really hurts is that I remember all these things.

You know you're getting up there if you remember when:

* Your computer's ready-mode was a black screen with a single curser.
* Apple was bigger than Windows.
* Or should I say PCs, since for a while, there was no such thing as Windows.
* There was just "DOS."
* And they were called microcomputers instead of PCs.
* Contrary to free-market theory, your phone choices and bills were much easier because AT&T was a good old-fashioned monopoly.
* There was this amazing new video game called "Pong."
* And you thought it had the most advanced graphics imaginable.
* AOL was just another start-up online service that could easily have lost out to rivals called Compuserve and Prodigy.
* A 20-something guy named Dell came up with the nutty idea of selling computers by mail.
* Jane Fonda went from sex symbol, to feminist activist, to dutiful wife of a powerful man, to obscurity.
* And that powerful man was known not as Ted Turner founder of CNN - but "Blackbeard Among the Bluebloods" for winning the America's Cup while scandalizing Newport society with raucus behavior.
* And there was no question U.S. sailors would of course win the Cup - forever.
* It was called VD instead of an STD.
* The first true laptop computer was a Radio Shack TRS-80.
* And if you were hip, you referred to it affectionately as a TRASH-80.
* Burning a CD was the act of a pyromaniac.
* Sean Connery was Pierce Brosnan.
* The new walkaround phone that gave you astonishing mobility was a cordless one you could take around the house.
* And it got better reception than the one you can now take all over the country.
* Only wives got alimony.
* Steve Jobs ran Apple. I mean, the first time.
* There was a guy on 60 Minutes named Mike Wallace who was so old you figured he'd retire at the latest by 1990.
* TheMideast was simpler because Iran was run by a dictator called The Shah, who wanted power rather than Jihad.
* Mail was something you wrote on a piece of paper and put into a stamped envelope.
* And you didn't get 110 unsolicited pieces of it every morning promising to enhance your anatomical assets.
* No normal person had speakers on their computer.
* The diners at the next restaurant table were smoking cigarettes and you barely noticed.
* The only thing you knew about Robin Williams was he played a weird alien named "Mork" on television.
* A 1-gig hard drive seemed as big as a warehouse. (Today, most are 40-times that.)
* An 8-track tape the size of a paperback book was an advanced concept in compact music recording.
* Everyone knew what an LP was.
And now the final test of whether you're getting up there:
* Even though there are plenty of LPs in antiques stores, you still have 400 in your attic, because deep down, you still think the format will come back.
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