by Kim Van Sickler
A long-ago memory from 1976. I'm thirteen years old and think I know everything. The nation is celebrating it's bicentennial and Mom infuriates me by referring to my "boyfriend" as "my little friend" as if he's a midget. Despite the teenage angst, I think we've got it pretty good in my upper middle class home in the suburbs.
|Kim in 1976 (center)|
Dad built a rec room in the basement where I go to veg and watch TV. I can choose from NBC, ABC, CBS or the one VHF channel, and tune in Saturday morning for cartoons, after school until about six when all the channels switch to news, and in the evenings until eleven when they switch back to news again. The best though, is watching Houlihan and Big Chuck host the late Friday night movies that come on after the news. Babysitting is always more fun watching these guys.
|Houlihan (left) and Big Chuck host the Cleveland-area Friday night movie.|
Dad's bought the entire Encyclopedia Britannica set so when I need to write a paper for school my reference materials are right there! If I have to go to the library, I know how to use the card catalog to find what I'm looking for. My handwriting is pretty good. Teachers have always bugged my about my death grip on my pens and pencils and my writing comes out loopy and backhanded, but it's legible. Everyone can read it when I write letters, or essays, or turn in my homework.
Doing homework is always easier with tunes. I have lots of record albums I play on my turntable to set the mood I want. I've memorized many of those songs like Aerosmith's "Dream On", Queen's "You're My Best Friend", Elton John's "Someone Saved My Life Tonight", and Peter Frampton's "Baby I Love Your Way".
Life can't get any more advanced, can it?
Well, imagine how blown away I was one night at dinner when my dad, an electrical engineer working in the product planning area for General Electric, starts talking about "the future" and how technology will render everything that we hold cutting-edge to be obsolete within our lifetimes. "It's happened to me," Dad tells us. "It'll happen to you too."
No way. I actually argue that of course things had changed for him what with the advent of TV, rock-and-roll music, and the space program, but that we've arrived at full-blown civilization since then. Technology can't get any more advanced than it is in 1976.
Embarrassing how wrong I was. My thirteen-year-old self could not comprehend computer technology, the Internet, cell phones, two hundred TV channels, CDs, You Tube, rap performed by the likes of Childish Gambino, or video games like Grand Theft Auto.
I've been reading in my Entertainment Weekly magazine about the recent Comic Con Convention in San Diego. That's where all the fantasy TV shows and movies go to plug their offerings and try and generate excitement. If Comic Con existed thirty-six years ago and produced a movie about my life today, I would have marveled at the creativity. I never would have believed such a world would come to pass. I have lived, what to me then would have been considered pure science fiction, and I've still got a long way to go.
Live long and prosper.