Wednesday, December 21, 2011


     As I headed out to check my mailbox, I saw little Davy Goldner and his cousin Phillip fighting on the sidewalk.
     “Good afternoon,” I said, walking over and breaking up their feud. “What’s going on with you young fellas?”
     “Hello sir,” said Davy. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is on TV tonight and we both want to watch it.”
     I knelt down on one knee to match their height. “Well that doesn’t sound like anything to argue about.”
     “But it’s past our bedtime and we have to watch it the next day,” said Phillip. “Davy says we should Tivo it, but I think we should just download it from the internet.”
     “Tivo is higher resolution,” said Davy.
     “Is not!” Phillip shoved him.
     “Is too!” Davy shoved him back.
     “Whoa, whoa!” I pushed the two boys apart with my hands to calm them down. “I think you young men need to appreciate the conveniences you have these days. When I was your age, we didn’t have Tivo or the internet.”
     “Did you have to watch all your shows on DVD?” asked Phillip.
     “You’re a dummy,” said Davy. “They didn’t have DVD either. They used big black tapes. I know because my daddy has a box of them in the attic.”
     I laughed. “We had videocassettes when I was older, Davy, but most of my life we didn’t have them either.”
     Phillip scratched his head. “So how did you watch anything?”
     “Well,” I said. “We had a book called TV Guide, and it told you when everything was on that week. If there was a show you wanted to see, you had to plan to be in front of the TV when it aired. And if you missed it then tough luck.”
     “No way!” both of the children’s eyes were wide with disbelief.
     I nodded. “It’s true. And Christmas specials like Rudolph only came on once a year. If you couldn't watch them when they played then you had to wait a whole year before you could see them again.”
     “That bites!” said Phillip.
     “Sure does,” agreed Davy. “It sounds like we have it easy.”
     “That’s big of you to say, Davy” I patted him on the shoulder. “Back when I was a kid, the only possible way to see a movie whenever I wanted was to ask my father to buy me a 35mm film print and order our butler Nigel to project it for me in our home theater. Of course, that was only convenient in the winter, because the theater in our summer home had a very small screen that I was embarrassed to show my friends. My father could be so cheap sometimes.”
     A car horn honked from behind me. I turned to see Nigel leaning his elderly head out the window of my limousine.
     “Are you ready to return, sir?” he asked.
     “I’m coming, hold your horses!” I told him, then turned back to the children. “Just remember guys, you have an easy life. I really had to suffer when I was your age.”
     And with that, I picked up my mail and took my seat in the back of the limo so Nigel could chauffer me back up the driveway to the east wing of my family estate. It felt good to have imparted a sense of value into those spoiled young children.

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