Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - Updated: 2:13 PM
Kids have a special way of making you feel like some outdated dinosaur lumbering around in their world.
Generally, they don’t mean to. Kids are mostly nice people, even if a lot of them need help tying their shoes, or cough without covering their mouth. But even when they aren’t letting something slip with injurious honesty they can still find ways to say things that make you feel out of place.
Like asking what “be kind, please rewind” means.
Thursday night, after all the homework and dinner and family stuff, my daughter Marley got ready for bed. Picking out what to watch is part of the nighttime ritual. And on Thursday, she reached over the DVDs and Blu-ray discs about dolphins with prosthetic tails and princesses to pull out a VHS cassette of “Air Bud” the epic story of a basketball playing Golden Retriever.
Marley had seen a few movies on VHS before, but not regularly. So we dusted off the tape (and the VCR) and got everything hooked up. I put the tape in and heard that long forgotten clunking and clanking as the cassette went in, spun the spool and then kicked back out.
Familiar with tech support’s frequent advice of turning things off and back on, I hit the power button before trying it again. Same result. With a noise not dissimilar of putting a spoon in the garbage disposal, the tape kicked back out.
This time I pulled it out and gave it a look over. Sure enough, whoever had used it last (most likely me) had left it at the end of the tape.
“They weren’t kind,” I said out loud.
Marley naturally wondered who I was talking about.
I spent the next five minutes of the night explaining “be kind, please rewind,” a saying taped to just about every movie I rented before getting a driver’s license or graduating high school. My daughter had never heard it before.
And the more I thought about it, the more I realized all the things she’ll miss out on in life. Rewinding VHS or cassette tapes is just the tip of the iceberg.
Marley will never have to get off the the computer because someone in the house is expecting a phone call (for those readers too young to know that one, used to, all internet access was over the same line as your home phone... which hung on the wall from a cord). She probably won’t know that before Wikipedia and Google, you had to find a set of encyclopedias to know what the chief export of Guam is (it’s refined petroleum for anyone heading to volume G in the bookshelf).
My daughter and her generation probably won’t own a single music CD. Likewise, they won’t know the incredible feeling of getting ripped off having just paid $14 and realizing there’s only one good song on the album.
Along the same lines, with sites like YouTube — full of instructional and demo videos on just about any subject — kids today will be less likely to buy something based on how good the commercial is. Look around at the parents section at any little league soccer game and it’s a safe bet at least one in every three of them bought some kind of musical instrument because it seemed like it would be easy to learn. After all, if you’d watched any 90s music video (they actually had music videos back then), you saw musicians playing guitar or drumming while walking around on cars or in the back of moving trucks — how hard could it be?
YouTube and similar sites — hopefully — will serve to discourage future generations from thinking playing a musical instrument is so easy you can do it on top of a moving vehicle in parachute pants.