I’m sitting in the waiting room, waiting for my number to be called. With time to kill before my annual colorectal exam, I thought it might be a good time to compile what I call my geriatric gratitude list. This isn’t a mamby-pamby list you usually have to endure reading about the joy of waking up in the morning, having a job, your hamster or fully grown children. No, instead it’s my opportunity to look back on some of the more important things that have been invented since I came into this world decades ago.
At the top of the list is the Mickey Mouse Club. Who could have made it through childhood without Disneyland or Annette Funicello? In 1954 frozen TV dinners were invented for people who really DID eat dinner while they watched TV. Of course, it would be another year before I’d be able to slide those aluminum trays into a microwave oven. However did I survive?
Then, there’s the cell phone. It was as big as a brick and held a charge for a staggering 20 minutes. You couldn’t do anything with it except make calls. No selfies, email, Amazon.com or Twitter. I could never afford one. Nor could I afford to have a phone in my car. Largely because I wouldn’t own my first car until 1967. It would be 34 years before I bought my first iPhone. 1973 was the year that Velcro, Mr. Potato Head and Nike waffle sole running shoes were invented. Try to imagine your life without those.
Both the Kodak Instamatic and digital cameras (the type that weren’t inside your cell phone) were invented during my lifetime. So were the Sony Walkman, Super Glue and television remote controls. All of which, contributed to my obesity and sedentary lifestyle.
On the medical front, coronary bypass surgery (which, thankfully, I haven’t needed yet), liposuction and rhinoplasty came upon the scene, followed by electronic pacemakers, artificial knees, Viagra and Prozac. I’ve haven’t needed most of those, either, but I’m happy to report that blood-sucking leeches are making a comeback.
How could any of us survive today without personal computers and the Internet? Yet, I managed to do so until 1990 when the ARPANET was decommissioned. Later that day, I learned how to kill most of my time at work glued to porn sites, shopping and online dating. It only took me 18 years to get tossed off of Match.com for violating dating profile guidelines. This was followed by a number of other life events: text messaging, Facebook, social media, Wikipedia, Skype, email,Wi-Fi hotspots, photocopiers and voicemail.
I know I’ve missed something, but I’ll try to include them in next year’s birthday celebration. Until then, I’ll see you at the ATM the next time I need to transfer Square Cash into my Paypal account.