Monday, July 5, 2010

Deliver Me From the Good Old Days

I received a "forward" from one of my e-mails pals that waxed nostalgic about the so-called "good old days". In it, "Grandma" remembered life before "television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill".

She recalled that she and Grandpa had got married first, then lived together and that every family had a father and a mother. This was all pre gay rights, computer dating, dual careers, daycare centers and group therapy, when lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment and common sense, when people knew the difference between right and wrong and took responsibility for their own actions.

Back then, Americans thought serving their country was a privilege and they'd never heard of cds, yogurt and guys wearing earrings (among other things). They listened to the Big Bands and, Grandma said, "she didn't ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey".

Well, this forward went on and on but you get the picture. The past = good; the present = bad.

God, this is wrong on so many levels, I don't even know where to start.

First, no, even then, not every family had a Mommy and a Daddy. And even if they did, a Mommy and Daddy did not necessarily guarantee happiness. Some Daddy's were drunks or batterers or cheats, just like they are now. Some Mommy's took too many medications or mistreated or neglected their children, just like now. Those families are better off apart, just like they would have been then.

The population as a whole then paid a lot more lip service than attention to the Ten Commandments, just like today and oddly, it is/was often the most devout church-goers who are the worst offenders when it comes to living the philosophy their Savior personified.

I don't know about you but I love cds and computers and televisions and microwave ovens. I say, hurray for modern heating and central air. I don't even want to get up in the middle of the night to stoke the old coal furnace or, even worse, have to chop wood for heat. I'm a thermostat girl all the way!

I'm also a rock and roll devotee and I'm a supporter of gay rights, and guys who wear earrings. I'm not much for yogurt, but that's a personal choice. You probably think gay rights is a positive too if someone you love is gay. There were suicides back in Grandma's era, (which happens to be my era too). Perhaps no young person blew their brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey but he or she may very well have because of  being part of a discriminated against minority - such as being gay - or pregnant with an illegitimate child in a time when that was an occasion for shame and shunning.

I guess I'd have to say that Xerox machines (because I remember the awfulness of making copies via carbon paper) and polio immunizations (iron lungs make me shudder) and contact lenses (with laser surgery being even better) are all good things. And bless whoever invented the birth control pill!

I'm not like the Grandma in this article. I don't look at today through rose-colored glasses. We have lots of problems in the 21st century. Drugs, for instance. Glamorizing sex. (But whose fault is that. It isn't children that pay for and produce the soft core porn that passes for popular entertainment. We adults could stop that any time we wanted by avoiding those movies and television shows and products.)

Every generation has it's challenges but you don't overcome them by looking backward and pretending a perfect past.