Sometimes you see a link to an article headlined "50 things Boomers Did That Are Useless Now," and you cannot resist. You know you will click through 100 pages interspersed with ads for toe-fungus cures and drugs that promise to make your belly fat vanish with this One Trick Doctors Hate (It's Genius). But I had to check it out.
As a late boomer, I'm sure I'd get all mad about Kids Today and their breezy, confident contempt for the days when it took 30 seconds to dial 911 on a rotary phone, but perhaps I'd learn something, too.
Let's review the highlights.
• It's no secret that boomers grew up in a time when things were totally different. For those in their 50s or above, technology wasn't around when they were growing up.
No technology! Stones and sticks for us. Holes in the floorboards so we could use our feet to push the car.
• Boomers grew up learning things that millennials simply do not need to know. Typing, for instance.
I know, right? Who types these days? LOL.
• Balancing a checkbook, reading a map — all of those skills that boomers spent their precious youth mastering are now obsolete.
We did not spend our youth mastering map-reading. You'd be surprised how easy it is, how quickly one can pick up the concept and apply it to completely different maps.
No, we spent our youth learning how to refold a map, which is a great character-builder. You could just jam it in the glovebox. But you knew you should refold it neatly. The folders have ordered and productive lives. The jammers don't push their shopping carts all the way to the end of the corral. Savages.
• Figuring out cable TV.
No one had to "figure out" cable TV. It was just there, all of it, and you prowled the grid for the thing you wanted to watch.
In these days of streaming-channel overload, it's far more complicated. Let's see, do I have Peacock through an AppleTV app, or did I buy Peacock on the AppleTV app? Do I even want Peacock? I think I'll watch YouTube on the phone.
• Ironing. Back in the 1950s and '60s, it was important to iron your clothes and keep everything in tip-top shape.
All tip-topness came to a grinding, spark-shedding halt on Jan. 1, 1970. Many households don't even have an iron now, let alone anyone who knows how to use one. They'd be frightened if you showed them one! "What is that thing? It is hot! It breathes steam! Is it a robot baby dragon? Get it away from me!"
I remember the irons of childhood, which weighed as much as an anvil, hissed like a snake and did not automatically shut off. To this day I have that thought on the plane when they close the doors: "Did I unplug the iron? Ah, doesn't matter, it automatically shuts off. What a relief!"
Also, I hate this iron because it automatically shuts off when I'm using it. "You might burn yourself!" says the iron. "Leave that to me, pal, I know what I'm doing." "No, seriously, you could brush against me and it would hurt!" "And then I'll put ice and butter on it and heal like people have been doing for thousands of years."
The iron isn't buying it. "They didn't have ice thousands of years ago." I respond, "Well, they could've if they lived in caves in the north of Europe. Besides, this is a silly conversation to have with an iron." "Well, you started it, imbuing me with consciousness. What if my self-awareness ends when you unplug me, and thus every act of ironing ends with an act of murder?"
This might be why millennials don't iron.
I'm also informed by younger sorts that they steam. Fine. Works well enough for some things. But you cannot steam a crease into a pants leg any more than you can sharpen a knife with a hot apple.
"Why a hot apple? Wouldn't a room temperature apple be enough for the simile?"
Sorry, that was the iron talking; forgot to unplug it. But, back to our list.
• Uncorking bottles.
The bottom-line explanation for the drop in demand for corks is boxed beverages. It seems that many millennials find corked bottles intimidating. A boomer could rob a millennial at bottlepoint. "Venmo me all your money, or this cork's going right in your gut, bro."
At least this list was assembled by a person. If it had been written by an AI computer, we would know that they would declare the boomer generation as a drag on human progress and smother us with pillows when we are put in the home with robot attendants. I know what I'll say when I see that pillow descending over my face for the last time.
"At least you could've ironed it."