For all of the technological advances which have come to define our culture in this era, I still lament for some of the things that have went by the wayside. Much like the demise of buggy whips in the age of automobiles, so has modern technology caused obsolescence and meaninglessness to many things now gone or going.
I miss getting up from the couch and walking to the television to tune in another channel or to adjust the volume. I miss having only four stations from which to choose. And I miss the Friday and Saturday night, all night movies with a pizza and a quart of beer.
I miss them because each of these things is a touchstone from a time when I was young, filled with hope and wonder, and when the future was laid out before me like a vast expanse of opportunity. With the demise of those simple things, the future grew shorter, the past receded further to the rear, and the here and now outweighed the hope of the future and the remembrance of the past.
I miss starting each day with a well-written, interesting, informative, entertaining, and essential newspaper to read. All we have now is generic news covered by those who don’t understand what they write, and are edited by those as incompetent as they are. The writing is bland, it’s one dimensional, and it has no soul. And newspapers wonder why they are dying. It’s not the Internet that’s killing the newspaper, it’s newspapers that are not serving the needs of informing the public, challenging the mighty while lifting up the downtrodden. It’s newspapers serving the corporate masters at the expense of truth and wisdom, guidance and leadership, and vision and integrity.
I miss having a record store to go into and listen to the latest releases being played by those who own or operate the store whose love for the music could match my own. I miss looking at those album covers and reading the credits and song titles on the back of each one and wondering what sounds resided on the grooves pressed into the record that lay within that cardboard and cellophane exterior. I miss the reintroduction to an old musical friend on new vinyl, and the discovery of a new performer who might soon become like an old friend. And now there’s no one to talk to about the music and the musicians when you go to those stores, for mostly these places no longer exist. No more music lovers to share with you, and you with them, what this music means to either of you as you peruse the racks in search of the perfect album.
There is much that I miss, much that I yet enjoy, and much, I hope, yet to come. But no today filled with the wonders and joys in front of me can assuage the lamentations for those times and joys now gone, or rapidly disappearing. Just as no future can be so good as to make today any less meaningful. The longer I live, the more important becomes the past, and that gives me pause to stop and savor each day a little more as I live it.