Neil Offen: A lesson in history (mine)
This day in (my) history —
1946: I am born, which makes me so old I can remember when land lines were just lines and only had a choice of three two digits.
1958: I enter junior high school. Some years later, the name is changed to middle school and I lose credit for passing trigonometry and immediately forget the difference between sine and cosine.
1959: I find out there is no difference between sine and cosine.
1961: I spend $4 to buy a pair of sneakers which are the same thing as running shoes but without leather uppers, which weren’t invented until marketers could figure out how to charge $124 for sneakers.
1962: I predict that these four guys from Liverpool will be a dud because no one will be able to understand their accents.
1963: I begin college with an 8 a.m. calculus course, Monday through Friday, which is not the way to begin college.
1965: Huge electrical blackout in New York City and the entire Northeast. I take full responsibility for trying to change a light bulb.
1967: The epochal, iconic Summer of Love makes such an impression that I can’t remember where I put my glasses today but I can still remember all the words to “Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie” by Jay and the Techniques.
1970: I get married. Which means that, as of now, technically speaking, I have been married forever.
1973: I buy my first high-tech piece of technology, a transistor radio, which can access three stations, two of them broadcasting in Russian. Two years later, I replace the transistor radio with something even more cutting edge, a toaster that can toast both sides. I reject the toaster that does bagels, unwilling to go over the edge.
1980: My first child is born. We promise never to say to him, “because I said so.”
1981: We say “because I said so” to him.
1985: I predict the Internet will never make it because people will be too busy with their 8-track tape recorders.
1989: My second child is born. Now, as experienced parents, we only say “because I said so” in Russian, to expose her to another language and avoid the cost of sending her to a private college or a summer camp language immersion program.
1990: After five years of practice, I learn how to operate an 8-track tape recorder.
1991: I try desperately to sell my 8-track tape recorder so I can replace it with an electronic typewriter.
1992: I buy my first computer. It weighs just under three tons and has the computing power of the watch I have today.
1996: Under duress, I use the word “prioritize” for the first time, and am immediately ashamed.
2004: I eat arugula for the first time. In the past, I had only eaten lettuce, which was the arugula of its day.
2013: I finally finish this column.
Neil Offen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 919-419-6646.