Old people hate new things

That’s just the way it is. As a person approaches old age, the likelihood of outrage at new things approaches 1. Take, for instance, J.P. Devine of Waterville, Maine.

Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. It will only depress you. You really can’t go back.

For you lucky folks, the old neighborhood is only a few blocks away, or maybe in another town 15 minutes down the pike. If you’re young, Mama is still there and Grandma is still baking.

But for some of us who are from away, far away, a million years ago and a million miles away, it’s forever alive, because we haven’t been back. We tell ourselves that it’s still there with the same smells and faces.

Our childhood buddies and girlfriends are still standing on the corner, waiting for us to come home. So let’s take a trip back. Put a seat belt on your heart.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Google Earth Street View, a gala gimmick, a carnival ride to yesterday. Meet Google Street View — The destroyer of illusions, the shatterer of dreams.

Most of you with a computer, and who hasn’t one, are familiar with the program. You can press a few keys, slide a mouse and there you are, back in your old hometown, riding the Google car down the streets of your childhood.

This upsets Devine. It’s technology, so it’s distressing to the older generation.

You can Google ride through small towns all over America and see how much your memories have faded and how your America has changed. Up and down neighborhood streets, warm wooden picket fences have given way to frightening rows of icy cold cyclone wire fences for people to hide behind. Strangely, there are almost no people in Google Land views, no paper boys on bikes, no kids’ lemonade stands or wandering dogs. There is no sound in Google Land. On my street, there were a few cars, parked cheek by jowl, but looking as though they were abandoned when the mysterious dark wind of progress came along and sucked away all life.

I’m actually amused by the common lament for the past I hear from old people. It’s surprisingly frequent in the letters to the editor in the local paper (the same paper that published this piece). We all yearn for the past at one point or another, sure, but the current elders of the world seem to complain more about current technology than anything else. There’s something scary and dangerous about an evolving world.

With a touch of a button, I drove away, ran away, flew away as fast as I could. Google Street View is indeed a gala gimmick, a carnival ride to yesterday. It can take you to Philadelphia, to Paris or Madrid. It can take you to outer space … but It can’t take you home.

One thing, however, about this particular older person is the quality of writing. For the sake of readability, aesthetics, and just plan making my point I’ve excluded quite a bit of the article; it’s a shame. This article, despite being a mark of oldness, is very well written. Do read the whole thing (and maybe be glad you aren’t old, should you be so lucky).

9 Responses

  1. I read the title of the post, and read the post itself – they seem completely unrelated. Wherein is an indication that ‘old people hate new things’?

    And what constitutes in an ‘old person’ from your perspective?

  2. Devine is complaining about a new technology because he is old and yearns for the past.

    It depends on the situation. In sports, 35. In writing, 40. In terms of complaining about new fangled things, usually 50.

  3. I guess that would make Steve Jobs and Bill Gates old in respect to new things. Yeah, they hate new things, especially those new fangled computer gadgets!

    Oh, and don’t tell the people I develop online training applications and social networking tools for that because I’m ‘old’, I hate new things too.

  4. Yes, old people often hating new things means they all hate new things. You got me. Must be all the elder experience.

    How do you fight so feisty with one foot well lodged in the grave?

  5. “How do you fight so feisty with one foot well lodged in the grave?”

    Well, unlike many of my youthful counterparts, I have a good income and a love life.

  6. You know Michael, I almost never feel compelled to deal with anyone physically, but you are very lucky your puny little bank teller body is in Maine, because i would kick your butt from one side of the room to the other if you said that to my face. Of course you wouldn’t because you are a coward.

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