Monday, August 30, 2010

Stuff that makes me feel old

Cell phone/texting culture - When I was 9, my dad brought home a portable phone from the radio station where he worked. It was a blocky Motorola thing, and it looked like a portable video game to me. When my dad told my 11-year-old brother he could make a call on it, he was apoplectic (a privilege not extended to me, a recurring theme of my childhood). He dialed my great aunt, who lived two doors down. “Hi Boo! It’s me, Colin. I’m calling you on a Cellular One phone!” (We called it a Cellular One phone, for crying out loud!) It was a scene lifted directly from that awful “That ’80s Show.” Shortly thereafter, we put the phone away with all the reverence of Cameron’s dad’s Ferrari. After all, such a thing couldn’t even be breathed on wrong.

And that incident more than any other (even more so than Saved By the Bell reruns) cemented my image of cell phones. They were expensive technological toys for yuppie executives. Nothing I or even my parents would ever need. And I went to high school and even college at a time when the only cell-phone users were overachievers who were flaunting any combination of ambition, status, wealth or smug self-importance.

I didn’t get a cell phone until I was 24 and in grad school, and even then it was a Christmas present from my mom, who saw it as a convenient means for me to make impulse trips to chauffeur my teenage sister on her many, many excursions (again, recurring theme). When she could no longer pay the bill and I went several months without service, I barely missed it. By the time I got my current phone (Mardi Gras 2006...more on that in a moment), everybody in America had one, and texting was in its mestastasizing phase.

The new age of smartphones has accelerated beyond anything I care or will ever care about. In fact, it actively makes me angry. Not because of the technology itself - I rather enjoy iPhone games - but because of what it’s done to society. It was bad enough in 2001 when my friends at school would steer every conversation toward their cell phone plans; but now, it’s even worse. Why? Because it’s getting to be where you have to have this technology to function. And there’s something in my brain that wipes out even the strongest curiosity if it becomes a social imperative. Also, I’ve always been one for an open social environment. Nothing saddens me more than to go to a college campus and everyone is looking down at their devices. I was in college only five years ago, and even then people still talked to each other.

So for now, I carry my almost 5-year-old Nokia cell phone, and people often remark that they had that same phone about five phones ago. My mom and sister both have iPhones, and I can’t keep up with them. In thinking my phone isn’t that old, I somehow feel much older.

Michael Cera - Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist may have been the first movie anyone ever told me I would be too old to get. That came from a friend of mine who is six years younger than me (itself making me feel old). Cera’s career is proof I’m a cultural has-been in two ways: 1) Age: Cera was born in 1988. When I was in college, my friends had siblings that age, and when they’d tag along they mostly absorbed themselves in their NSYNC coloring books; and 2) He’s the torch-bearer of hipster humor, which apparently culminates with shrugs. I’ve actually liked him in movies like Superbad, but in no trailer since then have I heard him say anything witty. And considering that trailers are supposed to show the best part of the film, and that his movies rock the box office, I guess he’s dialing into something that skipped me completely. Or maybe I’m just jealous of who he gets to kiss.

Playing football - Just yesterday, after a terrible flag football game, my 33-year-old teammate (glimpsing my aching, forlorn face) slowly stood up and said, “This is a young man’s game.” I reflexively replied, “I’m not old,” as I limped, rubbed my brush burns and struggled to catch my breath. And with that, I suddenly understood why baby boomers are so annoying.

Every NFL player in Tecmo Super Bowl is retired - Granted, this just happened, and in fact it’s probably a miracle that anyone from that era still played recently. But in an age where Jeremy Shockey (my age) is a veteran who has battled numerous injuries and has been a member of two Super Bowl-winning teams, it’s still strange to think there’s been this much turnover in pro sports.

Hearing my friends groan about turning 25 - Self-explanatory. Also, anyone younger than me referring to themselves as “no spring chicken”; people I welcomed into college as a senior undergrad who now have homes and families; and bald heads. Come to think of it, most of that stuff actually makes me feel younger...

28 comments:

venessalewis said...

oh...oh....OH!!!! Did you hit a common nerve with that Michael Cera thing. I DON'T GET IT! And that goes for all those movies he's in that use that annoying handwriting font in their title logo. Juno was probably the first of that trend and I hated him in there as well. The Juno movie also irks me because NO high school girl is that witty or nonchalant about pregnancy. Nerd turned cool is not new thing, but unlike Ferris Bueller, this guy really isn't funny. And Ellen Page should be sporting a unicorn Trapper Keeper not mouthing off about obscure horror flicks and old punk. But yeah, I see these previews for Cera movies and I just don't get it. And knowing you are younger than me and you dont either makes me happy. :)

Ian McGibboney said...

Michael Cera reminds me a little of myself at 14, except that he's 22. That's a physical comparison; I never went through a phase where I did the shrug thing. And unlike with most things I would thought were cool at that age (i.e., Twitter, iPhones), I don't think I would have thought any differently about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World than I do now. It's like he can't make a movie that isn't full of comic book stuff.

I read and get told all the time that the trick to making popular works these days is to make them short and dumb, essentially. Oh, and don't try too hard. Or at all. Which is fine if done right, but when you can have "huh" as a punch line, then yeah, that irks me a little bit.

rhonda said...

i don't understand hipster humor (or hipster culture in general) because to me, it takes entirely too much damn effort to pretend that you're too cool to care about anything. all that nonchalance takes more posturing than just BEING. juno could have been entirely summed up with a string of sighs and snorts, and ended with an eye roll... and i got suckered into it by two other girls that were my age who (against all logic) thought it was the most intelligent thing since the invention of the wheel. man. i need to see better movies.

i liked michael cera on the show arrested development...but he pretty much was an awkward kid, playing the role of an awkward kid. for the only time in his illustriously awkward career, it fit.

cell phones are a mixed bag... i used to never think i'd be one to text, and then it got me. at first, it started with messaging those friends that i KNEW would never call, only text. it slowly progressed to me reluctantly purchasing an unlimited package. my phone is antiquated by most standards, but i genuinely don't want an iPhone because i'm clumsy. i need an old phone to stand up to my abuse. what i really need is a rock that will make outbound telephone calls. barring that, i'll keep my old samsung until that last trip to the floor sends it to technoheaven.

as for feeling old...if you ever want to beat that feeling, start smoking. smoke a FUCKTON, no less than 2 packs a day. do it for long enough to pick up a good smoker's hack, which actually is every bit as chunky as it sounds like it would be when you hear other people doing it. THEN QUIT. i assure you that you'll feel so much better by comparison that age really won't be anything but a number.

rhonda said...
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rhonda said...

something that actually does make me feel ancient...food issues. i shared a dessert with a friend yesterday and i am still paying for it. i feel like someone spent the entire night kicking me in the stomach. other people my age and older eat whatever they want, but i eat a brownie and get so fucked up that i practically have to go to rehab to get it out of my system.

Tom Alday said...

THE IAN MCGIBBONEY POST-A-TRON 5000© STRIKES AGAIN. SIMPLE POST GENERATION FOR SIMPLE MINDS!

[INTRODUCE A CONCEPT OR THING GENERALLY ACCEPTED BY SOCIETY AND HATE IT. THIS MAKES YOU SEEM EDGY AND INDEPENDENT]

[OPTIONAL - INSERT PERSONAL ANECDOTE EXPLAINING WHY YOU HATE THE CONCEPT OR THING]

[USING OBSCURE NEWS ITEM NO ONE CARES ABOUT TELL HOW CONCEPT OR THING IS RUINING AMERICA]

[INSERT TRITE LIBERAL OBSERVATION RAGING AGAINST CONCEPT OR THING]

[END WITH SAYING SOMETHING THAT YOU THINK IS PROFOUND BUT SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS WRITTEN BY 3RD GRADER]

[CRY YOURSELF TO SLEEP]

FOLLING THIS SIMPLE STRUCTURE YOU'LL BE ON YOUR WAY TO MAKING FORMULAIC, DULL POSTS JUST LIKE ACCLAIMED COPY EDITOR TO THE STARS IAN MCGIBBONEY!

Ian McGibboney said...

Rhonda- You're dead-on about the hipster thing. It takes a lot of effort to look detached and cool (in what I consider the pejorative sense). Kind of how I used to be annoyed by grunge back in 8th grade because everyone had the same brand-new, expensive clothes from Gadzooks that they wore because they were too cool to care about image. Yeah. I know that dates me, but hell, we're practically the same age anyway.

Ian McGibboney said...

Tom - 1) I'm impressed that you dared comment on a non-political post; 2) it's ironic that you cut and paste something from a previous thread to decry me for allegedly cookie-cutter writing; 3) it doesn't even make sense here. Are you a hipster?

Tom Alday said...

Lol, it fits perfectly because all your posts, political or otherwise, follow the same basic structure as defined by the Ian McGibboney Post-a-Tron 5000© generic blog post generator you use.

Ian McGibboney said...

Hey, Tom, when was the last time you got even one comment on one of your posts? I've gotten a few this month, and this month just started!

Tom Alday said...

ahaha, you've gone from saying "I don't care about comments, I do this blog for myself!" just a few months ago to this. Just another topic you're wildly inconsistent on.

btw, your 4 main commenters are 2 people that think you're a retard, and 2 that are retards. I wouldn't be bragging.

Ian McGibboney said...

You missed my point, Tom. For someone who's supposedly not worth wasting time on, I seem to get a lot of comments. Especially from the ones who repeatedly insist I'm not worth talking about. And who actually aren't worth talking about themselves, apparently.

"Your 4 main commenters are 2 people that think you're a retard, and 2 that are retards."

Also, two other people.

NOLA Progressive said...
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NOLA Progressive said...

I have avoided becoming entangled in any of the Alday back and forth lately, but I want to express an opinion/observation here.

Tom, do you realize how little integrity it shows to continually post insulting and harrassing comments on an individual's blog who allows you to post whatever you like? Especially when he could make you, in essence, dissappear with the click of a button. That is sort of like punching a pacifist in the face because you know he won't hit you back.

I just walked out of a disciplinary hearing for a student about 30 minutes ago, and I am surprised at how similar it was to almost any post that involves you as a commentor. Full of deflection, paltry justification for misdeeds, anger and unfounded sense of injustice, sense that own actions only need be as just as the guy next to you, etc...

I can see the "Oh that's rich from a retard/cunt/liberal/*insert insult here*" response coming already. That's fine. I feel that we have covered all the back and forth ground we ever will at this point. This was just standout enough to me to actually engage.

Tom Alday said...

"I don't care about comments, I blog for myself" - Ian, 4 months ago

"I sure do get a lot of comments! I've gotten a few this month and it just started!" - Ian, today

Are you able to keep a simple, consistent thought or idea post to post? I wonder.

@NOLA

Ian can do what he wants, but as I said before he allows my comments because he enjoys the adversarial conversation. It's the tone he sets with his degrading posts and the tone he encourages with egging on mocking and insulting comments by me and his friends. Quit trying to White Knight him, he doesn't deserve the image you've built up of him.

venessalewis said...

Perhaps not Tom,(he's actually more of a saint), although you've most certainly earned the image we all have of you.

NOLA Progressive said...

My attempt is really not to portray any image of Ian. I don't really know Ian all that well beyond reading his work. He seems like the kind of guy I'd get along with and be able to have a beer with at a football game. Other than that I can't accurately say much.

What I do know, however, is he certainly has the ability to censor your comments and/or delete them. The fact that he allows them through says something positive about him. Sure anyone can get a thrill out of an occasional flame war with someone, but not when it is the same thing continuously. I don't believe that he allows the comments for that value at all.

Look, I dont' really take anything you say personally. For the most part our conversations here haven't been too heated or hostile. There have been some moments I suppose, but my point is not to the level you have gotten with others. Your comments and tone certainly perpetrate most of that fact with them, but the fact that they are buying into a personal grudge with a virtual foe is part of it. So, I suppose there can be some credence lent to your argument.

Overall though, I just think continuing with those comments repeatedly is just not...well, just not cool.

rhonda said...

tom, i don't think anyone here really takes you as anything more than an oddity, but that doesn't justify any bad behavior on your part. i can own up to my part of it- i poke you on purpose, because i think you more than deserve it, and i've recently decided to just relax and outright use you (and other internet bullies) as a way to put my own temperament to the test. perhaps that's disrespectful, but like v said, you earned it. you really can't be too shocked when people simply return the treatment you give to them, so don't play dumb, and don't even try to play the victim. you yourself can't possibly even believe that. it goes beyond something that's between you and ian, because you've attacked several other people on this forum throughout your years of being here.

Tom Alday said...

Oh yes, I see myself as such the victim. You got me. Thanks for the arm chair psychoanalysis.

rhonda said...

what psychoanalysis? i don't need a master's degree to remember something you said.

"You people do realize I've been dealing with you people and your weak ass insults for a long time?"

those are your own words, from only a few days ago. it's worth noting that at your own blog, none of have ever, ever harassed you in the way that you have here, nor would we. so, if you don't like it, leave. there's absolutely nothing to "deal" with.

Tom Alday said...

When did I say I didn't like it? You tools act like I'm offended or something by your weak insults. I've seen and heard worse than anything any of you can ever say. It makes me laugh to see you struggle to think up something witty to try and "zing" me, failing to realize I've seen that same insult 50 times written by people way more interesting than any of you.

Keep trying though, I'm having fun dragging all you self righteous douchebags down to my level.

rhonda said...

DOWN to your level? did you just fail at english, or did you actually mean to say that we're better than you? either way, i like it! :-)

Tom Alday said...

Oh you think you're better than everyone, it's an inherent character trait of the modern liberal, but with some simple goading you're easily brought down to a base level. I've been doing this for a while, and as I said, you're nothing new or special to me.

like a fiddle. you inbred mongoloid.

Ian McGibboney said...

Speaking of old things...this has gotten old. I'm frankly sick of every one of my threads turning into this. There's only one common denominator here. Tom, I don't know how many chances I've given you, but this is the last one. Consider your posting privileges revoked.

As for everyone else - don't encourage him.

Tom Alday said...

Hahaha, pussy

Tom Alday said...

Don't worry Ian, I'll still let you visit my blog 13 times a day, hoping I post something about you

Jenni said...

I'm trying to keep in perspective that age is just a number. But that said, turning 30 was hard for me last year. Why? Because it was the start of the "oh damn" birthdays. Three OH (damn, I can't drink that much anymore), four OH (damn, there went my back), five OH (damn, there are a lot of pills here)... yada, yada, yada. Reality likes to bite us in the ass, reminding us that we can't do some of the things from our mid to early 20s. If it didn't kill us then, it might now.

As for your cell phone, if ain't broke, don't fix it. I bought my iPhone a few days after my dad died as a pick-me-up gift and the thing is like crack. I can navigate with it, write email, search the web, do facebook, watch videos, and play games. If the thing had a more powerful vibrating mode, I'd be set and a happy girl. :) It's almost sad though because I'm already in front of a computer for 10+ hours a day, so it's one more thing that sucks up my precious time (and money). But if you were to upgrade your phone, at least get one with a camera.

Ian McGibboney said...

I actually have a BlackBerry that my sister gave me, but it stopped recognizing my chip when I was up in Kansas City a month after I got it. Also, it tended to dial her friends at random and had "Bittersweet Symphony" as its ringtone, which once caused the entire copy desk to laugh.

I might try that one again.

As for age, well, that's a weird, unique thing. I feel better physically now than I did at 24, right before I began a renewed attempt at keeping myself healthy. I got tired of people telling me how good I used to look. Still, I miss certain things about being younger. Oh well. I'll do the best with what I've got. It's all we can do.