Sunday, April 20, 2014

You're not getting older, you're ... oh, wait ...

For a season, and a day, dedicated to rebirth, there sure were plenty of "boy am I old" cartoons today.

We'll ease into this with Between Friends, which is a fairly gentle parent-child-tech gag.

(It also, I think, fits today's topic as a subtle shift in age for Emma. Sandra Bell Lundy periodically nudges her characters forward in time, and this is the first time I've taken notice of Susan's daughter as a real teen and not an adolescent. Her pal is like a blonde Maeve!)

I'm a generation off from Sandra, because I'd actually be more in the grandparent-grandchild-tech zone, which is to say that I'm only vaguely puzzled by the things my kids know that I don't.

They're not quite digital natives, but I'll admit they did ease me through the first stages of future shock back when we got our first computer in 1983. (Remember that date: We'll be back.)

However, the grandkids and I are from different planets and, specific to today's strip, I still fumble with and hate texting, while it's second nature to their demographic.

Four of the five are, at the moment thank-god, too young for this to be an issue, but the eldest will text me and then, while I'm fumbling out some kind of two-word reply, will pop in with a full-length follow-up.

Of course, if I didn't hate texting, I'd have gotten better at it. But my texting mostly consists of two phrases: "Are you awake?" and "Call me," because, in my world, a text is a polite way of contacting someone without waking them up or interrupting something more critical.

And they don't always answer the phone, 'cause I guess that's a thing now.

Consarn it.

This is all I ask ...

I haven't quite encountered the overt flirting that the old coot my age in Freshly Squeezed is talking about, but I'm well-established in the "safe zone," which is actually a pretty pleasant place once you get over the initial confusion.

The safe zone is that place where young women loosen up in your presence because they know there's no way you are going to hit on them. Which can come across as "flirtatious," but, in fact, is more about how they're not behaving than how they are. If they thought there was any chance in hell, they'd be more guarded.

Which can be very pleasant, as long as you make two adjustments:

1. Get over the idea that they are flirting. They're comfortable in your presence because you remind them of their grandfathers. 

2. Get over the fact that you remind them of their grandfathers.

'Cause one of these guys is just enjoying the company and the other is a pathetic ass. And if you have to ask, well, that tells us which one you are.

But let's be objective about this

Richard Marcej blogs his life unadorned in his daily strip, and today's continues our theme of "boy am I old" on a completely objective level. And, as he notes, ratchets it up to "very old."

I looked it up. Police Squad aired in 1982. That, by simple process of mathematics, proves to be 32 years ago.

Or, in less specific terms, "yesterday."

Or, in more specific terms, when I was 32.

Or, in terms somewhat in the middle, half a lifetime ago.

Like I said, it was just yesterday.

And, by the way, for anyone tempted to criticize today's young people for a poor attention span, it should be noted that the reason "Police Squad" failed was that it relied heavily on sight gags and had no laugh track.

Which is to say, the TV audience needed to actually watch, listen, pay attention and think.

Worst part? I was, at the time, in no position to dismiss their entire generation without indicting myself.

Ah well. I'm gonna go walk the dog. He's a chick magnet, you know, and Easter is all about chicks.

Slow-walking chicks, thank you.


Richard J. Marcej said...

What happened to the "Comic Strip of the Day" blog?

Mike said...

Typepad has had a series of DOS attacks and, at the moment, some blogs are still down. I'm going to assume they'll either figure out a solution or the attacker will move on. Meanwhile, here's the back up!