Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How old is Grandpa???

A friend of ours is a hardcore e-mail forwarder. Today she sent us this gem. It's called How old is Grandpa???. The punchline is that Grandpa is only fifty-nine. Someone fifty-nine today was born in 1950. I've abridged things a little, but this the truth about that e-mail.
One evening a grandson was talking to his grandfather about current events. The grandson asked his grandfather what he thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The Grandfather replied, 'Well, let me think a minute, I was born before:
  • television (not true, invented by Philo Farnsworth in 1927 and the first networks began broadcasting right after the war)
  • penicillin (not true, discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 and widly available for Allied troops during the war)
  • polio shots (somewhat true, the Salk vaccine was first tested on humans in 1952, so although it wasn't invented when grandpa was born, he was vaccinated by the third grade)
  • frozen foods (not true, freezing food is thousands of years old and the first frozen meals were manufactured for the airlines in 1944)
  • Xerox (barely true, xerography was patented by the Haloid company in 1942, but they didn't change their name to Xerox until 1958)
  • contact lenses (not true, several scientists experimented with contact lenses during the 19th century and German lens makers were making useable contacts before 1890)
  • Frisbees (barely true, kids have tossed pie pans as long as there have been pie pans, Captain America was beaning Nazis with his shield during WWII, toy companies started marketing plastic throwing disks in the late forties, but Wham-o didn't name their disc Frisbee until 1957)
  • the pill (true)
  • credit cards (true)
  • laser beams (true)
  • ball-point pens (not true, different types of dry ink pens were sold through the first half of the twentieth century and the completly modern ball point was available before WWII)
  • panty hose (true)
  • air conditioners (not true, air conditioners were invented along with refrigeration, it was used in offices before WWI and was part of the home building boom that came after WWII)
  • dishwashers (not true, also invented before WWI and common during the post war boom)
  • clothes dryers (not true, same as the last two)
  • man hadn't yet walked on the moon (true)

We hadn't heard of:
  • FM radios (not true, the first FM station began broadcasting in 1937)
  • tape decks (maybe true, magnetic tape recording was developed in the thirties, reel to reel recorders became common in the fifties, but the cassette wasn't invented until 1963. So it's only true if by tape deck, grandpa means cassette player)
  • CDs (true)
  • electric typewriters (not true, Edison invented the electric typewriter and IBM introduced their first model in 1935)
  • yogurt (depends where you lived or what your ethnic background was)
  • guys wearing earrings (not even pirates?)

Your Grandmother and I got married first ... and then lived together. (probably true)

Every family had a father and a mother. (not true, almost every sit-com (and Bonanza) on television in the sixties featured single parents)

Until I was 25, I called every man older than me, 'Sir' And after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, 'Sir.' (the prevalence of "Sir" depends on where you lived. This was definitely true in the South but varied elsewhere. In the parts of the West where I grew up, it was more common to say "Mister fill-in-the-blank" and to use the title of people who had titles)

We were before queer-rights, computer-dating, dual careers, day-care centers, and group therapy. (mostly true. Though if grandpa still says "queer-rights," he's an asshole)

Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense. We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions. Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends-not purchasing condominiums. (Blah blah blah. This is so much nostalgic twaddle. Maybe grandpa lived this way and maybe he didn't. In any case, life was never that simplistically black and white)

We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President's speeches on our radios. (not true, grandpa listened to the Beach Boys, The Beatles, and Janis Joplin)

And I don't ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey. (That's because you were too young to remember Tommy Dorsey's heyday)

If you saw anything with 'Made in Japan' on it, it was junk. (true)

Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and instant coffee were unheard of. (not true, 1958, 1955 (or 1940), and before WWII)

We had 5 & 10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents.(true)

Ice-cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. (not true, they cost a dime and street cars were mostly gone before Grandpa was born)

And if you didn't want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail 1 letter and 2 postcards. (not true after 1951)

You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600 ... but who could afford one? Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon. (not true, a 1953 Bel Air sold for $1700. When gas was 11 cents, it was the inflation adjusted equivalent of three dollars a gallon.)

In my day:
  • 'grass' was mowed, (not true)
  • 'coke' was a cold drink, (not true, listen to the lyrics of "Minnie the Moocher")
  • 'pot' was something your mother cooked in , (not true)
  • 'rock music' was your grandmother's lullaby, (not true)
  • 'Aids' were helpers in the Principal's office, (true)
  • 'chip' meant a piece of wood, (true)
  • 'hardware' was found in a hardware store, (true)
  • 'software' wasn't even a word. (true)

And we were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby. (every generation has known how babies are made and that marriage has nothing to do with it, or does Grandpa think the word "bastard" was coined after the pill?)

No wonder people call us 'old and confused' and say there is a generation gap ... and how old do you think I am?

I bet you have this old man in mind ... you are in for a shock!

Read on to see--pretty scary if you think about it and pretty sad at the same time.

Are you ready ?????

This man would be only 59 years old. Feeling old yet?

People born in 1950 include Jay Leno, Morgan Fairchild, Stevie Wonder, Gary larson, David Duke, Peter Frampton, Fran Lebowitz, Julius Erving, John Sayles, and my big sister.

This e-mail would have been mostly true twenty-five years ago, in 1984. Of course, in 1984, our friend wouldn't have had e-mail to send this geezer's rant to us. On the other hand, I could have a lot of fun rewriting this for my grandparents, who were all born in the 1880s.


Jeanie said...

Thanks for this! I just got this email and started looking things up since I thought there were a lot of inaccuracies. You saved me lots of time!

Mike R. said...

It's a matter of location and how nit-picky you want to be. I'm from the South and I assure you that in 1950 virtually no one in the mainstream of life in most circles were exposed to any of the technologies that were "available". So, for the majority of the people alive at the time of this writing, this is very much true.

Oh, and one other thing...

They are still "queers". They don't need tolerance or special rights or surgeries. They need psycho-therapy treatment and to recognize that they are a deviation from the norm.