Cultural Progeria

May 24, 2007

I think I may have caught Old Man Grumpus (2nd from the top) disease at some point.  More & more I don’t like what’s on TV or new music or movies.  Which is a bummer, because I feel like when you stop liking new stuff, you start dying a little. 

However, the real sign, to me, of the inevitable impending end isn’t just cultural, it’s technological.  When a new technology comes by, and spreads quickly, and soon everyone’s using it except for a few crazy holdouts, like people still refusing to use the telephone in the 1930s, that’s a sign that the end is near. 

And the thing is, I’m really good with techie, gadgety crap. I’m not particularly old (35), I live in a big city, albeit not big enough to get Fiber Optic Internet Service like the folks in Cooterville, but still, a big city, and I read about new stuff all the time.  I was one of the dorks to pre-order a TiVo when they first launched, six months ahead of the on sale date.  I was the first person I knew to subscribe to high speed internet access, to buy an MP3 player, to use Bittorrent, to get a streaming media server, the list goes on. 

But I know that out there somewhere, there’s a guy (or girl), and they’re like two years old right now, and someday, maybe thirty years from now, they’re going to invent a thing.  That thing, whatever it is, everyone is going to want one, one day.  People won’t be able to live without it.  In my mind, I envision this new sweeping invention (akin to cell phones, or televisions, or VCRs, or DVRs – soon) as looking like a black, inscrutable small box, like a matchbook sized version of the monolith from 2001.

And I won’t have one.  I won’t really even understand the appeal of having one.  A little part of me won’t even understand how you use one.  I will be vaguely annoyed when I see other people using theirs.   I will bore people around me telling them how I don’t believe in “the box” and how I don’t need one because my ancient pre-box technology suits me just fine.  I’ve been worried about this invention for over a decade now. I wonder if I’ll know the day it gets invented, like, will I cosmically feel its coming into being. 

To be clear, there’s lots of stuff I don’t need, right now.  Like texting on my cellphone.  I know everyone does it, but it’s a pain, and I’m not 13, so I don’t bother.  But I understand what it is and why you’d do it.  This thing, “the box,” I don’t even know what it’s for.  I just know that in the future the goddamn kids on my lawn won’t stop playing with theirs.


  1. Hey bluehead, wanna try out my etui?


  3. And that magical box…a real-time Spanish to English translator.

  4. Guess again Patrick – I won’t ever need one of those, as my half-Hispanic baby functions like a magical conch shell. When I hold her to my ear, instead of hearing the ocean, Spanish turns into English. I tried this with Univision on the TV & Sabado Gigante sounds just like Saturday Night Live when filtered through the little baby cupcake. My only worry is that she’ll grow too large to affix to my ear one day.

  5. The people at my office assume that I know everything about small black technology. I don’t want to let on that I am starting to suffer symptoms of early onset cultural progeria, so I fake my advice using Google. I liken it to asking a priest for sex tips.

  6. That’s the worst kind of enabling. It’s like an overweight guy hanging out with morbidly obese people to feel better. No one at my office is exceptionally tech/gadget savvy, but then as soon as I hop online I find there’s a TON of people who are way more linked in than I am.

  7. It’s weird, when my Grandpa would say, “that’s not music, in my day we would listen to the greats like Tommy Dorsey and Nat King Cole.” So will I tell my grandchildren, “ah, I remember the greats like Duran Duran and George Michael.”?

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