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Thankfully, we are creatures of our time
November 10, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
As I was heading through the daily “things I’m thankful” post that I’m trying to make daily on my Facebook wall (you do follow me, right?), it occurred to me I would have been really, really unhappy in another time or another place.
So, thank God or fate or whatever you believe in, I happen to think it’s God, for putting me into Steubenville, Ohio, in 1962 in the home of Henry and Della Giannamore out in the Country Club section of town. Because I would have hated growing up on a farm during the Depression, or living in the age before the printed word, or dying at the end of a long time that concluded before the invention of the laptop MacBook Pro and a decent home WiFi network.
Have you ever wondered what living in another time might have been like? I know at many junctures in life I say, “Dang it, I wish I had grown up back when people treated each other better,” or “I wish I had been an adult when Steubenville didn’t have all this economic trouble,” or “when the mills were going strong for guys entire careers.”
Well, here’s a shocker. I’d have sucked as a steelworker. Too much sweat of the brow, too much hard work in lousy weather, too hot, too cold, too snowy. I grew up during a relative time of peace and prosperity, when gunfire in the streets was not the norm, and murders were so infrequent that they were the stuff of legendary stories written by larger-than-life reporters in the Herald-Star. Or at least as a kid, I thought so.
And I was lucky enough to be old enough to read those stories.
And, though I have raised the cars of old to mechanical sainthood in my memory, I recognize that old cars pretty much sucked. Sure, they were All-American, had tailfins and powerful motors and looked like swoopy spaceships.
I was lucky enough to drive a mid-1950s Dodge in showroom new condition a few years back. I barely could control the darned thing. l. Not so good as a car. Really good as an art object.
I hate the recent past, when I couldn’t settle those “who played that guy in that movie” arguments for days on end. Now, those arguments come up, and boom! There’s IMDB.com with the answer. Want to know what that weird weed is they’re cooking on “Chopped?” Which, by the way didn’t exist. Just look it up on the Internet while you’re watching the show.
As a kid, I used to have to wait for a month for a letter from my brother, handwritten in his perfect engineer’s printing. Now, I need him, we just text. No distance that cannot be closed between brothers. Or brothers and sister, for that matter.
And there was no single-brew coffeemaker a few years ago, either. At one time there was my mom and instant Sanka. Yeeeewwwch. Didn’t think that at the time, but as much as I’d give an arm to spend one more day with Mom, I hope she wouldn’t bring the darned Sanka.
I’d have loved to see Glenn Miller live, or hang on every word of a radio drama before TV, but I don’t think outdoor plumbing, crappy cars and skies filled with stuff that used to make my nose run would be worth giving up what we have today.
Too bad people always choose to focus on what’s wrong with all we’ve got instead of using it for just making their own corner of the world more interesting.
We are creatures of our own time. Just enjoy it.
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