Old is when they tell you that all the stuff you’ve been saving on your computer for years now resides in “the cloud,” and you wonder what will happen if an airplane should fly through it, or even a large bird.
Old is when you understand that most of the fruits of centuries of human civilization and learning are at your fingertips, via the internet, but you can’t understand why so many people use it mainly to argue about politics, share bad puns and watch cat videos.
Old is when you go way back to when there was only one kind of Cheerios, and they were perfectly OK as they were (except for the dust at the bottom of the box) but you suddenly come to realize that what you’re thinking of are now called “Original” Cheerios because they also come in Honey Nut, Multi-Grain, Whole Grain, Cinnamon, Heart-Shaped and Blueberry varieties, with such additional delights as Sugar-Free Cinnamon and Gluten-Free Multi-Grain probably not far off.
Old is when you remember how well the phones that are now called “land lines” actually worked, back when how many “bars” you had was not an issue, and how the sound was crystal clear, even on international calls, and that — unlike with the “can you hear me now?” phones we carry in our pockets today — calls were never dropped unless somebody decided to hang up on you, maybe even banging the receiver down, which can’t be done anymore.
Old is when the meaning of “progress” changes.
Old is when every TV commercial during the news tells you to nag your doctor into prescribing some new drug aimed at your age group, and artfully named to sound oh-so scientific (my fave being adalimumab, a.k.a. Humira) and then the mile-a-minute voice tries to squeeze the entire list of possible side effects and counterindications into 15 seconds, adding that you shouldn’t take this stuff if you’re allergic to it, but how the hell are you supposed to know that, when you’ve never taken the stuff before?
Old is when you’ve just gotten your first COVID shot but you’re wondering why other people you know are still struggling to make an appointment at whatever pharmacy, big box store or gas station they can, but then it dawns on you that they’re in a younger age bracket than you are, and you think, oh.
Anyway, I’ve had my first shot and it went well. It was at a place I’d never heard of in downtown New Britain — a place called Liberty Square, on the apparent principal that some real estate magnates name their building something like Liberty Square so the address will be “One Liberty Square” — and everything worked out fine. I was a little leery, having heard that they were pressing all kinds of people from the fringes of the medical world, some of them possibly disgruntled, into service as needle-jabbers, but my shot was given by a real nurse, who seemed quite gruntled, and there was even a doctor on hand to supervise and joke with the victims in the room where you had to wait for 15 minutes to make sure you didn’t drop dead from the injection.
I didn’t, so that was good.
And I think I’ll go back for more, pretty soon.
Reach Glenn Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org.