If you are over the age of 30, you will remember walking into some adult’s house and seeing the picture on your left. Yep, it’s a VCR. Even though the picture is not a gif you can still see that 12:00 flashing in your minds-eye. How many times as kids did we ask the adult, “Why don’t you program the VCR?” Or, maybe the adult asked you to program the VCR for them. Nevertheless, do you remember the answer we always received as to why it was flashing 12:00? I do. The answer was always, “I don’t know how.” I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh come on it’s not that hard.’ There was always a manual and some machines were quite intuitive and yet most VCRs just sat there blinking 12:00 for no real reason.
Now, you may be thinking well this was a fun trip down memory lane but why is this lady talking about ancient technology? It’s simple. It reminds me of Snapchat. (Insert needle scratch sound effect here.) Yes, VCRs remind me of Snapchat. Let me explain. I love Snapchat. It’s so fun – all those stupid filters that make you look like Gollum from Lord of the Rings or give you cute bunny ears and dog tongues. Yet as fun as Snapchat is I don’t really know how to use it. Yes, I have a rudimentary knowledge. I can open the program and take a stupid selfie but after that, I have no idea how to connect with friends and share it. I usually just save the selfie of me with fur on my face and the best eye makeup ever and manually share it as a text. Yet, I know this isn’t the way it’s supposed to work. A younger family member recently called me out for my lack of knowledge. I didn’t mind. She’s right. I have no idea what I’m doing. I freely admit it. But, it was in that moment I realized Snapchat is to me as VCRs were to our parents and grandparents. It’s a fun toy but not something that requires much thought.
It wasn’t that those adults were dumb. It wasn’t that they truly didn’t know how to program the machine. They were perfectly capable. They just didn’t care. They had bigger fish to fry than to learn about some new piece of technology that would disappear in a couple of years. And, God bless ’em they were right. The VCR gave way to the DVD player which gave way to the Bluray which is now being overpowered by digital libraries and streaming services. At some juncture, and I think it’s probably about the time we start hitting middle age, we just don’t give a shit anymore. All of our fucks are gone and the newest, latest toy just isn’t a priority. I know that’s exactly how I feel about Snapchat, the latest iPhone and pretty much every other new fabulous thing that everyone is doing. Do the new things have something to offer? Of course, they do and I plan to pick and choose and utilize those things as I see fit. But, much like the generation before me, I’m letting some things go because they just aren’t important. Who knows, maybe in 10 to 15 years those younger friends and family and I will be discussing how we just don’t care about X. The hell of it is we’ll probably still be discussing all of this on Facebook. After all, it’s nothing but a place for middle-aged folks anyway or so I’m told.