Living In The Past


The other day, my good pal Merby posted about finally making the leap into the smartphone era a few months ago and how she became completely assimilated now loves her new cellphone.  When it came time for me to make my usual smartass comment I typically add to most of her posts, I came to an odd realization I had never really thought of before…

No, not that I'm a complete ass... I already knew that!

No, not that I’m a complete asshole… I already knew that!

Despite the fact that I notoriously DESPISE cellphones in general… I actually kinda like my cellphone now.  Why?  Because it’s totally obsolete…

Made by Alexander Graham Bell.

Made by Alexander Graham Bell.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we got hit with a winter storm Friday night into Saturday… and about the only conditions under which I will ever take my dinosaur phone with me to work is in the event of bad winter weather.  I usually leave it in the car (Anyone who breaks into my car is going to get exactly what they deserve… absolutely nothing anyone would want), but forgot to remove it from my pocket and wound up bringing it in Mecca with me.  I got it out to show off before our nightly meeting, and loved the bemused looks on the faces of everyone who saw it.

Wasn't that invented before the string and tin can?

Wasn’t that invented before the string and tin can?

I’m very old fashioned and practically Ludditish, and few things give me more pleasure than showing people I can get by perfectly fine without all of the newest toys that they can’t seem to live without.  Yeah, I own a cell phone that is seven years old and was issued by a wireless company that has been out of business for almost seven years now!  Gee, what else to I own that has obsolete written all over it….?

Driven by real pioneers who couldn't afford a prairie schooner...

Driven by real pioneers who couldn’t afford a prairie schooner…

How about my Plymouth Neon?  Chrysler hasn’t had a Neon roll off of its assembly line since 2005, and they mothballed the Plymouth brand four years earlier!  When I needed a new wheel a few years ago after one of my city’s canyonesque potholes dented up one of mine, I had to get it from another Neon in a junkyard.  I’ve already bragged about all of the archaic and non-existent features my car has (Sparkyesque linkdrop!) so you can go back and check that post out if you want to take needless pity on what I drive.

What would you like to listen to?  Big band or the Children of the Corn choir?

What would you like to listen to? Big band or the Children of the Corn choir?

One of the reasons I put so much passion and enthusiasm into my flashback posts is because I really do love the things we had back in the day before all this newfangled technology changed everyone’s life.  I raved about the ColecoVision just this past Friday, and how I would gladly take its limited graphics capabilities over what the modern gaming systems produce.  The 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System was video gaming perfection… the games actually looked like video games!  You can only improve graphics so much before they cease to have that video game feel.

Seriously, which looks more like a video game…. this?


I think I saw this for sale at a Starving Artist event.

Or this?

This is how pixelated alien warfare should look, dammit!

This is how pixelated alien warfare should look, dammit!

You probably aren’t agreeing with me much throughout this post, are you?  I’m not only someone who’s living in a completely different time, but is actually proud of the fact that I’m so primitive.  You probably think I’m insane for not owning an MP3 player, not having a DVR of any kind for my TV, refusing to get on Facebook or Twitter, relying on my brain rather than a GPS to get where I need to go… and Lord only knows what else that might make you gasp in horror given all the things people think are necessary for life itself that we didn’t have even ten years ago.

quiet riot

Lock him up and throw away the keyless remote!

I love The Twilight Zone series.  I have seen almost every episode, many of them countless times.  Do you know which one is my favorite episode? (Juliette knows!)

The State hereby sentences you to death by unicorn!

The State hereby sentences you to death by unicorn!

“The Obsolete Man”, which was the final episode of The Twilight Zone’s second season.  It’s a fantastic, well-written episode that seems to get left out of the upper tier of well-loved TZ stories probably because its star Burgess Meredith was also the lead in “Time Enough At Last”… a good, but not great episode that is nonetheless beloved by many of the series’ fans.  Anyway, in “The Obsolete Man”, Meredith plays a librarian named Romney Wordsworth living in a time where The State has banned books, and looks to liquidate any members of society who have no “useful purpose” to life in The State.

You are in error, Mr. Twindaddy!  The State banned chileh and all words ending in "eh" a long time ago!

You are in error, Mr. Twindaddy! The State banned chileh and all words ending in “eh” a long time ago!

The episode is essentially a two man play, with Wordsworth trying to establish that just because he doesn’t subscribe to the new morality of The State that it doesn’t make him obsolete, while the Chancellor (played by Fritz Weaver) holds firm and continually beats down any bit of self-worth the librarian claims to have.  In the end, Wordsworth accepts the fate The State has doled out to him, but not before he is able to make the Chancellor crack, and prove to the vast audience watching them that the ideas The State held to be superior to the old ways are in fact very flawed.

Not bad for a Penguin!

Not bad for a Penguin!

I’ve always identified strongly with Romney Wordsworth… a simple person who embraces the beauty of the past and generally shuns the oppressiveness of the here and now, and who is constantly looked down upon by the sheeplike masses who follow wherever the current trends and technology are going.  At least nobody can have me sentenced to death for my old fashionedness… at least not in the state I live in (yet).  So I will continue to extend the middle finger to all the useless, inferior gadgetry and hogwash that is all the rage in these unhappy days.  And if you have a problem with it, just call me up on my cell at 1-800-THE-NEST any time, day or night.  I won’t mind because I always keep that glorified paperweight turned off anyway….

Yo, Mom!  How the fuck do you dial this thing?

Yo, Mom! How the fuck do you dial this thing?

I would also like to thank Aunt Sharon at Gentlestitches for returning the BOTY ’13 nomination!  Her “star” has been added to the plaque… and what else could I have used but a Sponkey? 🙂


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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23 Responses to Living In The Past

  1. draliman says:

    I have to admit that I love my gadgets. I don’t know how I even survived on the road in the days before I could simply tell my car what I wanted to listen to (i.e. before last January).
    I also admit that I am somewhat envious of you – gadgets are taking over my life and I can’t break free. It’s Skynet I tell you. Skynet!

    • Should those gadgets ever conspire to take control of you, just remember their weak point….. remove their batteries! This may save your life someday! 😉

      • draliman says:

        Yeah, why didn’t Arnie think of that (when he was a “good” Terminator). It would have flopped the ending of the films, I suppose.
        “Wow, how did you stop Skynet?”
        “I pulled this cord out of the wall socket.”

  2. merbear74 says:

    I think you should be proud of being retro. #oldcurmudgeon

  3. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I had a Nokia 5150 for the longest time until the cell phone company (RIP SunCom) made me switch. I was so pissed, I had so many cool faceplates for it.

    My car, while a 2006, does not have cruise control which appalls some people (“how do you drive on the highway?!”). And the two TVs I own are both CRT monsters. No fancy “one person can lift this” type of television for me!

    • My car has cruise, but I never use it…. even on long trips. I want to be controlling the speed of the car, not some computer…

      YAY for the old TV! I would have an old big box TV if they were still being sold when I needed to buy one for my new place four years ago… but instead I got a small, cheap flat screen. I hope it lasts long enough to look like a dinosaur itself!

  4. 1jaded1 says:

    Ha! This is awesome. I love that TZ episode and find it appropriate in this age. I’d watch it, but I don’t have a TV, or a computer…or Facebook, Twatter or any of it

    That said, I did relent and get a smartphone a little over 2 years ago. It has come in handy, considering it is my only source to the outside world. They have wrist phones, ala Star Trek. No thanks.

    I also have no keyless remote for my car. Most of my coworkers invade my office space bc the window allows for remote start. I can’t even cheat when I forget where it is parked.

    Thank you for not conforming!

  5. Juliette says:

    Living with teens I find myself surrounded by the latest technology. I swear I must have some sort of electrical time warp force that follows me through life because technology does not like me. Nothing works for me or it blows up or it sputters out – but it works for everyone else. And don’t even get me started on TV remotes. I do love my Nook but there are times when I feel like our hero Romney. I guess that will give me the last laugh.

  6. Teepee12 says:

    I dunno. My old cellphones were a lot better as TELELPHONES than any of the new ones. And thos dial telephones? When they connected, they stayed connected. No batteries to run out. And you could actually HEAR the person on the other end. A lot of “upgrades” don’t really seem to be. They are just a way of making us buy yet another one just like the other one. I hate cell phones. Especially the iPhone. I only bought it because it was on sale for 99 cents and I got what I paid for. Bah. Humbug.

  7. gentlestitches says:

    OMG! The Sponkey looks so good up there! It all makes sense now! Rainbow Donkeyunicorn is a descendant of a Ceratopsian critter! 🙂

  8. Twindaddy says:

    I do love my smart phone, but I don’t really go gaga over all the new tech out there.

  9. I take the middle ground with this kind of thing. I think it’s important to embrace the new, and not look on the past with glasses that are too rose tinted (because usually when you think about it hard enough you realise that the past wasn’t actually that great anyway). But nostalgia can be fun and it’s part of human nature, plus there’s certainly something to be said for making sure you don’t just accept things unquestioningly because they are new.

    • Ha! Your first thought there was actually covered in a different TZ episode, “The Incredible World of Horace Ford”. A guy burned out on the present keeps daydreaming about the carefree days of his youth… and each time he goes back to those days, we see more and more of his past and find out it was just as crappy as his world is now… we just tend to forget all the bad things that went along with it….

      For me, it’s just a strong resistance to change. I’m about as “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” type of guy as there is. I don’t begrudge those who indulge in all the latest stuff, but when I see how cellphones have totally changed our everyday life in such a short amount of time, I can’t help but feel something ain’t right about that….

  10. psquirrel says:

    Thanks for the awesome post re: technology! I’m glad I am finally getting some time to read your stuff here at the Nest again!!

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