I recently “got into it” a little bit on Facebook and at work with some Baby Boomer friends and coworkers, and their misguided and unequivocal defence of old people based simply on the fact that old people are, well, old. That’s on par with liking 80s music based simply on that music having come from the 80s. I came from the 80s, trust me, not all that music was gold. But before we start lauding the merits of past generations, perhaps we could do with a bit of history. For instance, it’s alarming to me that many people currently in their 20s never heard about Apartheid or, for that matter, Live Aid. Perhaps it’s a good thing that they have not had to endure the horrific images or have the awful stories emblazoned in their minds as my generation was forced to, but at the same time, Knowledge is Power. I am not saying that it’s your best interests to age-discriminate (though I have found it pretty effective for myself), but I do think you should consider and question the information which is being dispensed and not simply take it at face value because the dispenser happens to be over a certain age and appears authoritative on the subject. I invite you to verify the information which I supply as well. Fair is fair, after all. Not only that, but think how this ‘oldie’ is able to widely communicate and transmit this email. Yeah.
Therefore, I am putting forth some factoids to go along with this obnoxious email which has been circulating:
The Green Thing
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags
[Plastic bags first came into common usage in the early 1950s.]
weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”
The young lady clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. YOUR generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles
[They stopped using recycled milk bottles (primarily delivered by filthy two-stroke diesels – cough cough) because in many regions the milk would freeze, popping off the caps and thus spoiling the milk. Also, there were several injuries associate with people drinking from milk bottles which were cracked, some people ingesting broken bits of glass in the process, thus prompting the usage of plastic bottles which were “unbreakable” (but loaded with BPAs, no doubt) and since plastic was also more flexible, it stood the rigors of freezing slightly better than glass. By 1950, milk cartons (originally invented in 1915) were being produced by one company (Van Wormer’s) at the rate of 20,000,000 (yes, TWENTY MILLION) per day.]
to the store.
[The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled all of which required the usage of power, generated by burning coal or dammed-up waterways generating hydroelectricity, so it could use the same bottles over and over.]
So they really were recycled.
[No, idiot, they were RE-USED. Difference.]
We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs
[uphill both ways I’ll bet],
because we didn’t have an escalator
[Escalators go back to the nineteenth century, many of which were steam-powered thanks to the widespread use of coal burning to generate power.]
in every store and office building.
We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine
[Many personal-use vehicles in the 1950s and 1960s well exceeded the 300-horsepower mark. Race cars developed during that time, on which many personal-use vehicles of that same era were based, exceeded 500-horsepower.]
every time we had to go two blocks.
She was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind.
[The commonly-used disposable diaper was invented by Marion Donovan in 1950. No doubt thanks to the plastic bags which were invented in the early part of the twentieth century.]
We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts
[The first electric clothes dryer featured a glass window and was invented in 1940. Much of the electricity used to power such a machine was created by burning coal, etc. COUGH. COUGH.]
— wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
[And they looked like idiots as a result. I was one of them. so I have first-hand knowledge of this.]
That young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, In the 20s and 30s,
[John Logie Baird of Scotland was a pioneer in television broadcast. Television became immensely popular in households across North America in particular – owing the prosperity of the country following World War II – and featured much larger screens than is a cloth napkin. Many of them had the added bonus of emitting radioactive waves, and were immensely heavy and cumbersome. And you oldies LOOOOOVE tuning in every night at 5, 6, 10 and 11 pm for the day’s events, don’t you?]
or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.
[More like Texas, actually. Bigger is better, right?]
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines
[The first electric stand mixer by Sunbeam was produced in 1952, outdoing Kitchenaid’s prior mixer in performance and price.]
to do everything for us.
[Oh, but I thought your generation liked to have everything done for you. Isn’t that where valet services came from?]
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap
[In 1937, Dow Chemical produced the first commercial application of polystyrene, more commonly known as Styrofoam. 1957 brought the world bubble wrap.]
Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn.
[Gasoline-powered lawn mowers were first manufactured in 1919. Kerosene and other fossil-fuel powered mowers go back into the 19th Century.]
We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
[Electric-powered treadmills, also 1952.]
Yes she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain
[Up till the late 19th Century, water fountains were powered SOLELY by gravity. The advent of electricity changed all that and the electric-powered public drinking fountains which came to be after that invention did away with most of the gravity-fed fountains. Many of the electric-powered water fountains also employed decorative lights (no doubt to bring attention to the fact that there was a fountain with lights), which also used electricity, thus increasing the power consumption of a fountain which was running beautifully prior to these inventions strictly on gravity.]
when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle
[Plastic bottles saw their first widespread use as early as 1947.]
every time we had a drink of water.
We refilled our writing pens
[Disposable writing pens, as those invented by Bic, came out between 1949 and 1950.]
with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades
[Disposable razor blades and razors were being produced and widely consumed as early as 1903. The widespread use of plastic increased the manufacture and consumption of disposable razors commencing in the 1950s. As an aside, electric shavers were first patented in 1928. Where’d you get the electricity to power the razor, Genius? Same place as that beloved standing kitchen mixer – you guessed it, dirty, filthy, burning COAL. in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. I guess Tetanus was something “back then” that you could just shrug off, eh? Razor burn from using the same razor for 20 years couldn’t have been all that ‘sexy’ but it sure explains the beards, moustachioes and mutton chops from that bygone era.]
Yes, we didn’t have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar
[The first cable car, or streetcar if you prefer, was patented in 1871. Powered by electricity. Electricity which was generated through burning coal, or damming rivers for hydroelectricity.]
or a bus
[GM Truck & Coach division were the first to produce the widely used model of transit buses we see to this very day. There was no “clean diesel” or emission controls in 1943, either. Just. Sayin.]
and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet
[First standard plug electrical socket was patented in 1904. Most today are made from plastic. Huh.]
in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized
[The first freely programmable computer was invented in 1937. IBM started producing theirs in 1953. Suck on that, Steve Jobs. (Too soon?)]
gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites
[October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into space. For the invention of television, see above to see how this supposedly pioneer event of the satellite was bastardized by consumerism.]
2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
[Joe’s Tomato Pies, also known as the first pizza joint EVER in the USA, first opened its doors in 1910. Betcha he coulda used some “electrical outlets”, “a dozen appliances” and some “computerized gadgets.”]
Isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?
[Yes. Yes. It. Is.]