I was walking through U of T campus, and while looking at all the students milling about, I was thinking about how education has changed since I was in school.

I realized that my life has spanned several different eras. Compared to present day, I am a relic

In my youth, I saw the JFK assassination on the television news. I watched “I Love Lucy” and “Get Smart” and “Gilligan’s Island” and “Car 54, Where Are You?”. I used slide rules, and my first exposure to computing was with punched cards and binary code. I had to do research at a regular library, without the benefit of the Internet.

Playboy was considered pornography; the magazine supposedly contained “dirty pictures”. Seriously. I kid you not.

It was the height of the Cold War. I saw literature at the local emergency centres that outlined how to build your own nuclear shelter, and contained graphic, full-colour simulations, using make-up, of what nuclear burns to your flesh would look like.

I played with liquid mercury in the science lab. I made furniture in woodwork shop from solid walnut and mahogany and maple.

I ripped off nickels and quarters in parking meters when the coins got stuck.

I saw my first movie (well, the first half ‘cuz I felt guilty and ran home), something to do with Fu Manchu, for 25 cents at a theatre.

I put caterpillars on black car hoods on the hottest summer days and watched how they would walk funny. I used a magnifying glass to pop ants in the sunlight. I had not yet developed a sense of respect and empathy for life. (It would be many years before I shed my sadistic streak.)

I think I’m a different person today. Wiser. Mellow. Confident.

But I still feel ancient when I see what today’s kids are doing in college and university…I can’t keep up, and this is something of a downer. The world has changed, and is changing, too much for me to handle.

Published in: on June 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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