Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I was born in 1956, just about in the middle of the Baby Boom generation. By the time I was a senior in high school, Veit Nam was winding down, most hippies had cut their hair, and Nixon had resigned. The Beatles were already gone, and the Space Race was over. Teenagers were already moving from motorcycles to cars, and the cassette tape was the new technology replacing 8-tracks. We had one television in the house, and it was a color set (however, you still specified that it was color, because there were still a lot of black & white sets around.) We had expanded from three channels to five, but all were free via our antenna. We had one phone in our house, although a lot of people had an extension phone.

My grandparents had upgraded to an in-door toilet only a few years earlier (about the same year we landed on the moon.) I had an uncle and aunt who not only still used an outhouse, but they had just recently got electricity. Although my dad worked at a "plant", he also farmed. I helped. A lot. It was not unusual at all for me to get home from school and then get on the tractor and plow until after dark. Of course, on Saturday it was farming all day long. When I was about 14 or 15, my older brother and I planted an acre of okra to sell to the local farmers' market. It was my first entreuprenural endeavor. It required a lot of hard, hot work, but we made good money.

I had a happy childhood.

Why now do I spend over $100/month on cable television? Why do I have a color TV in almost every room of my house? Why do I have several phone extensions in my house, as well as a cellular telephone in my pocket? Why do I live in a house at least twice a big as my parents, but I have only half as many kids? Not only do I not farm, I hire someone to spray my house for bugs, someone else to cut my grasss, and someone else to maintain my pool.

Am I happier than I was when I was a teenager?

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