Saturday, May 22, 2010

as the turntable spins

How many of you used to sit beside your record player and repeatedly lift the needle to set it back to just the right spot in order to hear that first or second or third verse again? It was the easiest way to learn a song’s lyrics, wasn’t it? When you repeat one verse at a time without the rest of it distracting you, it’s quite simple to memorize one song after another. I can’t even imagine how many songs I learned that way, or when cassettes came along, by learning how long to let it rewind to go just far enough.

If those songs come on the radio now, I still remember them pretty well.

Of course these days most lyrics are printed on the CD pamphlet, and if not, they’re all over the net to find. Way back in the days of LPs, a few companies did print them on each side of the big square envelope made to protect the album from the cardboard cover. As time went by, more of them did. Still, learning that way was never as satisfying as sitting by the record player returning the arm to exactly where I wanted it.

Try doing that with a CD or with a song on an MP3. You have to go all the way back to the beginning, even though you have that down already, and wait to be where you want to be.

Maybe others don’t need the separate repetition of each verse, but I was taught in school to do my vocab words or times tables 10 times each before moving along. It was the only way it worked. (I tended to need fewer for vocab and more for arithmetic, but you get my point.)

It seems to me that the more they make things “easier” and more “convenient” the harder it actually becomes when you look beyond the convenience.

Look at phones. We went from simply picking up a receiver and dialing a number from the same kind of phone everyone and her aunt had and knew how to use to having 50 different types of phones that do so many things most of us don’t even use their full potential since we can’t figure out how (or we’re too busy to bother). The biggest issue with the phone used to be remembering whether or not you needed a “1” in front of the number. Of course, we had to stay within reach of the cord, but that was a big plus for our parents. If we were on the phone, they darn well knew we were. If we were some of the lucky few with a phone in our room, we still had the knowledge that the receiver in the main room could be raised at any time and … “busted!” It was much easier for parents to keep track of phone time.

It was also easier for parents to know who their kids hung out with. Simple. If you didn’t want your kids to know half of the US, you didn’t put them on a train by themselves and let them hop on and off. With social networks, parents have no means of controlling … well, too much of anything. Block your kids at home from being on the computer, and they’ll use one at a friend’s house, or at school, or on a friend’s iPod on the way home on the bus.

Wait. How is this making things easier or more convenient? How can anything be easier when all control is being grabbed from you? When the videos on Youtube are filled with images you’ve protected your children from most of their lives only to have friends download them and share willingly?

Yes, I’m showing my age. I long for the days of record players and real phones and knowing who is calling the house for my child.  I sigh for the loss of days when a kid could tell time from a clock with hands (numbers or not), write out arithmetic problems on paper without $100 required calculators, would actually read a book since there were only 3 channels on television and reading was better than the fourth rerun of Gilligan’s Island, and it was totally cool to get a video recorder where you could actually put a tape in to capture that one show you just had to see during the only time and only method you had of seeing it.

Or maybe I just long for the brain of a teenager who can actually figure out how to use her cell phone or digital music device without giving herself a headache.

Records were so easy.



Kara Hartz said...

I thought cell phones were wonderful until I was trying to teach my daughter her phone number. We don't even have a land line anymore, and even if we did, that's not the number I'd want her to know since we're not there most of the time. Do I teach her my cell number, or her fathers? I hate to confuse her with both to start off with. I never saw this problem coming.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Loraine! LOL!! I HAVE the same thoughts. No joke. I'll show my age with you. I remember as a kid I used to the same thing with my records. Some of my favorites were My Fair Lady and Kiss Me Kate. *grin*

Just wanted to let you know I'm passing out my Creative Blogger award and picked you but I see Lindsay beat me to it! You don't have to accept, no worries. But I did think of you. If you want to check out my post, visit my blog.


LK Hunsaker said...

Kara, I actually love my cell in order to be able to reach my kids and vice versa. Mine are old enough to have their own so they can program them both into their phones. ;-) Good thing I can program theirs into mine, also, or I'd never know them.

LK Hunsaker said...

Steph, glad you did one, too. I'll go look. :-)

I love My Fair Lady! In fact, it's one of the records I've just recorded to CD so I can put it on my iPod. Okay, I'm kind of getting the hang of all this new stuff.

Unknown said...

My head is spinning--like that record--trying to keep up with all the gadgets that come on the market everyday, and then there's all those APPs--even a firstgrader has put one on his iPod--The Three Little Pigs he drew and wrote the story.A first-grader--and I barely know what anb APP is. So, you do have a point. I loved my little one-record-at-a-time player that closed up like little red leather suitcase. Adored it. I could play both sizes of records.Most of my records were 45's. I wonder, too, how all this is re-programming young brains, but then, my generation was doomed to hell becasue of Elvis. Celia