Katie and I when we were dating.
Sometimes when I really want to freak out the youth at church I tell them about when Sister Craig and I were dating, back in 1995. I weave tales about how I would sometimes, unannounced, just pop in at her apartment. And how sometimes…she wouldn't be there! AND I WOULD HAVE NO IDEA WHERE SHE WAS OR WHEN SHE WAS COMING BACK! So I would have to do something crazy like LEAVE A HANDWRITTEN NOTE, TELLING HER TO CALL ME LATER! And then sometime, later that day, she’d hopefully get that note and call me. And MAYBE I would be at my apartment to answer my land-line phone, and MAYBE I WOULDN'T! Maybe I’d be out, and I actually wouldn't have any communication with her that entire afternoon or even that day! No communication! Like we were animals! And can you even stand the suspense of when we would see each other again?! I know!
Seriously, I sound ancient to these youth when I tell stories of living before every soul had a cell phone with texting or Find a Friend capabilities. And you know what? I totally feel archaic, too! I find my own self sitting there in a daze wondering how we lived so crippled by our lack of technology. I swear in 1995 it was like we had evolved one measly step from chimps playing with sticks. “And then to show Sister Craig I was interested in her romantically, I thumped my chest and handed her a branch that was on fire. She prayed about it, and we got married.”
Doesn't it feel as if society has so quickly adapted to all of us being absolutely accessible at all times, we can’t fathom a time when it wasn't that way? You may even find yourself thinking back on moments when you would have saved time, resources, and emotional anguish if we were all using Smart Phones and texting and apps. I've done that.
But the upside is this, my ancient friend, you also lived out your pubescent years at a time when the entire world didn't have video camera/phones on their person 24 hours a day; and then a medium to immediately distribute that video to the public. How can I know how awesome anything I did was if it wasn't immediately broadcasted and validated by the public! I know, we were animals!
But for those of us who are products from the 70s, 80s, or 90s…I think we are actually grateful for that. I know I am. My family bought a home video camera in 1984. I was 13. THIRTEEN! The only wise decision I ever made in my adolescent awkwardness (besides keeping my crush on Olivia Newton-John a secret) was to completely avoid being on camera. Sure, it was a fascinating new technology, but I knew better. In fact, the only two documented video sightings of me as a teenager is one of me yelling at my cousin to stop videotaping me, and the other is of me at age 16, at a ward Roadshow practice. And people, believe me, it is obnoxious! Probably because I was obnoxious at 16! I am on stage chewing a piece of gum like I’m doing it a favor and supplying more eye rolls than is legally allowed by the FCC.
Think on your own teen years, but imagine being surrounded by friends who are constantly prepared to video whatever foolishness you are prone to! Here’s a list of what you and I were spared by me being a teen of the 80s and as a result, no rogue video floating around:
*I played water polo. Nobody needs to see what that looked like. (This was before the “hip,” less-offensive Speedos you see in the Summer Olympics now.)
*Once during my sophomore year of high school I had to go up to the board to diagram a sentence in my English class. My pants caught on a broken part of a desk as I walked to the front and ripped a hole on the area of my jeans covering my bum. Not cool. It was a YouTube moment waiting to happen…but mercifully, there was no YouTube!
*My first kiss was at a Youth Conference, on a bus, in front of millions of people. Whew, dodged a bullet there.
*My freshman year I played the clarinet. In the marching band. At football games. Nobody beat me up or gave me a wedgie. But they should have. And that would have been on Facebook for sure. (There wasn't the anti-bullying movement that you see nowadays. I guess it was an era when people figured if you were in the marching band then you had it coming. And it’s hard to argue with that logic.)