“I can’t believe – it’s 2014, and we’re STILL dealing with cords!”
That was once spewed in exasperation as a young co-worker was frustratedly struggling with unplugging and plugging in a scanner in the office. Initally, it struck me as a mere “smile out loud” comment. As I thought more, I had to laugh out loud, aka “LOL.”
For one brief moment, I could empathize. As a baby boomer, I had long anticipated flying around in a JETSONS-type copter, and often wonder: “WHY am I still sitting IN traffic ON the ground, IN a CAR?
And here was my Generation Y colleague wondering WHY so many of our appliances and accessories must be tethered to the wall with this archaic rope-thing we call a cord.
Yes, we were in accord – together, questioning the lack of progress within our respective lifetimes. And whose expectations are really more ridiculous? My desire to fly to work in my own little, hovercraft was based on expectations rooted in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. She, on the other hand, has grown up in a largely wireless world. She probably has only a faint memory of a time when telephones were not only limited to one’s house – they were also – yes, tethered to the wall – with a cord.
In a 1960s world where everything had to be plugged into a wall socket, the extension cord was the only thing that gave us any freedom to even move furniture away from a wall, out of a corner. The first wireless miracle I can recall was my transistor radio. How great was that – falling asleep with it on my pillow, taking it with me when riding my bike… Yes, it was the ancestor of the Sony Walkman and a time when Double A batteries would change our world. For my 13th birthday, I got a battery-powered record player. Indeed, it weighed a ton, with those eight D cell batteries it required. But, if you were strong enough, by golley, it was portable and now the BEATLES were outside on the patio with me – plugged in to nothing!
Conversely, in many ways, we may have regressed in that “cord thing.” When I was little, my grandmother had a coffee percolator – there was no cord. It was just a little tin pot that sat on the stove top and brewed coffee that smelled wonderful. Yet, it was replaced by electric coffemakers – wireless to wired. Likewise, the old iron skillet fried up many a pork chops, bacon, sausage, and eggs – before someone invented the electric skillet. Wireless to wired.
Same thing with a stew pot or Dutch oven – replaced by CROCK POT – the same thing, but plugs in – again, wireless to wired.
Then, there were the toys of my generation – baby dolls, little green army men, balls (all kinds), Slinky, board games, hula hoop – all wireless – largely replaced by what? Video games, which, initially had to be… plugged in!
And here is where it gets very ironic. I will probably never live to drive a hovercraft to work (unless I get a job delivering for Amazon.com). Yet, my Generation Y (WHY?) colleague will likely be the type to buy an electric car. And what will that require? That she first plug it in and charge it. Sure, there will be no politically incorrect, nasty usurping of the earth’s natural resources, no stinky petroleum or relocating of endangered frogs or other pests.
But, there will be a cord!
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