Old School


At 58, I like to think I’m still a hip, happenin’ guy. But as it turns out, I’m not. Out of 20 “old school” behaviors that a USA Today article says positively no one does anymore, I still do 12.

Possibly 14.

But definitely not more than 16.

Okay, it’s 18.

For instance, I still carry cash, which I keep in this thing I call a “wallet.” And when I want to “buy” something, I go to this other thing called “a store,” where I whip out my wallet, take out some cash (cash, for you Millennials, is what we old people call grimy pieces of green paper with old dudes’ pictures on them) and hand it to a clerk.

Clearly, that’s an act of monetary aggression that will be outlawed soon, based on this exchange I had the other day.

Clerk: “Your total is $17.54, please.”

Me (handing her a crisp $100 bill): “Here you go.”

Her (recoiling as if I’d handed her a live cobra): “Uh, do you have something smaller. Like a twenty, maybe?”

Me: “No, this is all I have.”

Her: “I only have change for a twenty.”

Me: “This is a store. How can you not have change?”

Her: “Because no one pays with cash anymore.”

That’s not true. I do. I also use my cell phone to “call” people in order to talk to them. Usually, these calls are not answered, particularly if I call one of my children, who, being Y Generation members, think actually talking to humans is a bizarre concept. They regularly text me after I call them to tell me so. The last time, my daughter added a frowny-face emoji next to the words, “Really, Dad?”

I listen to compact discs, which the article said “have probably gone the way of the wax cylinder.” I hope not, because CDs are way better than wax cylinders or digital music. I’ve never once heard a commercial on a CD or not been able to listen at all because my internet was acting up. The only thing better than a CD is a vinyl record album. The sound is richer and I love cover art and lyric sheets. You young’uns don’t know what you’re missin’.

After reading the article, I started thinking about all the old school things I still do.

I still prefer real newspapers over digital. I would never buy clothes online. Ever. Because I know whatever I buy won’t fit and I’ll be too lazy to return it. I can’t imagine using a grocery-buying delivery service. I still use a travel agent for big trips. I still watch network TV. I’ve never once used a credit card at the gas pump and never will because I’m convinced that they are all monitored by hackers. I wish newspapers still had movie listings because it was way easier. I think board games are just as much fun as video games. And the idea of doing a crossword puzzle on an app is horrifying. Erasing is half the joy.

This one really dates me, though: I think it’s ridiculous to pay $5 for a cup of coffee and I refuse – positively refuse – to utter the words tall, venti, grande or barista. Most Starbucks clerks are cool with it if I order a small, medium or large. But I did have this exchange once:

Me: “I’ll have a small latte.”

Clerk: “Tall, right?”

Me: “No, small.”

Clerk: “A tall is a small.”

Me: “A small can’t be a tall. A tall sounds large.”

Clerk: “A large is a grande.”

Me: “But I don’t want grande, I want small.”

Clerk: “One tall, then.”

Me (sighing): “Fine. But how big is the tall?”

Clerk: “It’s pretty small.”

Me: “Then give me a medium.”

Clerk: “Venti.”

At that point, I gave up and went with the tall.

Just to tick him off, though, I paid with cash.


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