Steve Eighinger

At some point, will this period be considered Stone Age II?

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 12, 2018 10:25 am

When I look back, there are days when I wonder how I survived one decade in particular.

All things considered, I think that 10-year period of the 1970s might have been the most interesting of my life. I never really considered how much things have changed from those years until some recent conversations with my oldest grandsons.

Those two grandsons will be entering seventh grade in the fall, and both are extremely tech-savvy. (How savvy, you ask? Let's put it this way, when I have a problem with my phone or home computer, I know I can always call one of them for tech support.)

Those two grandsons are also at the age when they are looking for odd jobs they can do to earn some cash. Their grandma and I try to oblige by offering various forms of yardwork or tasks such as moving heavy objects in exchange for some greenbacks. It's a win-win situation when you're a grandparent.

When the grandsons become a few years older, they'll be looking for actual employment, maybe stocking shelves somewhere or flipping burgers. They're eager for those days. They both want to "grow up."

At times, I enjoy sharing with them stories about my first real job as a part-time sports reporter while in high school back in the early 1970s. I enjoy telling them how I used a typewriter, which always makes them smile. They've never even seen a typewriter and can't imagine life without an iPad or similar device. In their minds, a typewriter was something from the Stone Age.

Compared with today, the 1970s actually were the Stone Age. When I was their age, we had never even heard of personal computers or cellphones, and fast-food restaurants carried only the bare essentials.

Nowadays, I look at those who lived in the 1970s as the pioneers of modern technology. (Just call me Davy Crockett.)

During my first years of full-time employment in the 1970s at a small publication in Ohio, I remember driving to work in a gas-chugging monster of a car, an old Oldsmobile, if I remember correctly. Whatever model that car was, it was the furthest thing from the fuel-conscious -- and much more comfortable -- vehicles of today.

At work or at home in the 1970s, I would make calls on one of the old rotary phones -- another item my grandkids have no clue about. And when I would return home at night, I would watch one of three available channels on television, all of which went off the air at 1 a.m. each night. The TV I was watching in those days was, of course, black and white.

The modern-day explosion of technology began in the 1980s with more advanced cable TV, color televisions in every living room, and compact discs for music lovers. That explosion continued in the mid- to late-1990s with the first personal computers and the introduction of the internet.

And there is no end in sight to this tech revolution, which makes me wonder whether my great-grandkids will one day be referring to the internet's infancy and some of those early cellphones as Stone Age II?