Ready to feel kind of old? Your kids don’t even know what Atari means. But they also don’t know the joy of entering three letters into a high score. Check out 15 blasts from your past that your kids will never understand…

A world without Starbucks on every corner
Believe it or not, there was a time in history known as BS—Before Starbucks. If you wanted your coffee to go, you actually had to make it at home and, gasp, take your mug with you. It was a simpler time, but certainly not as spill-proof or convenient.


Photo credit: Piutus via Flickr Creative Commons

Playing hours of Atari
After years of pumping coins into games in the arcade, the good folks at Atari answered video gamers’ early 80’s prayers with a console that plugged right into the family TV. To this day, many still attribute their fine motor skills to hundreds of hours logged with Ms. Pacman and Space Invaders.


Photo: Bill Bradford via Flickr Creative Commons

The Walkman
With the headphones on, mom and dad couldn’t hear just how loud Debbie Gibson was belting Only In My Dreams, so everyone was happy. Sure, the Walkman was a little too heavy to be clipped to the waistband of Umbro shorts, but losing our pants seemed like a small price to pay for loud music no one else could hear.


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Make mix tapes for everyone you know
Need to apologize to a friend? Make a mix tape. Not sure what to get your sister for her birthday? Make a mix tape. Hours were spent by the radio, holding the tape recorder up to the speaker so you could hit record the second the DJ finished his intro so you didn’t get his voice on your tape.


Photo credit: wetwebwork via Flickr Creative Commons

Using a phone book
We let our fingers do the walking thousands of times way back when, but phone books were so heavy, even we can admit we prefer Google to ever having to haul those things out again. However, despite their weight, we still spent time looking up our names each year the new White Pages came out because it made us feel famous.


Photo credit: Selmer van Alten via Flickr Creative Commons

Renting VHS movies at video stores
Long before Netflix, video rental stores ruled weekend plans. Back then you had to wait forever for movies to come out on VHS tape. Everyone got killed with rewinding or over-due fees but it was worth it. After all, who in their right mind would give back Back to the Future after only 2 nights?


Photo credit: Mariela M. via Flickr Creative Commons

Watching TV without remotes
Try telling your kids that we didn’t grow up with hundreds of TV channels, that there were no kid-specific TV channels, and that there definitely were not kid-specific TV channels that aired 24-hours in case you were sick in the middle of the night. Then explain how we didn’t have remotes to fast forward through commercials or record episodes because for a long time we didn’t even have remotes. Be prepared to watch their little minds be blown!


Photo credit: John Thornton / foistclub via Flickr Creative Commons

The family video camera
Can you imagine bringing one of those vintage video cameras with you on your next family trip? Your kids: Seriously dad. What is that? It’s almost the same size as me! And why the heck are you carrying it on your shoulder? Doesn’t that hurt? You look like a network TV cameraman. Can you even upload it to Facebook? Can’t you just use your iPhone to record video like everyone else? Jeez.


Photo credit: Melissa Doroquez via Flickr Creative Commons

Dialing a rotary phone
How anyone used these things before the invention of the no-chip manicure is beyond us. It would take at least 5-minutes to dial 9-1-1 and making an international call had to be a total nightmare. Tell your kids this is a phone and we’re pretty sure you’re going to get an eye-roll and a giggle that says, “Come on mom, do you think I’m dumb? You can’t even text on that!”


Photo credit: Nick Doty via Flickr Creative Commons

Saving everything to a floppy disk
Floppy disks were once such a hot commodity, Farmer Ted was willing to bet scoring on them. Um, Sixteen Candles anyone?! Despite the wussy name, they did rule the digital age, however these days, floppys are about as useful to technology as kids are to cleaning up the house.


Photo credit: Gunnar Grimnes via Flickr Creative Commons

Looking up homework in encyclopedias
No, kids, we said encyclopedia. It’s where Wikipedia got the name, however the idea is the same. Right, the same except that we had to haul 100 pounds of encyclopedia books home in our backpacks from the library to write one report because each book was a different letter of the alphabet. Forget old age. Could the encyclopedia be the reason for our aching back?


 Photo credit: Stewart Butterfield via Flickr Creative Commons

Balancing a checkbook…
Few things could stress us out like balancing a checkbook. It was the hardest math we ever had to do. No matter how often we tracked our spending, we always forgot a charge or missed a few dollars. Whatever the reason, it was never balanced and totally traumatizing, so these days we consider online banking one a basic necessity, like oxygen or water.


Photo credit: RikkisRefuge Other via Flickr Creative Commons

Developing film
Raise your hand if you ever accidentally printed the wrong roll of film because you couldn’t remember which photos were on which roll? Who knew that someday we’d actually be able to see photos before we paid to print them? Not to sound old, but kids today do know how good they have it…


Photo credit: Andrew Hitchcock via Flickr Creative Commons

Doggy daycare, pooch hotels, or anything of the pampering canine nature…
We loved our pets too, but the popularity of the pampering the pooch is definitely more of a 2000 and something than a 80’s or 90’s gig. Instead of putting them up at the Petnnisula or ritzy cage-free farms, we had kennels. Yep, we just called them kennels. And while our dogs never had a berry-fresh facial, they still came home tails wagging.


Photo by Christal Yuen

Coming up with a perfect outgoing answering machine message
Like a Facebook status, the answering machine message was basically one’s calling card. Personalizing a pop song to say we were out doing something much better than sitting home screening calls or pretending to answer the phone and then letting the caller know they had been pranked by the machine were two totally awesome burns!


Photo credit: Norbert Schnitzler

What else should we add to this list? 

— Jo Aaron