Back In My Day!

We've all heard our elder people go on about how easy modern life is for us. We all get it so easy these days, whereas they had to get to school each day by trudging through snow in thick blizzards. What a crock! But shit, now that I'm in my thirties I'm realising that these days kids today really do get it easy! But back in my day, we really had it tough!

Back in my day, you didn't have these emotional feely TV shows. You had things like The A Team, where they shot 30,000 bullets in 60 seconds without ever hurting anyone or running out of ammo. And the big black man that wore lots of gold jewellery around his neck wasn't a gay icon. There was Knight Rider, where a trendy guy in a leather jacket drove a car that talked and made bad wisecracks. In Miami Vice, the cops wore expensive trendy clothes and drove around in a new Ferrari Testarossa. Back in the '80s the most serious emotional TV shows were A Country Practice and Little House On The Prairie. And who did shoot JR?

Back in my day, there was no such thing as the environment.... you just tipped out that old car engine oil in the garden. Or your neighbour’s garden at night.

Back in my day, there was no internet porno because there was no internet. If you wanted to see pictures of naked women then you had to shoplift a Playboy or Penthouse because you were too young to be allowed to buy one.

Back in my day, you didn't brag about who had the fastest graphics card in your computer, you cared about how your marble collection was looking.

Back in my day, if you saw a girl not wearing a bra then you'd walk around thinking about it non stop all day and was amazed at how daring she was.

Back in my day, you didn't care about Harry Potter books because you were racing off to the shops to get the latest books on how to solve a Rubik's Cube. Anyone that could solve the Cube without a book was a wanker. Your best friend was a flat blade screwdriver, to pull the bloody thing apart with.

Back in my day, computer technical support consisted of pressing Control-Alt-Delete.

Back in my day, you were amazed at how Mr Squiggle could make a picture out of those useless lines.

Back in my day, if you saw a girl's belly button or waist it was because you were at the beach, and she was wearing a bikini.

Back in my day, a VW Beetle or Mini was a cheap car.

Back in my day, a Russian-made car such as a Lada seemed like a good bargain. A new Honda was also one of the cheapest cars around.

Back in my day, if you had a tattoo it was because you were very hairy and ugly, in a bikie gang, and had a criminal record.

Back in my day, you dreamed of owning an Atari. You were really cool if you had one. You were the most popular and envied kid in school if you had an Amiga.

Back in my day, you didn't have internet chat programs. You not only knew what your friends looked like, but you also knew their actual names and whether they were male or female.

Back in my day, females wore earrings and males had tattoos. You could also count how many piercings a woman had - while she was still fully clothed.

Back in my day, a modem was something you saw on a documentary at high school... where someone actually put the handset onto it.

Back in my day, people knew who Basil Brush was and thought that saying boom! boom! in a deep voice was really clever.

Back in my day, you knew the saying “sounding like a broken record” because you knew what a record player actually was.

Back in my day, it was a huge sensation to see photos of Madonna’s tits. You actually wanted to see Madonna’s tits.

Back in my day, you didn't read about Kylie Minogue’s latest boyfriend each day. You just wondered how much longer it would be until she and Jason Donovan would get together. Jason who?

Back in my day, you didn't spend all day typing SMS messages... you'd actually use a telephone to have a conversation with your voice.

Back in my day, you didn't have funny SMSes, you got your jokes by fax. If you had a fax. And they were lousy copies anyway because they were a fax of a fax of a fax of a fax.

Back in my day, you didn't have Xtreme sports that involved people doing somersaults on BMX bikes or in the snow. You were amazed by the tricks that some people could do with their yo-yos.

Back in my day, if you went out with someone then you were it, and your partner wasn't chatting to 53 other potential dates on ICQ, email, MSN, AOL, etc.

Back in my day, you didn't have mobile phones. You'd race home each day to check your answering machine. Whenever you couldn't think what to buy someone for their birthday, you didn't buy them a new mobile phone - you bought them a new answering machine.

Back in my day, if you rang someone and they weren't there, you had to leave a message if they had an answering machine, or otherwise just keep calling constantly until they got home. These days you email or SMS them if their mobile phone is switched off.

Back in my day, you didn't have MacDonalds or any other places that hired lots of teenagers. If you wanted something, you had to suck up to your parents all year and cross your fingers at birthdays and Christmases in the hope that they would buy it for you.

Back in my day, Michael Jackson was black. He was really popular, and he sold music.

Back in my day, choosing a video to rent for the night took about 20 seconds... because there were only about 20 movies to choose from.

Back in my day, Robin Williams was legendary for being Mork. And everyone actually knew who Mork was, and where he was from - Ork. And if you said Nanoo Nanoo then people figured you were an ok person. When you cursed, you would say "shazbutt".

Back in my day, you went on dates with people that weren't divorced, and didn't have three kids from two previous marriages.

Back in my day, you didn't hear about things from web sites and emails, you had to go out and buy special books that were called newspapers. Instead of buying things on eBay you had to look through the classifieds section in these newspaper books.

Back in my day, you didn't have caller ID. If the phone rang then you didn't know whether it was your parents telling you to clean the house before they got home, your friends inviting you to a drinking session, a debt collector or real estate agent, or your 18 yr old contact who bought your alcohol and cigarettes... you just had to answer it!

Back in my day, if you wanted to steal music then you had to steal it... literally! We didn't have Napster and and MP3s! You would keep a blank cassette handy to record your favourite song on the radio, and curse when the radio bloke spoke half way through it. You'd be petrified to even go to the toilet in case your song came on, and when it did come on you broke land speed records jumping over things to get to the cassette recorder.

Back in my day, you didn't have CD burners. You spent three hours on a double cassette player to put together a 45 minute cassette that you'd accidentally record over the next day.

Back in my day, we didn't have mobile phones that we carried with us everywhere. Not only did we have to keep calling people at home, but we didn't have any push buttons on our phones! You had to put your finger in this round dial and turn it. And a redial button? We never even imagined it could be possible!

Back in my day, if you wanted to see a colour TV then you looked through your neighbour’s window, while listening to the sound coming from your black and white set.

Back in my day, one of the coolest bands around was the B52s. You loved their songs about rock lobsters and love shacks.

Back in my day, you could do your own car engine tune up. And if your car battery went flat then you could jump start it with battery cables without worring about blowing any $2000 computer chips.

Back in my day, we didn't have EFTPOS or even any ATMs! If you didn't get cash on Friday out of a place called a bank branch then you were pretty bloody hungry by Monday.

Back in my day, you were really vain about your car if it had a cassette deck and more than two speakers. Your car was posh if it came from the factory with an FM radio.

Back in my day, you didn't go looking for region-free DVD players, you were too busy trying to decide whether to buy a VHS or Beta video player. What’s Beta, you ask?

Back in my day, if you wanted to find the remote control, you just looked for the cord that connected it to the TV or video. Or, your remote control was the pool cue that you reached across the room with.

Back in my day, soft drink came in glass bottles. You would look around the neighbourhood for 1 litre bottles and go and get your 10c deposit refund from the local fish and chip shop. That 10c would buy you 10 one cent lollies!

Back in my day, if you saw a 5c coin on the ground you'd bend over and pick it up, and think how lucky you were.

Back in my day, a packet of cigarettes cost less than an evening meal. Teenagers smoked because they could actually afford to.

Back in my day, instead of speed cameras, you got your speeding tickets on the same day! Hand delivered, on the side of the road, just near where you had been speeding! You would get waved over by a very serious policeman with a speed gun. He would make you confess that you're an idiot that didn't deserve to drive, and then you drove really carefully and slowly for the rest of the day.

Back in my day, we never got paid into bank accounts, we got paid by cheque! A cheque was a piece of paper that came out of a thing called a cheque book. We didn't have instant bank transfers, we had to wait a week for the cheque to clear with the bank.

Back in my day, electronic games consisted of sitting down at the spaccies with a 250 ml can of Coke and a pile of 20c coins. Each game cost 20c, and two dollars would last at least an hour. Oh yeah, and that $2 was a paper note.

Back in my day, if you drove a V8 Commodore then you were a well paid professional person, and if you rode a Harley Davidson because you were a hoon.

Back in my day, you didn't have Google, you had to go to a library and look things up... in things called books! And if the book was out then you had to wait weeks until the person brought it back.

Back in my day, you didn't ask a girl for her ICQ number, email address, or even mobile phone number. You told a girl that you wanted to see her sometime and she gave you her home phone number.

Back in my day, you didn't have 24 hour petrol stations. You spent $10 driving forever to the only place in town that was allowed to be open, so that you could get $20 of petrol.

Back in my day, if you knew anything about computers then you were a nerdy geek instead of a respected professional. And instead of a Subaru WRX, you drove a rusty Datsun 120Y with P plates. You were a computer whizz if you remembered more than two commands on the Microbee, which ran at 1 megahertz.

Back in my day, you didn't have Quake 3, you had PacMan. A little yellow face moved around a maze eating white pills whilst being chased by different coloured ghosts. Then he'd eat a really big pill and turnaround and eat the coloured ghosts. You didn't think anything was odd about that.

Back in my day, you had to put up with all these old people whinging about how easy we had it in our day!

Written by 31 year old (at the time) Phillip McGree in August 2003,
in between writing emails everywhere and taking mobile phone calls about computers. is owned and maintained by Phillip McGree
Phone: 0418 922 500
Perth, Western Australia