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The Times They Are A Changin’

Rick explores today’s social changes, from smartphones to almond milk

I overheard a group of college-age kids Sunday morning sipping lattes and cappuccinos and discussing the social and technological advances they believe separate their generation from all others. On the surface, it’s true, when one considers there is a computer and a smartphone in every life.

One gal asked, “Can you imagine not having a computer?”

The truth is, after giving it some thought, despite all the technological advances of our generation, they are not as significant as the previous ones. We didn’t have smartphones but we had phones and pay phones. We didn’t have Google but we had the encyclopedia and the library.

I believe history will show my generation to be the best and brightest, the one that catapulted us into the modern era.

Growing up, we had televisions and telephones, air-conditioned cars with radios, electric toys, jets that flew around the world, and so on.

Contrast that with a century earlier. If you would have told a typical cowboy that there were planes that flew to Japan:

You: I’m flying on a big metal bird to Japan tomorrow.

Cowboy (spitting tobacco): Why you yeller-belly sap suckin’ piece of vermin. Quit lyin’ or I’ll drill ya full of holes.

You: Maybe I better get an earlier flight.

Cowboy: I reckon you have some of them beans over yonder before you go.

You: Do you have any demi-glace?

Cowboy: You shut yer smartass mouth, Mister. What are you, from New York or somethin’?

Let’s go back 50 or so years. Imagine trying to put almond milk in your kid’s oatmeal.

Kid: Mom, there is no such thing as almond milk.

Mom: There is son, and it’s very very good for you.

Kid: Suppose I say I want peanut milk because I’m an elephant.

Mom: Don’t be a wise guy, Mister. Google the weather and see what it’s like out there.

Kid: Google? Huh? What’s for dinner tonight?

Mom: Veggie burgers and kale.

Kid: I wanna cheeseburger and French fries.

Mom: We don’t eat meat anymore, son.

Kid: Then I’m eating over at Billy’s. His mom makes great burgers!

Mom: Billy’s mom doesn’t live there anymore. She entered into a same sex relationship with her exercise partner.

Kid: Whaaaaaatt???????? And I suppose Billy’s dad . . .

Mom: Yes, he’s studying modern dance with Joey’s dad . . .

It’s true, social change has earmarked our generation, and opened doors previously closed for centuries.

Thirty years ago, a Monday night went something like this:

Husband: Honey, the guys are coming over for the football game. Better get plenty of beer and a bunch of chips and stuff.

Wife: You guys want pizza, or maybe chili?

Husband: Both.

Wife: Ok I’ll whip something up for you.

Cut to the present-day nuclear household that is governed not by the breadwinner but the nurturer.

Husband: Hon, the guys are coming over to watch the football game Sunday.

Wife: They are not. Not until women fill key positions on the teams.

Husband: Come on, honey. It’s a man’s game.

Wife: The Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary is on at the same time. My book club members and I will be watching it.

Husband: Not on my big screen TV.

Wife: It’s communal property. And since I need it to raise the kids, it’s likely the judge would award it to me, as well as your man cave and the rest of your sexist junk.

Husband: Do you think Ruth Bader could really play quarterback?

Wife: Why not?

Husband: She weighs 71 pounds.

Of course, women deserve equal pay and equal rights. We are so fortunate the new rules in play not only eliminate male/female stereotypes but today’s woman can finally stand firmly upon the precipice of a new dawn not behind but with her mate.

We will explore this further in future columns but allow me to leave you with some snippets of the future, moments we, of both sexes, can look forward to:

“Honey, you let the door slam in my face!”

“Oops, I left my wallet in my other pants. Can you pay for dinner, dear?”

“Yeah, mortgages are funny that way. They are due every month.”

“I told junior he could wear your jewelry. By the way, he couldn’t find the diamond earrings.”

“Of course, Betty’s boyfriend Masher can move in. She’s going to be 15 soon.”

Rick Murphy is a six-time winner of the New York Press Association Best Column award as well as the winner of first place awards from the National Newspaper Association and the Suburban Newspaper Association of America and a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com