15 Things We Thought Were Cutting-Edge That Our Own Kids Would Laugh At Today

Joysticks, answering machines and cassette tapes were cutting edge during our day and age - kids laugh at our technology as they use their smart phones and ipads.

floppy disks  pay phones 

In the 80s and 90s my dad owned video stores. We rented tapes for Betamax and VCRs, we had "state-of-the-art" video game systems and their games for sale. We were cutting-edge. My job (for a buck an hour, plus the freedom it gave my parents to work the store with little guilt), was to demo the games for customers looking to buy them. Yep, I got paid to play Super Breakout and Pitfall and Kaboom, and Super Mario (the original), and Paperboy, and ... I had the awesomest job, like, ever.

When I tell my kids about it, they just laugh. Atari and Nintendo are so archaic, the idea of wanting to play something where your man is not much more than a blip on a screen seems more like punishment than playtime. 

"Guys, did you hear me, I got paid to play video games, do you not think I'm like the coolest mom?"


"What do you mean, nah? I had to take a picture of my Missile Command score and send it in, it was so high.  I was witnessing genius, brilliance, the stuff sci-fi is made of."

"Mom, you're cool, OK? *gives telling wink to sister, as if to say, Ugh Mom is so not cool*


But Gen Xers are cool, we were there at the beginning of the digital revolution, we were there for the start of something, something big, but the technology that was totally groundbreaking then, is totally arcane and obsolete now (embarrassingly so).

Here are a couple of those "modern" Gen X items that our kids would make fun of today:
(Warning, waxing poetic about these things will only make you feel ancient and out of touch.)

1. The clicker that came with your first cable box -- You know, the one that had a rotary dial or two up/down buttons, one for volume and one for channel.  Oh, and a 20 foot cord that you tripped over at least once a day?

2. Joysticks -- I'm thankful they aren't around anymore, as I prefer my kids get their carpal tunnel syndrome the modern way ... through texting.Flash cubes -- when I explained them to my kids they thought I was taking pictures from under a black sheet.

3. Fotomats -- "Wait, you used to be able to print and hold actual pictures in the olden days? Why?" said some child somewhere. "Yep, and we used to walk our pictures over to Instagram and Facebook way back then … it took much longer to post a status update," said I, in response.

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