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Old 08-31-2019, 09:06 AM
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Small/subtle human trends & behaviors that have slowly subsided since the 70s/80s.


I'm 52. Every now and then I suddenly realize I don't see something anymore.

Just last week I saw a man jogging without a shirt on. Back in the 1970s it was very common to see a man walking around bare chested. Today it's a very rare occurrence.

Mustaches were very common among men in the 1970s. I think only state troopers have them now.

Perhaps it's my imagination, but I swear women's facial expressions have changed over the past 40 years. Women used to smile more. Now the "stone/cold/serious" face seems to be the norm.

The most obvious one, of course, is cigarette smoking. I'm glad that's gone away.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:14 AM
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Confirmation bias
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:46 AM
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Here's one: Flat tires. Tire technology has become so good, they're much more rare than they used to be. I had one friend years ago whose tire was so worn down you could see the steel belting*, and yet it didn't go flat. I've only ever had one flat, and that was because, unbeknownst to me, a screw penetrated the tire, and then I parked with the tire in just the right position to have the screw open a small hole for the air to leak out.

As a kid in the 70s, I remember my dad changing tires far more often than I ever have. "Oh, no, a flat!" used to be a standard plot point in movies and TV. Not so much any more.


*Yes, his family were just that clueless about cars. I'll tell you the battery light story some other time.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:01 AM
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Good one. As a kid on a family road trip ("vacation"), I'd often see cars pulled over. A lot of people working a jack, trying to change a tire on the uneven shoulder of the road. And the ubiquitous overheating. Just like an old cartoon; the hood up, steam escaping from the engine as the dad wrapped his hand in a rag and tried to get the radiator cap off. We carried a milk jug full of water just in case.

And if a car turned 100,000 miles? Everyone in the neighborhood knew it. "Hey, see that old Plymouth? That's Mr. Avanti's. It's got over a hundy thou!" And at 99,999 the family would pile in the car, other kids would jump in, all to watch the odometer turn over to all zeroes (Chevy never expected our station wagon to make it that far, only 5 digits on the odometer).
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:08 AM
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Drunk acceptance
Community organizations and clubs
Community showering
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
Perhaps it's my imagination, but I swear women's facial expressions have changed over the past 40 years. Women used to smile more. Now the "stone/cold/serious" face seems to be the norm.
I don't remember most of that period--I'm only 40. However, I have found out through personal experience that if you make eye contact and smile at people first, a rather large percentage of the time they'll return the smile.

One thing that I do remember is leg warmers. I liked (and still like) some things about 80s fashion, but I never understood how leg warmers were ever considered sensible or desirable in any way. They just looked goofy.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:20 AM
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:24 AM
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Here's one: Flat tires. Tire technology has become so good, they're much more rare than they used to be. I had one friend years ago whose tire was so worn down you could see the steel belting*, and yet it didn't go flat. I've only ever had one flat, and that was because, unbeknownst to me, a screw penetrated the tire, and then I parked with the tire in just the right position to have the screw open a small hole for the air to leak out.
Yeah, that's a good one. I remember when "my new car doesn't have a spare tire" meant that it didn't have a full size spare that you could put on and leave there for as long as you wanted but instead came with a donut. My current car (Civic) is my first car to not come with a spare at all. Just some fix-a-flat, a pump and the phone number for Honda's Roadside assistance.

Another one is having to jump cars. Even in the early 2000's I always had jumper cables in my trunk. Chances are, if you didn't, you knew someone that did. Getting your car jumped in a parking lot (even if you didn't own cables) usually meant asking one or two people.
Now, no one has them and no one really needs them. I don't know if batteries or alternators are better or things use less power or, I suspect, because the car is smart enough to shut everything off after a few minutes. Leaving your trunk open overnight doesn't mean a dead battery in the morning.

And, of course, even in some of my older cars that still have issues, I keep a jump pack around.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:26 AM
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Coming home and checking the answering machine for messages. That popped into my head as I returned from a bike ride the other day - it used to be the thing you did when you got home. Who called? Are friends getting together tonight? Did I get that job offer?
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:26 AM
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Here's one: Flat tires. Tire technology has become so good, they're much more rare than they used to be. I had one friend years ago whose tire was so worn down you could see the steel belting*, and yet it didn't go flat. I've only ever had one flat, and that was because, unbeknownst to me, a screw penetrated the tire, and then I parked with the tire in just the right position to have the screw open a small hole for the air to leak out.

As a kid in the 70s, I remember my dad changing tires far more often than I ever have. "Oh, no, a flat!" used to be a standard plot point in movies and TV. Not so much any more.


*Yes, his family were just that clueless about cars. I'll tell you the battery light story some other time.
Anyone know what exactly has changed with tires? Flats seemed more common even in the 90s. But I haven't seen actual data.

With cell phones, there's an expectation of people being contactable at nearly all times now. Hell if you got a flat or broke down back then, getting help was often difficult.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:47 AM
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Coming home and checking the answering machine for messages.
You can even take that one step further back within the timeline given by the OP: flat out missing calls because no one was home, someone was home but outside, or someone was home but on the phone (pre-call waiting). It was just part of life that sometimes you couldn't be reached by phone. Somehow, we all survived.

Side note, though, since you mentioned job offers: I once had the offer waiting for me on my answering machine when I got back home from the interview. I was pretty damn cool.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 08-31-2019 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:00 AM
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My favorite is that in the 1970s you called places, but now you can actually call people.

1972:

<ring-ring!>
Is Mom there?
No, I think she's at Aunt Betty's.

<ring-ring!>
Aunt Betty? Is Mom there?
Sorry, honey, but she went to work.

<ring-ring!>
Hello?
Mom?
Yes, honey...

Now:

<ring-ring!>
Is Mom there?
You're calling my cell phone, dipshit. Who do you think is answering this call?
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
Perhaps it's my imagination, but I swear women's facial expressions have changed over the past 40 years. Women used to smile more. Now the "stone/cold/serious" face seems to be the norm.
I think it's the teenaged girls that have changed the most. They used to want to date me all the time in the 1980s, rarely happens now.

Last edited by Riemann; 08-31-2019 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:18 AM
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I think it's the teenaged girls that have changed the most. They used to want to date me all the time in the 1980s, rarely happens now.
You keep getting older, they stay the same age.
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Old 08-31-2019, 03:09 PM
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I was thinking about something related to this last night when reading an article about the (no, really this time!) release of the Galaxy Fold and how mind-staggeringly expensive it was going to be at $2000. The Gordon Gekko phone? That was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, which cost $4000 in 1983, the equivalent of more than $10,000 today.
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Old 08-31-2019, 03:21 PM
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I mentioned this in another recent thread. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in 1975. There's an exchange in the movie where Frank asks Brad if he has a tattoo. Brad indignantly says no. Frank then turns to Janet and asks her is she has one.

That was the punchline. Back in the seventies, the idea of a woman having a tattoo was so unlikely it was a joke just to ask her if she had one.
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Old 08-31-2019, 03:27 PM
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Old 08-31-2019, 03:33 PM
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Kids not playing outside is the most notable to me. Even playgrounds look empty. Those big towers of rope and molded plastic are meant for climbing and sliding, not just standing around like public artworks.
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Old 08-31-2019, 03:33 PM
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I mentioned this in another recent thread. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in 1975. There's an exchange in the movie where Frank asks Brad if he has a tattoo. Brad indignantly says no. Frank then turns to Janet and asks her is she has one.

That was the punchline. Back in the seventies, the idea of a woman having a tattoo was so unlikely it was a joke just to ask her if she had one.
There's a good one in Silkwood. It's a serious movie but it had one big laugh line. The plant workers are invited to fly to Washington DC to testify. There were a bunch of hicks who had never been on an airplane before. After they are served their in flight meal, one of the men reaches for his wallet to pay the flight attendant. Hahaha, he thought that you had to pay for an airline meal.
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Old 08-31-2019, 03:35 PM
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Hitchhiking used to be very common and now it is almost nonexistent. I was driving west on I-10 between Beaumont and Houston a few weeks ago and saw a guy standing at the end of an entrance ramp holding a cardboard sign that read "El Paso". He had a full beard, baggy clothes, and a duffel bag. I thought I was in a Twighlight Zone episode and had driven back to 1975.
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Old 08-31-2019, 04:47 PM
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Kids not playing outside is the most notable to me. Even playgrounds look empty. Those big towers of rope and molded plastic are meant for climbing and sliding, not just standing around like public artworks.
This is quite noticeable here. There's a wooded area with a creek next to us. The kids used to play there a lot. They beat down trails and such. Now, the only trail is one the deer use. There was a time the kids used to cut thru the yards and then thru the woods to get to the other side of the neighborhood. But they don't even do that any more.

I can't even yell at the kids to get of my lawn anymore.
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Old 08-31-2019, 04:50 PM
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You keep getting older, they stay the same age.
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Old 08-31-2019, 04:56 PM
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Jukeboxes. They used to be everywhere, but I see them less and less. Pinball machines and arcade games too.
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Old 08-31-2019, 05:04 PM
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Drunk acceptance
Foster Brooks, eh?
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Community organizations and clubs
Stronger than ever. Rotary, Elks, Shriners, historical societies, neighborhood associations, etc...
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Community showering
Really? Where in LA or the USA was that a thing?
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Old 08-31-2019, 05:48 PM
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Stronger than ever. Rotary, Elks, Shriners, historical societies, neighborhood associations, etc...
"Stronger than ever" is likely not, in fact, the case, for most fraternal and social organizations. Most of them peaked in the 1950s and 1960s, and have seen a steady decline in membership for decades, and few younger people have interest in joining organizations that seem to be more oriented towards their parents and grandparents.

Examples of membership decline numbers, from the articles cited below:
- Freemasonry membership is down by 3.8 million from the late 1950s
- The Elks are down from over 1.6 million in 1980, to 800,000 in 2012
- Membership in the Shriners is down 27% since 1979
- Membership in the Jaycees is down 44% since 1979
- Rotary Club membership is down 17% since 1995, and only 10% of Rotarians are under age 40

https://www.jconline.com/story/news/...ship/16874977/
https://thesociologicalmail.com/2018...out-over-time/
https://wotsmqt.com/service-clubs-dying/
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Old 08-31-2019, 05:51 PM
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Perhaps it's my imagination, but I swear women's facial expressions have changed over the past 40 years. Women used to smile more. Now the "stone/cold/serious" face seems to be the norm.
I hadn't noticed really( I'm not terribly observant about people in general these days ). But now that you mention it there is a possibility that there might be a genuine small cultural shift here. If so it is a good one IMHO.

I do recall that there seemed to be a meme where young girls were taught to "smile more" by their parents as an expression of good manners. I remember over-hearing little girls being told that by their mothers. Often as not it ended in a rebellious scowl, but sometimes a grudging and fake smile. Contrarily I've never heard that addressed to a little boy. So it may have been something programmed into the young girls that has faded away like other archaic mannerisms. "Show a happy face to the world and always wear clean underwear!"

The clean underwear is probably still a reasonable ask . But nobody owes the world a phony smile.

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Where in LA or the USA was that a thing?
Don't know what is meant by community in this instance. But as we've discussed on this board before forcing kids to shower as a group in High School was still definitely a thing back in the early 1980's when I was enrolled.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 08-31-2019 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:00 PM
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Examples of membership decline numbers, from the articles cited below:
- Freemasonry membership is down by 3.8 million from the late 1950s
- The Elks are down from over 1.6 million in 1980, to 800,000 in 2012
- Membership in the Shriners is down 27% since 1979
- Membership in the Jaycees is down 44% since 1979
- Rotary Club membership is down 17% since 1995, and only 10% of Rotarians are under age 40
Another thing to bear in mind here is that the U.S. population has been steadily growing. If any of these organizations had simply been keeping pace with U.S. population growth, their membership would have been growing substantially. The U.S. population has grown by:
-> 82% since 1960
-> 45% since 1980
-> 23% since 1995

Given that, it's clear that membership in most of these sorts of organizations is withering.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 08-31-2019 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:02 PM
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Don't know what is meant by community in this instance. But as we've discussed on this board before forcing kids to shower as a group in High School was still definitely a thing back in the early 1980's when I was enrolled.
So how do they shower now? In individual cubicles? Virtual H2O?
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:06 PM
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Good one. As a kid on a family road trip ("vacation"), I'd often see cars pulled over. A lot of people working a jack, trying to change a tire on the uneven shoulder of the road. And the ubiquitous overheating. Just like an old cartoon; the hood up, steam escaping from the engine as the dad wrapped his hand in a rag and tried to get the radiator cap off. We carried a milk jug full of water just in case.


Ah, yes, overheating is another one!

It happened once in my 1997 Ford F-150, after some major component in the cooling system actually cracked, and needed to be replaced.

It almost happened once on a trip, driving a rented SUV. Climbing out of Death Valley, in July, with near-50C external temperatures, and (as I found out after pulling over to figure out why the temperature was spiking) a large sheet of paper under the hood, covering just about all of the radiator*, so there was virtually no airflow to cool it down. So I spent most of the day driving through Death Valley like that, and only had a problem when we started driving uphill. That's pretty amazing when you think about it.

*I really don't know how it got there, but it must have been there from before I picked the SUV up at the rental place. The chance that it ended up so perfectly covering the radiator by accident is basically zero. The best I can figure, a mechanic must have put it there for some reason, and forgotten to remove it after they were done.
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:08 PM
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Mustaches were very common among men in the 1970s. I think only state troopers have them now.
I assume, by this, you mean "mustaches with no beard." Facial hair, in general, was "out" in the 1980s and 1990s, but has certainly seen a big comeback in the last decade -- however, in most cases, it's a full mustache+beard.

But, don't tell Aaron Rodgers that.
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:10 PM
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With reference to Kenobi65's post #25, I don't doubt that national membership in those organizations has declined. But locally, in my neighborhood, it has not happened, at least over the last 20 years. It's always possible that my neighborhood is 20 years behind the times (and it won't be the first time).

With reference to neighborhood associations, membership locally has increased over the past 40 years, probably because the number of residents and homes has increased, and formerly summer residents have been converted into year-round ones.

So I guess the moral of the story is: national trends and behaviors aren't universal, and generalizations, including this one, are always wrong.
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:16 PM
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With reference to Kenobi65's post #25, I don't doubt that national membership in those organizations has declined. But locally, in my neighborhood, it has not happened, at least over the last 20 years. It's always possible that my neighborhood is 20 years behind the times (and it won't be the first time).
I suspect that fraternal and service organizations still have some regional strongholds where they're doing all right (and, having grown up in Green Bay, it doesn't surprise me that it's the case in northern Wisconsin where you live). My WAG is that it could be a combination of smaller, more close-knit communities, and communities with relatively low turnover (i.e., few people moving in, or moving out).

But, on the national scale, the steep decline of groups like the Elks, the Masons, and the Kiwanis are pretty well-documented.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 08-31-2019 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:44 PM
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Ties are going out of fashion for men, even at formal events like weddings. At the last two weddings I've been to (one in Australia, one in Lithuania), about half the men were not wearing a tie. (And I forgot to pack a tie for the Lithuanian wedding, where my son was getting married, so I had to buy a cheap tie at the market in Vilnius.)
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:59 PM
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Ties are going out of fashion for men, even at formal events like weddings. At the last two weddings I've been to (one in Australia, one in Lithuania), about half the men were not wearing a tie. (And I forgot to pack a tie for the Lithuanian wedding, where my son was getting married, so I had to buy a cheap tie at the market in Vilnius.)
For that matter, here in the U.S., men's suits are certainly far less common now. Up until the 1990s, business attire was the norm in professional environments; many businesses which had been "business attire" fairly rapidly changed over to "business casual" 20 years ago, more or less. Certainly, there are still some professions and firms which expect men to wear suits, but even then, it's often been loosened -- for example, many lawyers now only wear a suit and tie when they actually go to the courthouse.

A generation or so ago, most men probably owned at least a single suit, which they wore to weddings and funerals, if nothing else. What I've observed is that, while this may still be the case with the upper-middle-class and above, I suspect that many men, now, don't own a single suit (nor a tie).

Case in point: two years ago, I went to a memorial service for the mother of two friends of mine, in a small town in northeastern Wisconsin. As my wife and I discussed what we'd wear, I said, "well, I'm going to wear a suit, because it's a memorial service, and that's what I do. But, other than me, I will guarantee that you'll only see one other suit there -- Brad (one of the sons of the deceased) will be in a suit, because he's a sharp dresser, but that'll be it...and you'll see at least one person wearing something with a Packers logo on it." My prediction was exactly right, down to the Packers logos.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 08-31-2019 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 08-31-2019, 07:12 PM
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So how do they shower now? In individual cubicles? Virtual H2O?
"Not at all" apparently is increasing common, with occasional exceptions for swim days in schools that have a pool( and even then sounds like kids rinse off with their suits on, which was verboten by some teachers at my school ). Which I don't find surprising because even in my day many kids tried to dodge it because they found it embarrassing. To the point where sometimes gym teachers would stand by the locker-room doors and check if you had wet hair as you left.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:13 PM
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I used to have tune-ups done on my car every three months or so.
I used to pay all my bills through the mail.
I used to balance my checkbook every month.
I had a lot more paper.
Other than my phone numbers, I know less than five phone numbers - and one of them is 867-5309.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:33 PM
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I went mail something the other day. I didn't wanna drive across town to the main post office. Where are all the mail boxes?
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:41 PM
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Community showering
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Don't know what is meant by community in this instance. But as we've discussed on this board before forcing kids to shower as a group in High School was still definitely a thing back in the early 1980's when I was enrolled.
Interesting that by the 1980s it might be considered something that one was "forced" to do. When I was in high school in the 1960s and college in the 1970s it was just considered a matter of course that males at least would shower communally after athletic activities. Males were not supposed to be embarrassed by being naked around other males in the locker room or showers. If you were, you were considered to be a bit of a sissy. (And if the famous opening scene from Carrie is a guide, girls showered communally too.)

In a thread on the subject, I've mentioned that when I was in college at Cornell in the early 1970s men's swimming classes were held in the nude (only the instructor wore a suit), and suits were optional during men's hours at the pool at the gym. From the thread, this was not unusual at the time or in earlier decades.

I find it very interesting that while society has become much more open about discussing sexuality, and nudity is more acceptable in general magazines and in movies, people seem to have become much more modest/prudish about their own nudity in settings like locker rooms and public showers.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:02 PM
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I went mail something the other day. I didn't wanna drive across town to the main post office. Where are all the mail boxes?
Located next to the payphone booths, most likely.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:37 PM
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I suspect that many men, now, don't own a single suit (nor a tie).
I know I don't. Haven't worn a suit or tie since (maybe?) my high school graduation.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:43 PM
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Then friendly wave back when you let someone cut in front of you in traffic.


This on doesn't fall in the time frame but I am SO glad it went away: RINGTONES!! [Or clips of people's favorite songs whenever their damn phone rings]
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Old 09-01-2019, 12:07 AM
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Foster Brooks, eh?Stronger than ever. Rotary, Elks, Shriners, historical societies, neighborhood associations, etc...Really? Where in LA or the USA was that a thing?
Alcohol was much more prevalent in the workplace and popular media until around the advent of MADD and drunk driving awareness.

Community associations are not nearly what they used to be. I didnt say they were dead or even dying, but a far lesser percentage of the population belong to them.

Showering in oublic schools used to be a thing. Swimming naked in public pools used to be a thing.
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Old 09-01-2019, 12:24 AM
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What about smoking? In the '70s, there were more places one could light up a cigarette then where smoking was prohibited. One of the last cigarette commercials on TV was for a brand of “100s”, which were so stunningly long that the elevator door closed the tip of the cigarette off. That was in the early '70s, when, apparently, on could still smoke on an elevator. And, a little more recently, I heard someone lamenting that it has become much more difficult to spot small cabin leaks in the rear part of the fuselage.
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Old 09-01-2019, 02:11 AM
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This on doesn't fall in the time frame but I am SO glad it went away: RINGTONES!! [Or clips of people's favorite songs whenever their damn phone rings]
When did they go away?
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Old 09-01-2019, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
I went mail something the other day. I didn't wanna drive across town to the main post office. Where are all the mail boxes?
Put you zip code into www.mailboxmap.com and it'll show you a map of nearby mailboxes. Click on them and it shows pickup times.
  #46  
Old 09-01-2019, 03:15 AM
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Adjusting Vertical Hold on your TV set.
Busy signals. I heard one yesterday for the first time in years.

About the smiling thing: I smile at almost everyone I pass on the street. I notice people who seem to be over 40 smile back much more often than younger folks, who rarely make eye contact. It was just about 40 years ago that the whole stranger-danger, kids-on-milk-cartons hysteria started. I think we scared the smiles out of 'em.
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Old 09-01-2019, 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Santos L Halper View Post
Put you zip code into www.mailboxmap.com and it'll show you a map of nearby mailboxes. Click on them and it shows pickup times.
That site can be wildly wrong. Checking locally, besides mislabeling at least two street names, it shows/lists one mailbox about 6 blocks from where it actually is, and doesn't show one mailbox that I use frequently at all. So beware.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:57 AM
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Waiting in line at the bank to deposit your paycheck and get cash for your pocket, and having to do so between 9 or 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. Now paychecks are automatically deposited, you can use a debit card instead of carrying cash, and you can get cash out of ATMs.
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Old 09-01-2019, 08:01 AM
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I find it very interesting that while society has become much more open about discussing sexuality, and nudity is more acceptable in general magazines and in movies, people seem to have become much more modest/prudish about their own nudity in settings like locker rooms and public showers.
I think this has a lot more to do with people hating the way their bodies look, as opposed to any notion of being naked is shameful, or prudery.

Last edited by Two Many Cats; 09-01-2019 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 09-01-2019, 08:08 AM
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Case in point: two years ago, I went to a memorial service for the mother of two friends of mine, in a small town in northeastern Wisconsin. As my wife and I discussed what we'd wear, I said, "well, I'm going to wear a suit, because it's a memorial service, and that's what I do. But, other than me, I will guarantee that you'll only see one other suit there -- Brad (one of the sons of the deceased) will be in a suit, because he's a sharp dresser, but that'll be it...and you'll see at least one person wearing something with a Packers logo on it." My prediction was exactly right, down to the Packers logos.
This was my experience with the funeral of both of my grandmothers, right down to the Packers logo, except that not even the minister was wearing a suit.

Lets see, in the last 10 years, there have been the two funerals, a wedding (preacher, groom, and groomsmen wore suits also), 3 court appearances, at least one of which I beleive my wearing a suit had a favorable impact for my side, since the judge verbally noted that I was the only one wearing a suit (who wasn't a lawyer or court officer) and one meeting with my attorney, myself, my exwife and her attorney. He hilariously kept insisting that I MUST have just OODLES of money because I wore a 3 piece suit to the meeting. He simply would not beleive that the suit was a gift from my wife and her sister, was a decade old and had been worn a grand total of 8 times including that meeting. I wore a suit! Nevermind that it's the only one I have, I wore it and they were going to find and take half of that money I had hidden.

Such is the power of a suit these days.
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