Op-Ed: I Don’t Understand These Memes

Occasionally I will see these types of memes appear on my social feeds. For the life of me, I cannot figure out the use of these.

Are they designed to prove that the old person that posted it comes from superior generation to today’s kids? These kids today are somehow lazy or inferior? Or do they harken back to a world that only existed on black and white 50’s TV that some people think is the epitome of when America was great.?

Let’s look at this meme (there are hundreds like this by the way) and see what the author might be trying to do here:

“My curfew was streetlights”

That meant of course, when the lights came on, you came inside from playing. I suppose that means that parents were unable or unwilling to purchase watches for their children. That is interesting, because there are other memes today that complain about kids today that can’t tell time on an analog watch face, like the ones that parents apparently were not buying back in the day.

Or maybe kids back then couldn’t tell time on analog watch faces. Just like today. Also, doesn’t it strike you as odd that mom was trying to get you as much out of the house as possible so she wouldn’t have to look after you?

My mom didn’t call my cell, she yelled “time to come in.”

Typically, a woman can yell at about 75 db., which, after 10 feet drops to 60 dbs. and exponentially after that. So, if you were not within a house distance or two, you could not hear your mom yelling.

If you were inside someone’s house playing a non-video game like Monopoly, then you couldn’t hear your mom yelling at all. If she was calling and you heard her, you were probably within 40 feet of her.

Of course, she didn’t call you on your cell phone because they hadn’t been invented yet. If they had been, you she could have called you. I bet she DID call your neighbors on the phone if she couldn’t find you. Didn’t she?

I played outside with friends, not online.

Yes, and you also played inside with friends as well, and you watched TV inside with friends, and you played board games with friends, and cards and strategy games and Dungeons and Dragons.

You didn’t play games online because, like cell phones “online” hadn’t been invented yet. And while you played outside, mom sat inside watching the Guiding Light on TV and took uppers,  downers and booze to get her through her day because she was bored out of her ever-loving mind.

And the only reason you didn’t play online? It wasn’t invented yet. But I bet you had an Atari or Coleco or some other video game as soon as they hit the market.

If I didn’t eat what my mom made me, then I didn’t eat.

That was because mom was the sole source of food preparation in the house. It was her main job. She didn’t work outside of the home, and if she did, you learned to make food for yourself. No one was allowed in the kitchen except her. So yeah, you ate what she made.

Once microwaves and convenience meals came along, that all went out the window. You could make whatever, whenever. And once those uppity women started working on their own, then the idea of the family meal went out the window as well because the traditional dinner time was all messed up as well.

Mom had to go to work because the cost of living became so high that a single parent simply could not afford to keep a family financially afloat.

Hand sanitizers didn’t exist.

Yes, they did. You may not have had them in your house, but they existed. By the way, soap is a hand sanitizer.

You COULD get your mouth washed out with soap.

Ahh, the good old days, when hitting kids and slightly poisoning them with soap was considered “discipline.” Washing your mouth out with soap was punishment for saying something, anything considered vulgar, rude, disrespectful, or any random thing a parent decided to punish you with.

Never mind that this could lead to vomiting, intestinal track irritation, poisoning, or worse. It is amazing how many people long for a time when physically abusing children was considered normal.

I rode a bike without a helmet.

How brave of you. Because bike helmets were not the norm back then. Nor were seat belts. You were truly the greatest generation.  It doesn’t mean you are smarter or better. It means you were more likely to suffer traumatic brain injury if you had an accident.

The kids that suffered injury were sent to “homes” where you couldn’t be bothered to look at them, so you probably didn’t notice them being gone.

Here is another example of a meme wishing for the good old days where injuries to children was looked upon fondly.

Getting dirty was ok.

When did that ever end? Is it now not alright for kids to get dirty? Did I miss that memo?

Click “Like” if you drank water from a garden hose and survived

What the heck does that even mean? Humans today can drink water from garden hoses, bottles, kitchen sinks (now that we are allowed to go in them).

I won’t be clicking “Like.”  Is there a “dislike” button? I won’t be sharing because it is sharing a meme for a past that simply never existed except in Hollywood and in the Right’s fertile flawed imagination. .

How about clicking “Like” on a more realistic meme of the past? How about clicking like if:

  • You had polio and survived and were only slightly paralyzed?
  • Had a scarred face because of smallpox?
  • Weren’t allowed to go into parts of town because “other people” lived there?
  • Went to a school/church/neighborhood that was segregated?
  • Got trichinosis and survived because we didn’t have good food regulation?
  • Your dad was able to slap the waitress on the ass?
  • Your mother “deserved that slapping?“
  • Mom was getting it on with the milkman?
  • Mom was addicted to uppers to get through the day?
  • You had to listen to your parents racist jokes?

Ahh the good old days. Can somebody explain to me why we long for a time that never existed?  The past isn’t all that. Wally and the Beav were fictions.

Just like this meme. Don’t press like. Press “delete.”

Author: Tim Holt

Holt is an educator and writer, with over 33 years experience in education and opines on education-related topics here and on his own award-winning blog: HoltThink. He values your feedback.  Read his previous columns here.


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