Yogi and Spike (AKA… my twin grandsons Cameron and Keenan) recently invaded my man-cave for one of our regular Sunday afternoon attacks. They enjoy watching NASCAR and the Hitler Channel (History Channel). They appear to be fascinated with risk-taking.
Spike especially likes airplanes. The Hitler Channel has some great live shots of WWII (the one that was in all the papers). We gravitate to the History Channel after Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has wrecked or is out of the running in the first third of the races. Like most NASCAR fans, I change the channel after Junior takes his weekly dive.
Yogi and Spike do not care one way or the other. These little guys believe they can do anything. It is such a shame to see their dreams disturbed by the reality of life that inevitably takes over.
I wonder when the doubts set in. So much of it comes from the people around them, their family, their friends and eventually their teachers, coaches and mentors.
There is an often-told story about a Bishop who paid an annual visit to a small religious college. On one particular occasion, the Bishop engaged in a heated after-dinner debate with the college President.
The religious leader suggested that the new millennium could not be long in coming since (in his mind) everything about nature had been discovered and all possible inventions had been made.
The college President disagreed. “In the next fifty years we will experience amazing discoveries and inventions. Within a relatively short time, human beings would be flying through the skies like birds.”
“Nonsense!” protested the Bishop. “Flight is reserved for the angels!”
Interestingly, the Bishop’s name was Wright. He had two sons, Orville and Wilbur. It begs the question: Are there unrealistic dreams or unrealistic time lines?
Yogi and Spike have a whole new world in front on them. Every single day they learn new things that are now second nature to them. The things they will learn in their lifetime are matched only by the magnitude of things they will never know.
For instance, they will never experience land line phones with huge dials. They will never suffer through dial-up internet or long distance calls. They will be texting not talking to their girlfriend who is sitting across from them at dinner.
I suspect they will never have to flag a taxi with Lyft, Uber and others on the horizon. They may even not be required to have a driver’s license with driverless automobiles.
Other than the three ring binders of my columns for the past four decades they may never experience print media, magazines or catalogs. They will not even have a clue what a phone book is. Ironically, printed books are making a huge comeback so the electronic book revolution may be stalled.
Over-the-air television will be extinct with cable dead in the water, thanks to Wi-Fi. CD’s (not the ones offered by banks; they are already extinct!) will go the way of the eight track tape and audio and video cassettes.
They will have no idea that the # sign was once a measure of weight and not a hashtag. They will not have any idea what a Mall Rat is because there will no longer be a Mall to visit.
Thanks to the internet, their privacy will be invaded forever, courtesy of their family first and themselves later. They will ask questions like “Jiddy” (Lebanese for grandfather), “What is a map?” Or, “Jiddy, why do you always ask for ‘coffee-flavored-coffee’ at Starbucks?”
LED will be the only kind of light bulb they will ever know. When they sit with me in the man-cave and watch elephants and Killer Whales on the animal channel they will never know to ask about SeaWorld or Ringling Brothers.
They will never write a paper check and may not even know what cash or coins are as many countries are moving to currency-free systems.
The feats of dominant athletes like Michael Phelps will never be replicated. They will never bother memorizing or writing down mundane things like phone numbers. Spelling and handwriting will be their greatest challenges.
Other than that, life will be pretty much normal.
Michael Aun is a syndicated columnist and writes a weekly column for this newspaper. To contact Michael Aun, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.