As I hit a milestone birthday I began contemplating how things have changed. I recently saw a teen eating pistachios and mentioned that they used to be dyed red and received a look that made me wonder if I’d told her this fact in Klingon.
I researched and found out that when pistachios were imported from Iran they were dyed red to mask the unappetizing bruise they received during harvesting. After the 1980s Iranian embargo the United States stepped up pistachio production (minus the bruising) and thus no more need for ginger dyed snacks. It’s sad how today’s youth misses out on red stained fingers, but fortunately, they have Cheetos to stain their phalanges.
This brings me to the fact that elementary teachers receive Christmas gifts more often than high school teachers. It’s almost a surprise when a secondary teacher receives a gift from a student, but it occasionally happens. My all-time, most memorable gift from a student was when a girl ate a bag of Cheetos and then made a set of orange fingerprints for me. I guess it was the thought that counted.
Another thing is increased life expectancy. In my 20s and 30s I never really gave this a thought, but now that I turned 50 it’s a consideration. I recently read that the life expectancy in the Middle Ages was 35. Does this mean someone would be middle-aged at 17 in the Middle Ages? I wonder what a mid-life crises was like back then? Did the 17-year-old dye his graying peach fuzz with Just for Teens? Did he leave his first wife for a 13-year-old trophy bride? Did he reminisce about the good olde days with his buddies? And if so, how far back were the good old days?
One thing I will never understand is fashion. What’s cool one day is mocked in the near future. When I coached basketball there were plenty of hoops to go through to get new uniforms. Before ordering we ran them by the players, the principal and the activities director for full approval. I know other sports go through a similar process. This leads me to wonder who originally thought it would be a good idea to dress 400 pound Japanese Sumo wrestling men in thong underwear? Who approved this? This is a Secret that even Victoria would have kept. Sumo wrestling continues in popularity despite this fashion faux pas, so who says clothes make the man?
My last question is when did people get so judgemental? I think it has gotten easier with the internet. I recently saw that 11 million people had viewed a video of Abbott and Costello performing “Who’s on First” routine. Of the 11 million there were 1,827 people who disliked the video enough to give it a thumbs down. Who are these comedy critics … Siskel and Dipstick? Can they write something funnier? I also saw a video of the Hindenburg blimp disaster and noticed 16,000 people liked that video. What is there to like … The announcer’s despair, the choppy black and white film quality?
I think the internet has made many people think their opinion is more important than it really is. Why do people post photos of food they order at a restaurant? People critique businesses and tourist destinations on websites like Yelp. I suppose it can be helpful for someone to see if a business has predominantly positive or negative reviews but I did think it was too much when I saw the Donner Party Memorial site received good reviews except for the snack bar.
Chad Filley is a local comedian. More information on his events can be found at www.chadfilley.com.