Our favorite singers' music has been referred to as being the "soundtrack of our lives."
But if we of Boomer age (or older) really want to reflect on how far we've come, and how long we've been on this Earth, there's nothing that compares to looking at that timeline from a consumer's perspective.
It's not just those Beatles or James Brown hits that shaped and defined us. It was all the things presented to us to use, to watch, to wear, to work. If you're of a certain age, you can't help but look back occasionally and marvel or cringe at how much those things have evolved since your earliest memories of them. That's why some of the most popular Facebook pages are the remember-when ones, and why the most discussed items are items we enjoyed as diners, shoppers and entertainees "back in the day." If you're over 50 and you happen to reflect on some of the things you remember from childhood compared to the versions of those same things today, you can only marvel at how long you've been here.
And you know you've been here a while and seen a lot when:
◼️ You can remember having to manually turn the channels on a tiny, black-and-white TV, and nowadays you're muttering a complaint because you have to aim the clicker just right at your 70-inch flat screen high-dynamic-range smart color TV.
◼️ You can remember when they wouldn't even show a married couple in bed on TV, but now you have to work to keep explicit, nothing-left-to-the-imagination TV images out of your face.
◼️ You can remember when MasterCard was called MasterCharge, and Visa was BankAmericard. And you can remember the commercials concerning the former, when Shari Belafonte ordered MasterCard to "fill my flat" and gorgeous furnishings appeared, and Loretta Swit told MasterCard "I'm starved," and scrumptious food appeared. And, by the way, you can still sing that old MasterCard — "MasterCaaaard, International — so worldly, so welcome" — theme song without checking with YouTube.
◼️ You can remember loving Mrs. Olson from the old Folgers Coffee commercials, Mr. Whipple from the old Charmin commercials and, if not her name, the glamorous, accented woman on the old soap commercial who claimed she was an "ugly teenager," and had the photo to show it. But now you don't know who drives you more nuts: Flo and her male cohort on the Progressive commercials or the various carloads of supposedly adlibbing people who replaced that duo of guys on the Sonic commercials.
◼️ As a person of, ahem, substantial size, you can remember when you were "husky," "stout" or, if they were really trying to flatter you, "queen size" in the clothing world, but the section with this clothing was always buried in the back of the store. But now you're a middle-aged "curvy girl" who shops online anyway and doesn't care where they put the stuff your size in the warehouse.
◼️ You can remember enjoying the ABC Movie of the Week (Hey, I remember "When Michael Calls"! Came out when I was 10!); in fact, you miss ABC's entire Wide World of Entertainment franchise. But now you can't remember the last time you saw a movie on any of the original networks. Or looked for one, since you've got cable and streaming services.
◼️ As a Central Arkansan, you still remember and sing those old commercial jingles from Simmons Bank Commercials ("Welcome to the world of Simmons First National Bank, welcome to our world, yes we're on our waaaa-aaaay") the former Metropolitan Bank ("Metropolitan National Bank, nearby and neighborly bank ...") and, if you're really old, "I'm Stella your personal tellah at First American National Bank ... " but well, geeesh, you can't even recall any of the commercials being run by your current bank. You just know that one bank shows lime-colored bicycles in its ads ...
◼️ You can remember both sets of theme music from the old "Captain Kangaroo" shows — the older, perky symphony version and the latter, equally perky, sorta hokey sung version, with celebrity greetings preceding it. Now you couldn't name a children's show.
◼️ You can not only remember your old rotary phone, you remember it being heavy enough to take somebody out if you brained them with it. Now, your phone is light as a feather, goes everywhere with you, and basically has your whole life in it ... to the point that you can use it to access your favorite "remember when" Facebook page.
◼️ You downright miss those old-school manipulation tactics by the purveyors of consumerism even while you brag about no longer being susceptible to manipulation of the purveyors of consumerism.
Hey, you can see "When Michael Calls" in its entirety on YouTube! Meanwhile, email the Talkmistress' Wide World of Column Entertainment: