(Disclaimer: Yes, this is a "when I was young, we didn't have..." post. I know the idea isn't original. Deal with it.)
• If I were 14 today, I wouldn't have had to watch a football game for 25 minutes to find out the score. Or if I wanted another score, I wouldn't have had to watch until halftime. The score's already there, in the corner, along with the scores of every other game. I wouldn't even have to watch the game at all. I could check ESPN or a billion other sites, along with stats and who had the ball and where they were on the field. I can even check the stats of my fantasy players at the click of a button.
Kids these days don't need to watch a game. They can get the score whenever they want.
• Fantasy players, you ask? If I were 14 today, if the Chiefs sucked (as they most certainly did back then, almost as much as they do today), I wouldn't have to pretend to like another team to drum up some interest in the NFL (Go Redskins!). I would have a fantasy team. Fantasy these days is the only reason I watch the NFL.
Kids these days can like sports even if their teams suck. They have fantasy teams.
• And if I were 14 today, I wouldn't have to wait for the beer commercial with the bikini babe ever year to prep my overactive imagination with a little, um, "me" time. I wouldn't have to trade Sports Illustrated Swimsuit pages with my overactive friends for fresh material or wait for the Sears catalog to come every year or root around in the 7/11 dumpsters for discarded Playboys or make a red-faced purchase of a swimwear catalog. I wouldn't have to rent "10" or "Revenge of the Nerds" and wait for my parents to go upstairs before I could watch it at 12:30 a.m. I'd have Internet porn.
Kids these days don't even have to leave the house for "me" time.
• If I were 4 today, I wouldn't have had to rely on Saturday Morning Cartoons and watch those gay two-hour "preview" shows that revealed all the new SMCs that were coming to suck up soccer time (yay! A 'Pac-Man' cartoon!). Or Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker or violent and semi-racist Tom and Jerry cartoons on a local channel that featured bad furniture commercials through a snowy screen that didn't come in when it rained outside.
Kids these days have channels that show nothing but cartoons all the time. They're not as good as Bugs Bunny, but they kick Chilly Willy's ass.
• If I were 14, I wouldn't have to think that the blobs of light that were shooting at other blobs of light were the most kick-ass thing ever because I could play VIDEO GAMES AT HOME!!!!!1111111. I wouldn't have had to beg my Dad to take me to Malibu Grand Prix to spend my $5 bag of 25 tokens. True, they only cost a quarter back then, but they weren't worth much more than that, either.
Kids these days have video game systems that totally kick ass. No blobs of light allowed.
• If I were 14 today, I wouldn't have had to wait by the radio for hours, listening to the same Flock of Seagulls song over and over, in the hopes of tape recording "Mr. Roboto," and when I did, it usually sounded like a whisper-thin song with an ocean crashing over the guitars and drums. If I wanted to see videos of the song, I wouldn't have to stay up until 3 a.m., my eyes like boulders, to see ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" on "Friday Night Videos."
Kids these days can just download any song they want, anytime, and watch those same videos for free on YouTube. I even remember saying once to a friend, "Don't you wish you could just make any radio play any song you wanted at any time." And I wasn't even thinking of getting a perfect copy of the song and playing it on my crappy Walkman that skipped whenever I, say, breathed. I just wanted to record it off the radio whenever I wanted.
• If I were 14 today, I wouldn't have to pine over a yearbook photo of the girl I was crushing over and fantasizing over the way she signed my yearbook ("Have a cool summer! Hmmm"). I could just go to her Facebook page and stare at the thousands of shots at her in a bikini during her parents' trip to the lake.
Kids these days have all kinds of ways to lurk.
If I were 14 today, I could buy something to drink at my school rather than sneaking out to down a 12-ounce can of pop over lunch or being forced to count to 3 at the water fountain. I could eat Taco Bell at my school. I could chat online with my girlfriend or just call her cell phone or even just text her rather than having to ask her father if she were there and then having to go to the basement just to talk for a few minutes alone on the phone.
If I were 14 today, life would be so much easier.
But I don't know if it would be as much fun.