Home Columns Humor – The Good Old Days vs. Current Bad Old Days
Humor – The Good Old Days vs. Current Bad Old Days

Humor – The Good Old Days vs. Current Bad Old Days

By Bill Frazer
The trouble with me is that I think too much. I sit on my bike every afternoon for an hour plus making my 10 mile route. There is nothing to occupy my mind during this period except to think about important things like whether corn tastes better on or off the cob. That’s important!

The other day as I rode along I got to thinking what a friend said about our current generation was going to “hell” and we need to revive “the good old days”. After I returned home, I went on line to view photographs of how some families lived during “the good ole days” . It was heart breaking to realize how a large percentage of the population had to live back then. There are a lot poverty stricken people today, but thanks to the generosity of the people of America, few are starving, without shelter or suffering without any medical help. This was not so during my period of growing up, and looking back, I can see that suffering was wide spread for the down and out in early America. I am glad that we as a nation of caring people can do something about it.

I remember being annoyed when I was notified that I should print out my own bank statement rather than the bank having to print it and mail it to me. Listen, the current banking system is wonderful even to an old grouch like me. I never have anything but a few dollars on person. Yet I can buy whatever I want and whip out the card to pay for it. As long as I pay all the charged amount at the end of the month, I am using the bank’s money for free. Not only that, I accumulate points that allow me to get a discount on some purchases. In the “good old days”, if you did not have the cash-on-hand to make a purchase, you were out of luck. The down side of this is that your wife can swipe a credit card as good as you can.

Another thing, in the “the good old days”, there was no such thing as an ATM. If one needed cash when the bank was closed, forget it. Also, it was impossible to find out what your balance was when the bank was closed.

Yeah, and what about all this climate control hoopla and how we did not pollute the atmosphere in the “good old days”? I can remember in winter at times when the air in the city of LaFayette was stifling. The smoke from all the chimneys burning coal and wood and the industry powered plants belching smoke caused the air in the towns to be suffocating and even burned your eyes. Along that line, I recently saw a picture of a city in China and the people were all wearing masks that would filter the smog and allow them to breathe.

I am reminded of the old country hit “Swinging Doors” by Merle Haggard. (“This Old Smoke Filled Bar Is Something That I Am Not Used To”) It was not often, but when we did, a trip in the family car with my Dad at the wheel was the ultimate in air pollution. He smoked a pack of Lucky Strikes a day and while riding in a car with him, everyone else in the car was breathing air that was blue with cigarette smoke. This was pretty much true as well on all public conveyances and especially in bars.

It has not been that many years ago that the water in the Chattahoochee River in the Spring ran blood red. It was the result of erosion of soil of newly plowed fields that filled the streams and on into the river. It you don’t believe it, wade out into the river and you will find a mushy layer of red clay in the bottom of the river today. Most of the major farmers today use “no till” which does not allow the soil to erode. There is very little bare land as some form of vegetation covers the soil protecting the environment.

In rural Alabama in earlier years, a diet of fresh vegetables was non-existent in winter. Of course we had what the family had canned, but it did not supply all of the vitamins and minerals we needed in our diet. As a result, it was common for the population to have “risons”. This was an infection under the skin, a lot of times in the arm pit, and (pus) was formed. It hurt like the dickens until the sore ripened to the point that one could open the scab and get the yellow fluid {pus) out of the sore. I never hear of this malady in these days of our “bad old days”.

As for sanitary conditions during the “good old days”, it was not common place. One thing for sure, one never went into a restaurant to eat and pulled out anti-bacterial spray. In these “bad old days” all food establishments are inspected regularly for sanitation and the score is posted on the wall for the public to see. Handling food with plastic gloves? None of that in the “good old days” as there were no plastic gloves and one would hope the food handler washed his hands after a trip to the bathroom.

Today in the age of the “bad old days”, one can get on a jet in nearby Columbus and be transported to the West Coast in the matter of a few hours. In the “good old days”, one could get on the train in West Point or Opelika and maybe reach the West Coast within two days. But look at all the pollution a jet creates by burning a thousand gallons of jet fuel. Listen, a coal burning locomotive created more air pollution along its route than a fleet of jets.

Maybe our current “bad old days” is not so bad after all. However, we do have current problems (government dependency, national debt, divided politics) that couldn’t be solved from a thousand bike rides from a curious old man. So what’s my tip? Don’t expect to ride your bicycle for an extended period of time with your mind in limbo and attempt to solve all the world’s problems! Hummm! Maybe the multi- tatooed, pierced nose and tongue, smart mouth grocery check out clerk with the dyed purple hair was right when she told me that the current entitlement society had emerged to rescue Americans from the “good old days”.