Three cool things I didn’t have as a kid:
Postage stamps. OK, we had stamps. I’m not THAT old. But the kind you peel and stick instead of lick and stick? Those are a brilliant innovation.
Window clings. The elegantly simple use of static electricity instead of messy adhesives. Nice. These came in quite handy when daughter changed college affiliations three times in less than three years (accepted at Simmons, then decided at the last minute to go to the U of M, then transferred to Occidental* after her freshman year.) Also handy when selling a car.
Refrigerator containers. My mom had a world-class collection of Tupperware. She had to go to these lame-ass parties to get it. And it was expensive. But if you had leftovers (and for my mother, leftovers were treated like sacraments), you had Tupperware. It was apparently the only game in town. Now, the plethora of cheap plastic containers is amazing. Every shape, size, color. We are truly blessed.
Three not so cool things I didn’t have as a kid:
Roundabouts. Sometimes called traffic circles, these suddenly seem to be the darlings of traffic engineers. I have driven on roundabouts in the eastern US and in Europe, so I know they’ve been in use for a very long time, but here in the great middle west, the plains states, where we have bad winters and worse drivers, roundabouts just don’t work very well. Traffic experts like them because they enable a more or less continuous flow of traffic, but I think that’s exactly the problem. At least when cars stop at a four-way stop, they can’t bang into other cars while they are stopped.
Check engine lights. There are two ways to interpret the signal from a check engine light. 1. “EMERGENCY! STOP RIGHT NOW AND CALL A TOW TRUCK! ONE MORE MILE AND I BLOW UP!” or 2. “Hey, buddy, how’s it going? Y’know, there might be some little issue with your car. Maybe the catalytic converter only has, like, 3,500 miles left? Or it could be somebody didn’t screw the gas cap in tightly enough. I don’t know. You might want to get that checked out sometime. Or not.” The worst kind is the intermittent kind. PANIC! Don’t worry. HELP! Never mind. OH MY GOD! It’s okay, really.
Free shipping. Who are they kidding? We all pay for shipping.
* On the Occidental College bookstore web site, the window cling that says simply "Occidental College" in block letters is described as a "rear window strip." Does it not work on the side windows? I know it's not a good idea to put it on the front window. It could be distracting, especially if the driver is approaching a roundabout with the check engine light on.