11 Things That (Inexplicably) Continue To Exist
As technology advances, it can be a bit sad to say goodbye to some of the old things. But there comes a time and place when you have to accept that your powdered wig is no longer cutting it. Here’s 11 “things” that are refusing to go quietly into the night. Oh, and I don’t have things like “world hunger” and “child slavery” on here, though certainly those things should not exist, either.
Yes, you can still buy these dinosaurs. Just ask Dennis Duffy (Liz Lemon’s on-again/off-again boyfriend on 30 Rock). “Technology is cyclical” the so-called Beeper King tells a bemused Liz Lemon. Umm, good luck with that buddy. Th Barksdale crew tried using these things in the first season of The Wire, as well. I personally never understood how the hell beepers worked, despite seeing them in countless movies over the years. Somebody calls your beeper, which lets you know to go to the nearest phonebooth or whatever and call that person back? That sounds practical.
10) Phone/Calling Cards
You know something is outdated and useless when Michael Scott is hawking them in the cold open of The Office. I guess people use these things to make international calls or something, but really? Phone cards? I can’t imagine anyone walking into a one of those shady little conveince stores that still sells phone cards, handing the guy behind the counter money, and saying “One phone card, please.” Come to think of it, they’re like the the Pogs of the communication world.
9) The United States Senate
I don’t want to go into a rant here, but the Senate is something that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Originally put in place due to the small states bitching about lack of representation, we now have a situation where living in a smaller state like Wyoming gives you a hell of a lot more power to affect U.S. policy than someone living in California. Think about this: the senators from the twenty-six smallest states, which represent about 18 percent of the total population of the U.S. have th ability to stop laws from happening. And yet this is supposedly a government of, by, and for the people. What it essentially means is that your opinions matter less if you live in a larger state. Will this ever change, though? Of course not, because in order to get it changed, those aforementioned senators from the smaller states would have to agree to it, and why would they want to give up power?
Phone Booths/Pay Phones
Unless you’re Clark Kent and you’re looking to change into your Superman suit, phone booths and pay phones are probably having zero impact on your life. Yet I still see them on street corners every now and then. Why? I’m not even sure if these things are functioning anymore; maybe the phone companies want to keep them around as relics of a simpler time.
I guess no one bothered to tell the founder of this outdated website about Facebook. How else could you explain its continued existence. What would the chain of events be that leads someone to use this site? Say you really want to find one of your old high school buddies. You check Facebook, no dice. You ask all of your old acquaintances for contact information, yet none of them can help you. What do you do now? It’s easy, just sign up for classmates.com. I’ll just pay them a small monthly fee, and hope and pray that my buddy is on here.
I was at the store the other day and I saw some guy (a young guy too, he was probably like 21!) buying 15 blank VHS tapes. Just a baffling experience. I said to him “I didn’t know they still made these” which must have offended him. But really, when was the last time you watched anything on VHS? Occasionally during my job as a substitute teacher a teacher will leave behind an old VHS tape of something, and I’m always stunned by how inefficient they are, in particular the rewind/fast forward function. And then there was the “tracking” button, which never, ever worked for me, yet supposedly existed to control the amount of static on the television, or something like that. Bad times.
5) Pocket Calculators
Certainly there’s still a need for specialized calculators, if only for use in your Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry class or to play some pretty decent games (anyone remember that football game that used to come on graphing calculators?). But why anyone would plot down money on a regular, pocket-sized calculator is beyond me. Most phones have decent calculators, and if you don’t want to use that then why not use a computer?
4) Floppy Disks
Like phone booths, floppy disks are another relic from a simpler time. As late as sophomore year of high school, I can, somewhat embarrassingly, using a floppy disk. I remember the looks of scorn as I tried to save my paper onto it. Then some snarky bastard says to me “You know you can just use a flash drive, right?” That was kind of the death knell for floppys for me. Yet they still sell these things right alongside flashdrives!
3) Home Phones
Every time I see my friend Lauren, we have the same basic conversation about home phones. She is a staunch supporter of them, for some reason. She says she likes to talk to her friend’s parents and stuff. At any rate, I don’t see many people from my generation setting up a home phone in their apartment/house. It’s just impractical. On my phone at home, I don’t even answer the home phone most of the time: ninety percent of the calls are from telemarketers. I doubt home phones will completely disapear for a while, as nostaligia will keep them going for years, but the industry is on the decline.
2) Phone Books
Compare the amount of time it takes to look up the listing for a business or company in a phone book with the amount of time it takes to just type in the name of the business into Google and that should give you a sense of how useless these giant yellow books are in today’s world. Yeah, you could make a case that people without computers or internet access could use them, but that seems unlikely. I wish we could calculate the amount of trees that have been destroyed to put these books, which mainly get thrown up, left in corners next to unused pay-phones, or ripped in half by musclemen in impressive feats of strength.
1) The Electoral College
Like the U.S. Senate, hundreds of thousands of words have been written about the idiocy of the Electoral College. I actually took a college class on the United States electoral system, and I wrote my final paper on why the system should be replaced with a more representative system of selecting a President. It’s clear that something is wrong when a man can be elected president despite having garnered less votes than his opponent, which happened in 1876, 1888, and most memorably, during the 2000 election where George Bush essentially stole the win from Al Gore. Imagine you’re back in high school, and you’re running for class president. You make some speeches, hang some flyers up around school, and then there’s a vote. The person who receives the most votes wins the election. Completely logical, right? It doesn’t even seem possible for there to be an alternative to that. The electoral college casts logic aside though. If you wanted to hold a class election and adhere to the tenets of the electoral college, each homeroom would be allotted a certain number of votes based on their size. If a canidate wins even just 1 more vote than his or her opponent, they get all the votes for that classroom. Absurd right? Well, that’s how the president of the United States, arguably the most powerful leader in the entire world, gets chosen.
Posted on June 16, 2010, in Administration, Blogging, Influences, Internet, Technology, The Press and tagged Beepers, Clark Kent, Classmates.com, Electoral College, Landlines, Outdated, Pagers, Phone Books, Phone Booth, Phone Cards, Technology, US Senate. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.