Since I have managed to spend quite a few years here on Earth, it is amazing to see the changes that have been made. I bet the last century had more of them than any recorded century. I doubt, for example, that except for language the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks in the time of Plato, and the Vikings could adapt in each of the civilizations mentioned. Now just think what Columbus would have thought if he actually had made it to New York City and sailed into it today. He and his men would be convinced that demons had taken possession of them. Now I recognize that many people now consider Columbus a demon himself, but that is another story.
Some of the changes have been good, some bad, some simple, many complex, but the result the last century is change of a large magnitude. A simple one for example goes back to 1963 when the postal service went to the five-digit ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) code. The idea was to make mail sorting more efficient.
I will leave it up to others to determine whether it did or not. However, I can remember before the Zip came along, that we received mail twice a day at our post-office box. Of course, that was when folks wrote lots of letters and you found out what your naughty relatives had been up to! Now you can find out almost immediately through several different sources of communication. None of them require a ZIP code either. OK, for example you do need an email address, but you can have that wherever you go.
Heck before 1960 you could not buy a condo no matter how hard you tried. That is because the first modern condominium was built in 1960 in Utah which meant that folks in NYC, LA, and Chicago were not in the forefront of modern living as much as they thought. They had to accept mere apartments – oh, the shame! Kids had it hard too as it wasn’t until the 1950’s that they had Play-Doh. I am not certain what they did before that, because they didn’t have screens to spend time looking at as do the kids of today. I mean they even played outside until it was after dark – but safe. Now, if your grandkids have no idea what Play-Doh is, you still have a chance to show them the wonders of it as you can still find it. They can even roll it along the Sunday Funnies and pick up the comics on the Play Doh. That is assuming that they look at the Sunday funnies!
I have mentioned some small type changes in the last century. Naturally, there were big ones like the Atom Bomb. It got us out of WWII, but has caused other problems since. The old rule that bigger, more powerful weapons of war do not ensure peace is still with us. A less divisive example of more relates to professional sports. When I was young there were 16 baseball teams divided into two Major Leagues. Three of them were in NYC, and two in Chicago, St Louis, Boston and Philadelphia. That left five for other cities like Pittsburgh. Of course, having two teams in your city did not mean everything was great. In 1940 both the Philadelphia Athletics and the Philadelphia Phillies finished in last place in their respective leagues. Must have been rather hard on the fans there. It may even explain why Philadelphia is considered now to have such tough fans that they even booed Santa Claus – or so the story goes.
Now there are so many teams that it is difficult to even know some of the players. However, I still know all the Pirate players. True, considering how they fare in today’s world many may wonder why I bother. Hey, even with a century of changes some traditions have to continue!
Villager Barry Evans writes a weekly column for Villages-News.com.