Friday, March 29, 2002

Things change even if we don't notice.

I just came across a note I wrote while in Vermont last year:

230 am Sept 8 2001

I'm in Vermont, and WCAX channel 3 is signing off, with the National Anthem played over a waving flag and footage of the Iwo Jima memorial. I don't remember the last time that I saw a TV station sign off, as all the ones I'm familiar with now broadcast 24/7. But I do remember when they all signed off.

When I was a kid, there were only 10 channels total (and that was in a decent sized TV market) with no cable, and they had defined "broadcast days". Very early on Saturday mornings, before the cartoons, there would be shows about less-popular topics such as agriculture. I particularly enjoyed the AO Smith "Harvestore" silos. I coudn't even imagine that 25 years later, there'd be dozens of cable channels, all specialized, some delivering hour-long primetime shows devoted to giant earthmoving equipment. I was just thinking about cultural changes like that, like that list that seems to get forwarded every year (now I want to look for it online...) about the experiences that incoming college freshmen can relate to as time passes. No new cars took leaded gas after 1976. Leaded gas was outlawed in 1990. I'd forgotten about pumping "regular" versus "unleaded" at Round's Mobil, one of my first jobs.


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