Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Bygone Problems Of Bygone Days

     Every so often, it’s appropriate to turn – briefly – away from the trials of today and reflect on the problems of the past: specifically, the ones we’ve solved, never to trouble us again. It can help to restore our sense of potency. After all, how are we to know our strength except by the loads we’ve lifted to date?

     Some of those problems were real doozies:

  • Waxy Yellow Buildup: Older linoleum often changed color from whatever to yellow, because the polishes used back when incorporated sealing agents that were almost impossible to remove. That resulted in a lot of homemaker angst — ask Louise Lasser – and the replacement of a number of otherwise good linoleum floors. But today? No Problem!...mostly because people don’t install linoleum on their kitchen floors any longer.
  • The Heartbreak of Psoriasis: Remember that one? Young adults ashamed to let their elbows see the sun, for fear that the crusty patches would elicit derisive laughter? Oh, the pain, the pain...but no longer! Not only do we have innumerable creams, pills, and gentle abrasives; there’s hardly a part of the body which can’t be bared for public display – and who’s going to fixate on elbows when all that other flesh is on display?
  • Five O’Clock Shadow: At one time this was the male office worker’s greatest fear. The single-bladed razors and electric shavers of the day just didn’t do a deep enough job. But today we have safety razors with so many blades in them that you need both hands to lift them. And of course, the cultivation of pointless stubble – not only is it unsightly, it catches food just as efficiently as a full beard – has become a practice as well. So now five o’clock shadow is mainly a concern for transwomen.
  • Bad Breath In Dogs: This was a serious concern...though I can’t remember why, as I don’t remember dog owners French-kissing their pooches. Today’s pet-supply impresarios offer a multitude of palliatives for this malady. The one we use here at the Fortress is called “Greenies:” little toothbrush-shaped chewables that combat canine tartar and halitosis at one stroke. And minced up fine, they go great in a salad. (What, you don’t feed your dogs salads? You know, for...regularity!)
  • Iron-Poor Blood: You have to be really old to remember this one. It was the big pitch of the Geritol commercials. But we don’t see those any more, do we? Probably because no one wants to admit to being old these days. I mean, we’ve been told that 70 is the new 35, right?
  • Smoking More But Enjoying It Less: Thanks to public anti-smoking campaigns (and the proliferation of “No Smoking Zones”) smoking at all is in a steep downtrend. Most remaining smokers are also demonstrably stupid – indeed, they demonstrate it at every opportunity, especially during their times behind the steering wheel of an automobile – which suggests that this problem is on the way to solving itself.
  • Beer Jingles: If you’re a sports watcher of venerable years, you might remember the Ballantine, Rheingold, and Schaefer jingles. Indeed, you might occasionally wake up in the wee hours and find yourself humming one of them; that’s how catchy they were. But today’s beer commercials emphasize machismo, humor, and calorie counts. Obviously, those things matter far more than a memorable lyric married to a bouncy tune, especially if the game is into extra innings, you want an “extra-dry treat,” and are “having more than one.”

     These are the ones I remember most vividly, and with ingenuity and effort we’ve conquered all of them! Be proud, Gentle Readers. That’s the kind of can-do spirit that put men on the Moon! Though it’s been a while since we’ve been there, hasn’t it? Must’ve slipped our minds.


Adrienne said...

My doggie has salad for dinner every night. I run carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, sometimes zucchini, through my food processor. I add some peas and a bit of shredded lettuce. Why? To keep his weight under control. He has regular kibble for breakfast and veggies for dinner which, I might add, he loves.

Amy Bowersox said...

"[...] five o’clock shadow is mainly a concern for transwomen."

We have our own ways of dealing with that. Mine involved twelve sessions having my face zapped with a laser. At least one friend of mine has had intensive electrolysis sessions, which are commensurately more expensive, time-consuming, and painful.

"[...] you might remember the Ballantine, Rheingold, and Schaefer jingles."

I don't know those, but I remember the ones for Budweiser ("...When you say Bud, you've said it all") and Hamms ("From the land of sky-blue waters...").

Sam L. said...

I used to have iron-poor blood, but then I got IRON pills, and they work a treat!

Joseph said...

Ring around the collar?