“You know what I really hate?” Ralph Smith offers, even if you don’t ask. “Television remotes. In my day, we got exercise. You wanna change the channel? You gotta get off your ass and turn the dial. Suddenly, everyone’s got a clicker thingy. And people wonder why the world is going to hell.”
The first television remote was invented around 1950. Mr. Smith was born in 1956.
“Oh. Really?” he said. “They been around that long? Well, I don’t like ‘em.”
Does Smith honestly believe television remotes spell the doom of civilization?
“It’s not just that. It’s also those noisy places kids call arcades. You know, they stand before a wooden cabinet, stare at a screen? That’s not a game. That’s watching TV.”
Mr. Smith seemed surprised when informed that stand up arcade games gave way decades ago to PC, console and mobile gaming.
“Oh? They’re gone? Guess that’s why I haven’t seen them lately. Well good. Because I hate ’em.”
Smith was quiet for a while before going on.
“It’s all this new stuff. Today I saw the most annoying thing.”
More annoying than TV remotes and arcade games?
“Yeah. People are putting stickers on the backs of their cars, now. They say all kinds of things. Vote for this, don’t vote for that. I like this, I don’t like that. If I wanted an opinion piece, I’d read the newspaper. I never noticed them before. Suddenly, they’re everywhere.”
The first bumper stickers appeared in the 1940s.
“That’s a good name for those new things: bumper stickers. I was going to call them ‘car signs’ or something. I saw one that said, ‘If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.’ I wanted to flag ‘im down and tell ‘im. Don’t put that on me, pal. I’m mad because you got some preachy crap on your bumper and I have to see it.”