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The Next Generation
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This generation of children finds it difficult to read analog clock faces. I can remember learning how to tell time on an analog clock face, with the little hand showing minutes and the big hand showing the hour. Most children today cannot tell time that way at all.

(One child told me he didn't know how to use a rotary dial telephone.)

It got me thinking about what their children may not see around them, nor have to deal with.

One item, nearly gone now, is the corner pay phone. In Los Angeles it's nearly impossible to find a public pay phone, except in hotel lobbies and at the VA. Prostitutes do their business arrangements by cell phone, as do pimps and drug dealers.

Oh, yeah, I forgot. We all do, at least most of us. I think I see a progression to hotspots and VoIP and the demise of two-year cell phone contracts, but that may be wishful thinking on my part.

Which makes me predict that landlines will be a thing of the past in the not-too-distant future, as well. The only people now who call me on my landline are solicitors. I never answer it, but let it go to the answering machine.

I can hope that everything goes wireless (good-bye to the mare's nest of cables, the "leash" that brings you up short when the cable's reached its limit).

Then there's any sort of tape: VHS, music tapes, reel-to-reel (remember that?), computer storage.

I suppose snail mail will follow. Our mailbox is stuffed with catalogs and mass junk mail, and not a whole lot more. We get Christmas cards via the computer (so there goes the Christmas card industry), credit card and bank statements also. I can print out what I need to keep for income tax purposes.

Some places are no longer accepting cash.

Paper checks and the checkbook are another example. I'll bet in another few years paper checks will be a thing of the past. Over the holidays I had to teach my grandnephew how to fill out a check and what it represented (a draft on money in your bank account). It was foreign to him; he's 17 and in college.

emjay mentions cursive handwriting in her comment. another skill soon to be lost entirely?

And what do you think about broadcast (i.e., free) television stations? Will they go the way of the other 20th century technologies? Radio is dependent on cash infusions from supporters of hate talk shows; will something similar happen to TV?

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