This morning at my house, we had brand new KitchenAid appliances delivered and installed by Factory Direct. My wife was so happy as she exclaimed, “Now we don’t have to wash our dishes by hand!” I have to be honest that I was excited about that too. We both laughed about how coddled we’ve become that we can’t wash a few dishes without complaining. When the dishwasher broke two weeks ago, she actually made the statement, “I think I’ve forgotten how to wash dishes by hand.” Of course she was joking, but after two weeks, we now appreciate having a dishwasher do the work.
When I was a kid, we did have a dishwasher in our kitchen, but I remember having to help my grandmother wash dishes by hand whenever we were at the farm. It’s so funny to think about that and realize no one died while washing dishes. I suppose there are many other things like this, that we now take for granted in our modern society.
I remember one day about 20 years ago when my son came into our bedroom and said, “Dad, the remote control is not working on the TV downstairs.” I told him, “It’s probably the batteries. Go ask Elaine where the batteries are and she’ll show you how to replace them.” About three minutes later he came back upstairs to tell me we’re out of batteries. I told him, “I don’t have time to run out and get batteries right now, you’ll have to change the channels manually.” I’ll never forget that blank stare on Jake’s face. He clearly had no idea what I was talking about.
I put my arm around his shoulder and lead him downstairs to the living room. As we walked, I was giving him the typical Dad speech of, “Son when I was your age, we only had three channels to choose from. We didn’t have a remote control for the TV back then, so my brother Jon and I had to take turns getting up off the sofa to change the channel.
As we approached the TV, I knelt down to show him two small buttons at the bottom of the TV. The one on the left had a “-” symbol and the one on the right had a “+” symbol. “Watch this” I said as I showed him how they work. “Plus changes the channels to go up and minus changes the channels to go down.” Jake stared at the buttons for a few seconds and then blurted out, “I can’t stand here in front of the TV, changing the channels all day!”
I’ve probably told that story to hundreds of people and it always gets a good laugh. I think most parents can identify with it because something similar has happened to them as well. One time after telling that story, a friend of mine was describing a time when their garage door opener broke and he made his son get out of the car to open the garage door by hand. His son was complaining about how heavy the door was and that he couldn’t lift it up. My friend said, “Boy, when I was your age I had to lift the door for my dad every time we left the house. Back then doors were made of solid wood and they were heavy. These doors today are made of lightweight vinyl so get out of this car and open the door!”
These stories make me wonder what our children will complain about in the future? Maybe they’ll say to their children, “When I was your age, we had to drive cars manually. It was such a hassle figuring out where you needed to go.”