Sunday, May 30, 2010
What He Missed
In my previous post, I told you about a young man from my home town who died in Vietnam about a month before his 21st birthday. He was special to lots of people. Then I started to think about all the things he missed since his untimely death in 1967. I'm sure there are additional significant milestones, events and developments that I've forgotten, but these are what I came up with. Carl never had the chance to: -graduate from college and start a career; -hold a newborn son, daughter or grandchild; -enjoy the freedom of a cordless telephone; -watch a flat screen television in HD; -vote for our first African-American president; -use a personal computer or cellphone or GPS; -serve as best man at his best friend's wedding; -mourn the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Bobby Kennedy; -see a single Star Wars movie; -write the great American novel; -ride in the Concorde or an ultra light plane; -watch the first human step onto the surface of the moon; -behold any of the space shuttle flights or the international space station; -celebrate the end of the cold war and demise of the Berlin Wall; -celebrate his coming-of-age 21st birthday; -figure out what LED, LCD or IDP mean; -worry about covering a bald spot; -watched CNN or cable television; -drive a front-wheel-drive car with ABS; -witness the dissolution of the U.S.S.R.; -buy a CD or DVD or even a VHS tape; -use a key card to open a door; -burn popcorn in a microwave oven; -drive the snazzy new VW Beetle or a Mini-Cooper; -shop at Ikea or Trader Joe's; -spend our new, colorful paper money; -use an electric toothbrush; -dance at a discotheque; -see auto manufacturers ditch the tailfins; -view awe-inspiring pictures from the Hubble telescope; -have a blog where he could opine at will; -try in-line skates; -see Lake Erie make a comeback from near death; So many things didn't exist and hadn't happened yet in October 1967. Life has been made easier by some inventions and more complicated by others. We waste more time fiddling with electronics than we do interacting with each other. Too few of us remember that our lives or those of people we care about could be snatched away before we take another breath. I can only guess how Carl and others of his lost generation would have reacted to life these days. I so wish they had the chance to engage in long, productive lives.