Raja Mattar


Beirut - Lebanon


Sunday, 17 November 2002

Born before 1945

   For all those born before 1945, we are survivors!!! Consider the changes we have witnessed!!!

We were born before TV, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, the PILL and the Internet.

We were born before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams, cellular phones, satellite dishes, and ball-point pens; before pantyhose, dishwashers, cloth dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip-dry clothing and before man walked on the moon. We never thought of Grandpa having sex as there was no VIAGRA.

We got married first and then lived together. Most families had both a father and a mother. And before we got married, we had to ask for the girl's hand from her parents! And the boy had to prove to the girl's parents that he can support a wife! How quaint can one be!

We were born when girls dressed on the beach what they wear now in supermarkets; health food meant what your mother cooked; and restaurants were places where you had a meal and not hold interminable conversations on hand-held phones.

In our days, closets were for clothes, not for homosexuals to "come out of". "Gay" meant being in a good mood. "Bunnies" were small rabbits, and "rabbits" were not Volkswagens. "Designer jeans" were scheming girls named Jean or Jeanne, having a "meaningful relationship" meant getting along well with our relatives, and "making out" referred to how well you did in your exam. "Fast food" was what you ate during Lent, and "Outer Space" was the back of a theater.

We were born before house-husbands, bra-less sunbathing, gay rights, computer dating, dual careers, and computer marriages. In our times, the hair on the scalp was either black, brown, blonde, or maybe red - or gray if you are old - not green, mauve, blue, pink, orange, etc. or a combination thereof.

We were born before day-care centers, group therapy, and nursing homes. We never heard of FM radio, of yogurt or frozen yogurt, or push-button phones, and we never saw males wearing earrings. Earrings were little pieces of jewelry that dangled from the ears of girls, not from the nose, the tongue, the navel, and various other parts of the female - and male - human anatomy.

For us "time-sharing" meant togetherness not computers or condominiums; a "chip" meant a piece of wood, an "icon" a Russian religious painting, and a "mouse" a small animal that made girls scream when they saw it. "Hardware" meant a store that sold tools and nails, and "software" wasn't in the dictionary.

We were born when Great Britain was still an empire, not a satellite of the U.S.; and the U.S. was afraid of Russia, or Germany, or Japan, not of Iraq or North Korea, and the devil incarnate was Hitler or Stalin, not a bearded man hiding out in an Afghan cave called Ossama Bin Ladin!

Before 1945, "made in Japan" meant junk, and Iran meant only carpets and caviar. One had to go all the way to Italy to eat a Pizza, MacDonald was just a family name, and instant coffee was unheard of. A film was X-rated when it showed a kiss that lasted for more than 30 seconds.

We used to go to the drugstore and ask for a pack of Lucky Strikes in a loud voice, and in a whisper for a packet of condoms; now it is the other way around.

In our days, GRASS was something you mow, COKE was a soft drink, POT was something you cooked in, ROCK MUSIC was a grandmother's lullaby, SPEED was something you got a traffic ticket for, and AIDS were assistants in the Dean's office.

We were certainly born before sex change operations, and same-sex marriages. We made with what we had, and we were the last generation that was so dumb as to think that a woman needed a husband in order to have a baby.

No wonder we are so confused, and there is such a generation gap today!!!


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