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My, how times have changed

By Staff
Jason Cannon, Franklin County Times
Today is my 27th birthday.
One of the things I enjoy most about getting a year older, aside from the cake, is taking some time to reflect on how the world has changed from what I remember when I was growing up, and how some of the most seemingly timeless things have faded away.
I ask you to join me for annual stroll down memory lane.
Do you remember hyper-color t-shirts? When I was a kid, these things were huge. I used to have a brown one. Until it got hot, then it was orange.
I remember when only "rich people" had cell phones. The reception was pitiful and they were roughly the size of a pay phone without the poll. A few years later, they graduated to bag phones. Bag phones were much more mobile but they were about the size and weight of a well-stocked purse.
While we're on technology, let's talk about computers and the Internet.
When I was growing up, almost no one had a computer and what was the Internet?
I got my first computer in 1994, when I was in the eighth grade.
It took about 15 minutes from the time it started up to the time you were able to open a Word document.
No email. No fancy 3-D games or anything cool like that.
Just Word, Solitaire and Mine Sweeper.
Game consoles have come just as far.
I had an original Nintendo when I was in elementary school.
My favorite game, Techmo Bowl, is a far cry from the virtual reality of Madden 2007. But back then it was cutting edge.
There was no reality television.
Most everyone had cable but to change the channel you had to get up and slide the channel indicator with your finger.
Some people had a satellite dish but they were about the size of a Volkswagen, not the small grey dishes you see on the sides of homes today.
I remember when gas cost less than a dollar per gallon. I also remember the uproar it caused when it rose above a dollar per gallon.
I think we're all well aware of how that has changed and fearful of what's to come.
I remember the Tylenol murders. While I was very young at the time, the effects of this still ring out today.
In 1982 seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Extra-Strength Tylenol that was poisoned with cyanide.
It's thanks to this that we now have tamper-proof packaging on our pharmaceuticals.
The world as a whole has changed a lot in the last 27 years, too. When I was growing up we barely knew what terrorism was. Now we have a whole color-coded system spelling out our level of concern.
I remember the day the Berlin wall came down and Mikhail Gorbachev helping to cripple communism in the former USSR. I also remember watching television in Ms. Duncan's second grade class the day the Challenger exploded.
My 27 years have been full of interesting turns and challenges, and I look forward to seeing what the next 27 years bring.