If you move to a small town, sooner or later you will hear this phrase:
“We could go to this event, but … (sad pause with a sigh) … it’s just not the same as it used to be. You should have seen it back 10, 15, 20 years ago.“
Some permutation of this phrase will be repeated ad nauseum during your tenure in a small town.
Because apparently, everything was better before you arrived. Community events? Parades? Parties? Celebrations? Always better at least a decade plus earlier.
Once upon a time there was a magical era when everyone came out to events, and youth organizations and sports clubs were brimming with participants. There were no shortage of volunteers. Women spent their time baking delicious pies.
Oh, and the children behaved. Not like these young whippersnappers nowadays (Insert fist shaking here).
Then everyone got old! Television with 50 gabazillion channels arrived! And the internet! And young people ran off to the cities as soon as they graduated high school!
“But oh-gee, the golden and glorious days of yore,” a resident will say while staring starry-eyed off into the distance. Probably reminiscing about pie.
Although I’m sure at this magical-everything-was-better-point-in-time, those people were complaining about how things were even better at an even earlier time.
All this nostalgia fails to recall some key factors which made the past absolutely awful.
Drunk driving? Totally socially acceptable. So was smoking, more smoking and even more smoking. Never mind all the people dying from all the cancer caused by smoking. Or all the other illnesses (polio!) which modern medicine has made inroads against.
Seat belts were also optional. My parents owned a Studebaker when I was born. A Studebaker with no seat belts. I was roped into the car, people. Roped into the car as an infant. Mom? Dad? What. Were. You. Thinking?
And anyone who thinks the days of yore were “awesomer” need a history lesson from the viewpoint of a lot of women, people of colour, the GLBTQ-community, people with disabilities and so on.
I’m sure that High School events were totally awesome for the closeted gay kid afraid of being outed at a time in history before the gay rights movement picked up some steam. Or pretty much any geeky loser (like me!) who was around before the days of the internet when we could go online and discover that, no, we’re not the only ones who’d rather read sci-fi/fantasy novels than attend some stupid pep rally.
Also? A ton of those “awesome” events happened because they were organized by women pressured by society to fulfill their “proper” womanly role. Bake pies, raise kids, fundraise like mad for a new hospital/school/facility to create a better community. Then name it after a man.
Don’t believe me? Look at all the schools we’ve named after men, despite it being mostly women who taught the uneducated masses throughout Canada’s colonial history.
That doesn’t fly anymore, and rightfully so. I have a larger place in the world than just baking pies. Also, if I were to bake a pie, my taste buds and stomach are going to be the ones benefiting from it.
And no one remembers any of the ridiculous drama which came with the organizing of all these awesome events. Drama goes hand in hand with any volunteer work, and it wasn’t any different 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50+ years ago. Those fondly remembering the olden days probably weren’t the ones busting their behinds to get things done. Or they were, but have suppressed the awful memories.
Nostalgia. Code word for “I can’t be bothered to remember all the stuff that sucked.”
And if someone starts opining about the days of yore, I have two words that you need to say to them: indoor plumbing.