The Good Old Days Kind of Sucked

Detail From Spencer Park Dentzel Carousel – Kevin Burkett

I tend to remind myself of this unarguable fact whenever I’m feeling the least bit nostalgic. First Reader and I got to discussing old TV shows we liked and at the same time how difficult they were to actually, you know, watch.

I grew up in a small town in Mississippi. First Reader spent a good portion of her childhood in an even smaller one. This was in the time before cable and satellite tv(satellite also sucks, but that’s another story). Almost everyone had these unsightly antenna poles nailed to the side of their houses because the closest TV stations were not that close.

I’m older than some of you but younger than others. Just let it be known that I was a kid when the STTOS (Star TrekĀ® the original series) aired. Being into SF as I was, it was a hit with me. Just one problem. The local (as in 70 miles away) NBC affiliate refused to air it because it was “Too Controversial.” I feel a bit of a dope in that it took me many years to understand just what the hell they were talking about. Regardless, WDAM in Hattiesburg DID carry the series. New problem. It was about eighty miles due south of the first station. Which if you’ll recall your trigonometry put it just a little further away than the first station, whose call sign I remember but will not name.

It was too far away. We couldn’t get it.

I got to watch it now and then. I had a friend who had a new-fangled directional antenna, which could be pointed in the direction of WDAM well enough to beam it in, even if the result was a little fuzzy. Only he lived out in the country (I.E. Outside of town) and I couldn’t drive, so that didn’t work out often. I missed most of the original series in its first run. Even today I’m a little pissed about it.

That wasn’t the only thing that sucked. The conditions leading up to some people thinking ST for heaven’s sake was “too controversial” were in full swing, for one. It was a good time to read books, though, so I give it that much. Fewer distractions. But otherwise, when someone talks about “the good old days” I want to give them a shaking. There were no good old days.

There is only now.