Life’s Curveballs

Life always throws you a curveball. Just when you think you have it figured out — pop. You hear that sound.

I like Clint Eastwood. And of late, Trouble with the Curve is a favorite movie of mine. I’ve watched it several times and smile through most of it. It’s a real “feel good” movie for me.

And the life lessons scattered throughout the movie from the perspective of Clint’s character, Gus are not lost on me. Having passed my mid-sixties and entered into my late sixties, I can sympathize and empathize with Gus. Life’s experiences are not to be taken lightly, but life itself must be taken seriously.

Time is fading

Time is fading and so are the physical attributes. Our eyes are weaker, ears are fading, and let’s not forget the brain. Okay, let’s not talk about the brain. Bottom line, the body wears out, and even though we might slow the process, it still happens.

I’m fortunate to still have excellent eyesight with correction — 20/15 and 20/20 with my glasses on. And since I’m near-sighted, I see as well without my glasses at distances of up to eight or ten feet. Beyond that, it gets blurry, quickly.

I admit I can’t hear the high-pitched tone that made the rounds a few years ago. That part of my hearing is gone and not coming back. I do notice background noise more, too.

My Mother-in-Law’s Story

Some years back, my Mother-in-Law always complained about the high level of background music on the television. I didn’t understand because it was not that way for me. Then life and age happened, and now I know what she meant. While younger, my ears filtered out most of the background noise and I heard the dialog perfectly. That has now changed. I have to pay close attention to the dialog because the music is so loud.

They say, “Growing old ain’t for sissies” and I can now attest to that. I do worry about the last few generations, though. If you haven’t noticed, we now have several generations of “whiny babies” complaining about every small struggle of an “unfair life.” How will they react to the real hardships of aging?

Generations

I don’t think my generation was anything special, but it was different. I was not unusual in getting my first paying job at twelve. Granted it wasn’t hard work, but it required discipline. After school every day and all day on Saturdays. Then at fourteen my first summer job working at a gas station.

Pumping gas, checking oil and tire pressure for customers at the pump islands was normal. We even fixed flats and sold a few accessories. I worked at stations the next two summers, too. Different places, but same work. Then after graduating, my first full-time job was, you guessed it, working at a busy service station on an Interstate highway.

I don’t remember ever having time to stop and contemplate the “unfairness” of life. Those around me and I just worked. That was expected, and we did it, no questions asked.

We seem to have lost some of that: not all young people, but many.

Let’s Compare the Sixties to Now

Compare today’s generations to the Sixties and Seventies.

  • No draft for military service.
  • They don’t know the reality of war on television every night. Having friends and family killed overseas.
  • They never knew a time without cheap computers (In 1995, a new Dell desktop cost $2500 and is now $499).
  • Cell phones arrived and only cost $29.95/month for 80 minutes. Overages were murder.
  • No texting.
  • No Internet.
  • No cable or satellite television. If you were lucky, you lived where you could get all three channels. Most people received two.
  • No NFL Super Bowl. Oh wait, that’s still around, but we watched for the game. Now they watch for the commercials.
  • No cameras everywhere. Yes, we had Brownie Instamatics and Polaroid cameras, but not the same as today’s phones.
  • No streaming music.
  • No streaming videos. That’s right, no YouTube.
  • No eating out multiple meals each week. My family ate out four times a year. On each person’s birthday and that person picked where we ate.
  • No Avacado Toast

Well, you get the idea. Times are so much different and I believe, better for the most part.

What are your thoughts? I’m interested.

Is Life Slapping You Around?

Life has a funny way of slapping us around—first a jab, then a sharp right hook. And down we go hitting the canvas like a full sack of potatoes then struggling to get up before the count.

It’s been a wild ride the last month. In the middle of starting a new business, the need arose for my wife and me to move 150 miles to get closer to my Mom. This move was not unplanned, but the timing was quicker than expected.

With my recent “retirement” from full-time employment along with a regular paycheck, money was a bit tight. That meant we would have to do the entire move ourselves. Packing, loading, unloading, unpacking was just the beginning. Fortunately, our son took time off and helped—a lot.

Youth is wasted on the young

The saying, “You’re not as young as you think” and “You’re not as young as you once were” are ringing in my ears as I write this. Both of us are past our mid-sixties and believe we can still do all this “stuff” like we once did.

Since 1995, we have moved eleven times.

  • Seven of those my wife and I did all the work packing and moving with help from a few friends
  • One was a work promotion, and the company sent packers and movers, but on the other end most went into storage.
  • Three we did the packing and hired movers to load and unload their truck

And you guessed it, this last move we did it all with the help of our son. It was painful, literally. A month on and there are still boxes waiting expectantly for unpacking. We are still looking for the light bulb box and the battery box.

What is not pictured is the stack of temporary boxes used in the move. I cut them all down and hauled them to the recycling center. They included a lot of Amazon boxes collected over the last few years and others of assorted sizes.

Aches and Pains

The body aches and huts are still present and will persist for some time, I’m sure.

Question:

Are you still as young as you think?

Fourteen Years Old with a Driver’s License

Do you remember, as a teenager, that feeling of freedom? Remember? It was the day you passed the driving part of the test to acquire your driver’s license. I admit I’m not sure what it means to today’s teens, but in the ’60s, it was everything.

With driver’s education, you had to be 14 to get a full driver’s license. No side view picture, no restrictions. Able to make the drag with a carload of friends and hang out at the local drive-in.

I was fifteen getting my license because Driver’s Ed was offered the summer after our 9th-grade year. That was the end of Junior High School before Middle Schools rearranged the grades. Still, fifteen was a young age to be trusted with a 4000-pound car and 70 mph speed limits.

Me in 1967 WITH a driver’s license

The summer of 1967 saw the beginning of the change. The age was raised from 14 to 16, going into effect shortly after that.

I’m not sure when the other restrictions happened since they didn’t affect me.

The accompanying picture is me when I got my license. How scary is that? Looking back, all I can say is “What were they thinking giving us licenses at that age?”

We were just babes in funny clothes and bad haircuts. Don’t believe me? I have the High School annual to prove it. The lowest our pants got were hiphuggers, and the velour shirt was all the rage. Trust me.

This is all brought to mind because my Granddaughter is turning sixteen in a few weeks and is eligible to get her license. The thought scares me to death. She’s too young. She’s just a baby.

In reality, she is a beautiful young lady and will do fine. It’s me who will be the wreck every time she gets behind the wheel.

Complying with the Normal

I will not say I’m retiring because I hate that word. It makes me think a person is giving up. Besides, biblically, the only retirement is death. I’m just getting my second wind and preparing for new adventures, new struggles, and new dreams.

This self-named website indulgence is for my opinions about life, tech, and cars.

I love tech. It makes me happy. I love cars, especially muscle cars from the sixties and early seventies. And life … what can I say. I am blessed with a wonderful family: my wife, my son and his wife and the two wonderful granddaughters.

Life

At my age, many have thoughts of slowing down, but nothing is farther from the truth. For me, it is time to pivot. To begin anew.

  • What is it like to be home every day?
  • What is it like for my wife to have me home every day? How do I deal with the flexibility?
  • Starting a new business
  • Time management for the above
  • Sleep management (no more 3:50 alarm clocks)
  • And more …

My wife reminds me frequently, “I took you for better or worse, but not lunch every day.” 

Tech

I love technology. All kinds of technology. 

Remember Day Planners? They were early time management technologies. Then digital arrived and I was blown away.

Personal Tech in a Small Way

Then Radio Shack had Rolodex develop and private brand a device that held contacts, notes, to do lists, and a calendar with reminders. It was fantastic and I went through three of them before they were discontinued.

Then came the Sharp Wizard. The high end model allowed for a cabled connection to a computer to backup information. Again, all four functions were available, contacts, notes, to do lists, and calendar. I went through two or three of those before the introduction of the Palm Pilot.

I used both the Rolodex unit and the Sharp Wizard for work. I was an outside sales rep and these electronics stored all the information about my customers on me at all times.

Then Palm released the Palm Pilot and everything changed. My brother-in-law loaned me his Palm Pilot (yes, the original) and my world changed forever.

First Owned Palm

Eventually I purchased a Palm Vx. It was the best device on the market and leaps ahead of my first devices … open pdf, Word, and Excel documents using apps built by third-party developers. That changed everything.

The Vx gave way to the T5 and later still, a Palm Centro phone. By the way, I still have all the Palm devices and they still work. I’m saving them for my Tech Museum.

Tech in a Larger Way

When Radio Shack decided to close out the TRS-80 Model 4P for half price, I bought one. The P stood for portable, but it was as large as a suitcase. It had two 5-1/4″ floppy drives and no hard drive. One floppy was for the Operating System, TRS-DOS, and the other drive was for programs and saving work.

Next was a DAK computer and I also bought a Gorilla Banana dot matrix printer. This was before Michael Dell began building computers in his dorm room.

Our second desktop is an interesting story. The DAK was getting old and slow and was ready for replacing. Our family got together and bought my wife and me a new computer for our 25th wedding anniversary in 1995. I still have that computer. It’s boxed and in the closet and last time I checked, booted and worked. Powered by a 286 Pentium processor, it was top shelf and set them back $2500. The good old days.

After that, my wife and I moved to laptop computers and I have a closet full of old, dead laptops waiting to be recycled. I just counted, and there are nine laptops in the house, but only four work.

There is one more desktop bought 11 years ago, an E-machine bought at Walmart for a few business applications. It still works, but is old and slow.

CARS

Car are a completely different topic and will be thoroughly discussed in another article.

Well, that is a quick overview of the new LarryHendrick.com. I hope you come along for the journey.