Smacking the TV for better reception & 10 other skills we learned as kids that are practically useless today


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Kids these days, right?  In an era where smartphones practically run our lives and AI can answer the most complex questions, it’s almost surreal to think about how we survived, nay, thrived in the analog age. 

Whether you’re a Boomer, a GenX, or a budding Millennial, you are well aware that our childhood was a series of tactile experiences, each with its unique charm. 

From flipping through the bulky pages of a dictionary to crafting the perfect mixtape with a finesse that required surgical precision, these were the skills that defined our times. Here are 10 skills we learned as kids that are now useless.

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1. Flipping through a dictionary

There was a time when looking up a word meant a mini-expedition through the dense forest of printed text, a journey where one often stumbled upon other intriguing words. But in the era of online dictionaries and quick Google searches, the skill of flipping through the pages of a hefty dictionary seems quite, well, wordy. Though a fond memory for Boomers, this skill has practically turned into an activity for the nostalgic or the stubbornly analogue.

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2. Reading a paper map

Remember the times when unfolding a paper map felt like unraveling the mysteries of the universe, one crease at a time? Fast forward to the 2020s, and the sight of a paper map brings nothing but a chuckle and perhaps a gentle shake of the head. With GPS technology dictating our every turn, literally, paper maps have been relegated to the shelves of antiquities.

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3. Cursive writing

Once the hallmark of a well-rounded education, cursive writing has now become a relic of the past. As keyboards dominate our communication landscape, the graceful arcs and curves of cursive writing are no longer a necessity. But hey, if you want to impress someone with your archaic handwriting skills, by all means, go ahead and swirl those letters with panache!

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4. VHS Tape Rewinding

The once customary ritual of rewinding a VHS tape before returning it to the rental store now seems as ridiculous as wearing bell-bottom pants. In an era of streaming services, the very idea of rewinding a tape seems not just outdated but hilariously cumbersome. Sorry Boomers, it’s time to retire the pencil trick for rewinding cassettes too!

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5. Dial-Up internet troubleshooting

Ah, the iconic sound of dial-up internet connecting, a melody that announced the beginning of an online adventure. But in a world of fiber-optic broadband, troubleshooting a dial-up connection feels like fixing a horse cart in a world of electric cars. Millennials, your expertise in this area is no longer required, we’re afraid.

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6. Using a phone book

Remember when looking up a number meant flipping through the yellowed pages of a phone book? It was a time when finding a contact felt like a mini treasure hunt. In the age of smartphones and digital directories, the phone book has become nothing but a bulky paperweight.

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7. Using pencil as a multi-tool before multi-tools were cool

In its heyday, a pencil was more than a device to jot down notes; it was a multi-faceted tool employed for various tasks, including rewinding cassette tapes or acting as an impromptu bookmark. Today, it has lost its glory, mostly serving the demands of test centers and artists.

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8. Mastering the rotary phone dialing technique

Who can forget the iconic rotary phone with its circular dial that made every call feel like an event? Your finger dancing in circles, the whirring sound punctuating each number dialed, and the anticipation building up as the dial returned to its position, oh the romance of it all! Sadly, in the age of smartphones, this ritualistic dialing method has turned into a relic of the past, leaving many youngsters baffled at its operation.

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9. Using the card catalog in libraries

Before digital databases simplified the process of finding books, navigating through a library’s collection was an art in itself. The card catalog system, with its meticulously maintained index cards, guided us to our desired reads. It was a ritual that added to the excitement of discovering a new book, a skill that is now nostalgically remembered as a relic of the pre-digital era.

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10. Creating a perfect mixtape

Oh, the art of creating a mixtape! An emotional rollercoaster of choosing the right songs, hitting record at the exact moment, and personalizing the cassette cover. It was a heartfelt gesture that said more than words ever could. In today’s digital era, playlists have replaced mixtapes, but nothing can replicate the personal touch and effort that went into crafting those little reels of joy.

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11. Hitting the TV for better reception

It seems primitive now, with all these giant,sleek smart TVs, but back in the day, giving the TV a good thump was the go-to method to get a snowy screen back into action. It was almost a ritual in many households. A ritual where a firm smack on the side or the top could magically get the screen to flicker back to life, displaying images clearly instead of the snowy, grainy disturbance that often graced the screen. It was a dance of sorts, finding that sweet spot where a hit would resurrect the picture and sound, making way for an evening of family television time.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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