The Saratoga Sun -

The times are a changin'


October 6, 2022

Not to jinx myself, but I have been pretty lucky with this whole aging thing. I recently completed lifeguard certification and this body surprised me by being up to the physical aspects of the test.

The written part on lifeguarding and CPR was not easy and I was happy to pass it. However, I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to do all the physical tests in the time required.

Swimming laps was the one part of the test I was confident in.

I was worried aoubt swimming from the shallow end of the pool to the deep end, diving to getting a brick on the bottom and swimming back to the shallow end in under a minute and 40 seconds. 

I did it in a minute 32 seconds.


The person taking the test with me was a young man of 23 who is 6 foot 10 and he did it in a minute 10 seconds.

Yep, in case you think I meant 6 foot 1 and accidentally added a 0, no I mean 6 foot 10.

He also acted as the body I had to use in my rescue exercises when we were doing passive (not moving) rescues in deep water. Getting the rescue tube under his shoulders was no small feat. He had a solid foot in height on me.

I drank a little bit of pool water in that skill set.

Anyway, at the end of the four hours of testing, I was given my certification.

It felt great when I heard the words I had passed.

I don’t know how to explain it exactly. I felt that because my body was keeping up, to a certain degree, the world around me was not really that different from when I was younger.

But the world is changing and things are being forgotten because they are not really relevant to the times we live in.

I got a pretty good dose of reality. The world is moving along. Things which were a foundation in how I lived my life are becoming obsolete like VCR machines.

Phrases are becoming hard for the younger generation to understand as were some to me when I was growing up.

I remember my father saying something was the “Cat’s Meow”, when something or someone was outstanding. My grandmother said “Bees Knees” when she was talking about something good.

The words “sick” and “dope” never meant something was good when I was growing up, but I hear them being used all the time when kids are describing something awesome.

The other day, I was joking about the lifeguard certificates being on their way to a small group of younger folk. When asked where they were, I said “they are in the mail.” I was referring to something being delayed. We used to use the phrase “it is in the mail” all the time. I didn’t think it was all that long ago. 

Well, these kids took me literally and asked, ‘why would they mail it and not email it’?

I explained what I meant and that it was an old saying.

Old is right.

It was apparent these guys didn’t get a lot of “snail mail” because when I explained what I meant, it was said by several in the group; “Who even mails things nowadays?”

This gave me an example of how the world is changing. Things are being lost by the new generation coming of age.

“Gentlemen’s bet” is another term that has become almost lost.

There was a time, If there was uncertainty about something, there could be a bet as to who was right. A “Gentlemen’s bet” meant there was no money involved. 

From what I have seen in the present day, if there is a question about something, it is only a matter of seconds to find out the answer by looking up the answer on your cell phone. With instant info coming, there is seldom any reason to bet because answers are recieved in a moment’s notice.

I don’t even remember the last time I heard anyone say, “I betcha.”.

I remember, not that long ago, the word ‘app’ was short for appetizer.

That isn’t the common meaning anymore.

It is not just words and phrases that are being lost. 

Newer generations have zero recognition of celebrities that were huge when I was growing up.

I understand if someone was sort of well known over the years, but not really known now. People come and go. That is the cycle.

But, surely there are actors who are timeless?

When I said to a friend, who is easily 20 years younger, “that actor is like Lawrence Olivier”. My buddy had no idea who Olivier was and what he meant to the world of actors in both theater and movies. It is crazy to me his name, which was synonymous with great acting, means nothing to many younger folk. When I mentioned Marlon Brando to the same person, I again got a blank look.

I especially realized there was a gap in generations, when talking about past celebs with another buddy and I mentioned how beautiful Elizabeth Taylor had been.

“Who is she?”

I was blown away. I could not believe he hadn’t even seen a picture of her. I pulled out a movie she had been in and showed my friend. He agreed she was stunning and probably one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen on screen. 

It still felt weird; this guy, who was close to 30, had never seen or even heard of Liz.

Since then, I have asked younger friends who are under 35, if they had ever heard of her. It is about an 80% chance they have not ever heard of her.

They didn’t know a thing about her activism or her perfumes either.

No younger person had heard of her famous jewelry collection which once had included the largest blue diamond in the world or that she was famous for having had several marriages. I remember seeing them all over magazines.

Now Liz is fading fast in the younger generations’ eyes. I guess she will be a memory only to those of us who are older.

So, as happy as I am to pass the lifeguard certification at an age that some might find challenging, I can’t help but be aware things are being forgotten as time marches on and there is really no stopping it.

I would do a gentleman’s bet with someone under 30, that this trend is going to continue as the world goes forward. I seriously doubt they would even know what I was talking about.


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