Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Living among young people when you're old

My one sister-in-law, who is older than me, refuses to join Facebook. You may consider this a wise move given that the book of face is overrun with politics, babies and selfies. But that's not the reason why she's not on there.

She's not on there because she's old and resistant. If she knew I was writing about this (or that I called her "old and resistant"), she would be quite upset.

She also refuses to get a cell phone or text or do anything with a computer actually. We younger people laugh about it and lament how she's shutting herself out. There are so many things we could share with her if only she would budge a little.

Then there's part of me that wonders if she's the wise one.

Go with me on this:

In today's world, we are inundated with what young people think is "cool," "wise," "important," "relevant," etc. This has been the way for a long time with advertising, etc. But it's louder than ever today. That's because online sites are well-populated with people under the age of 40. The online world remains a youthful medium even as it's entering its third decade in popular culture.

It didn't used to be like that.

Think of it: Before the age of the internet, if you were above 50, about the only time you would hear young people's views would be when dealing with your children. Or maybe the friends of your children. Or the children of your friends.

That's the only time you were around young people for an extended period of time (I'm excluding teachers from this, and others with jobs in which they deal with youngsters). Adults prior to the 1990s spent most of their life dealing with adult thoughts and mature views. They'd spend their whole day with adults and in the evening watch an adult show on TV. Young people's views were often marginalized in prime time. And a station like MTV could be easily ignored by an adult.

That was the world. And it was like that for a long time. That's the world that my sister-in-law wants.

And you can have it still. Ditch your computer and cell phone. But, today, you must give up an awful lot -- contact with the people you like and love, for one -- to do so.

So, I get myself involved with a world filled with young people and with views and opinions that often don't square with mine. And before you get too deeply into that, a lot of what I'm talking about pertains to baseball cards.

I received my first 2017 Bowman Platinum cards in the mail a few days ago. They were sent to me by The Baseball Card Snob.

I don't like Bowman Platinum much. Sure, it looks nice here, but that's a deceptive scan. In hand, the cards are foilboard (something I think should have been outlawed by now) and the cards are curled.

But I admit I was happy to receive them, even though they are very modern cards that I don't understand.

I have even gone to Walmart in hopes of finding some Bowman Platinum on the store shelves so I could actually buy it.

Here's why: Young people (I'm pretty sure most of them are younger than me) are going nuts for this stuff. If you're on the blogs only, you probably haven't seen it, but get on a younger social medium, like Twitter. My goodness, it's all youngish card people are talking about. Platinum, Judge, Bellinger, Platinum, Judge, Bellinger, Platinum, Platinum, Judge, Judge, Bellinger, More Judge, More Platinum, Judge, Judge, Judge, Platinum!

So I get caught up in it a little but I'm a mature, old adult now and keep myself from getting out of hand.

And then I think, if I wasn't on social media, would I know about Bowman Platinum? Would I know how much Aaron Judge cards are selling for? I suppose it's been mentioned briefly on TV, but that's easy to miss.

And what's the wise position on this?

Is it smarter to know all of the latest, greatest, "young" cards and rookies and the ToppsNow cards and digital apps and all the young opinions on it?

Or is it smarter to go at your own pace, hang out with people your own age and, you know, just collect a bunch of vintage?

Obviously, I still haven't figured that out.

I lean toward the second direction. Mostly because of my age. I see a lot of unnecessary baggage in the latest and greatest and when I'm feeling especially cranky, I can formulate opinions on how the last 10 to 20 to 30 years have ruined the hobby.

But I can't shut myself off completely. I have the need to see what's "new". I still get interested in new ideas and views. Often I think, "oh get it away" the instant I see/hear them. But there is something in me that refuses to be "old." I still feel "young" in many ways.

Perhaps young people would prefer if I just stayed with vintage and didn't bother stumbling into 2017 product. Obviously the old man doesn't get it and all he's going to do is crap all over it.

But you know what they say: hanging around young people keeps you young (I think my grandmother used to say that). And hanging around young cards probably keeps you young, too.

Meanwhile, I'm more comfortable with old cards, so fortunately the Card Snob sent those, too:

A couple of 1981 Fleer, you'll probably see a lot more of this stuff in the near future.

I was watching the Mets the other day and Keith Hernandez was discussing how he liked to talk to players when they reached first base (big surprise). Some players didn't like to talk and one of them was Rick Monday (who later became a broadcaster). Hernandez said one of the only times Monday said anything when he reached first was to say to Hernandez, "Great, Hernandez is at first, guess we all have to hit doubles."

Some 1979 Dodgers. These are in terrific shape. I'll have to see what the upgrading situation is.

Why is Dave Fleming here? I have no idea. But I appreciate random cards.

This Jerry Reuss card is a key one because it's the first time he showed up in a Dodger uniform on a card. I was very happy when I pulled this card.

I collect it all, I think you know: young and old. I may have "old" opinions on plays at the plate, video replay and home run derby, but I balance that with trying to tell people older than me that there are benefits to an online world.

There will be those that say, "collect what you want, why think about it so much?" Sorry, I'm a thinker. There will be others that say, "for too long we younger people had to listen to nothing but old opinions, it's about time there was some balance." And you're right, you've got me on that one.

I'm that guy stuck in the middle. Still trying. Still flailing. Still struggling to understand.

I haven't given up yet.

When will I?

Probably when the blog goes dark.


  1. Your sister-in-law sounds an awful lot like my mom. She's not 72, is she?

  2. I might be the one other person not on Facebook

    1. Nope, I'm not either...or Twitter.

    2. Im right there not with you too Mark.

  3. "the middle" isn't a bad place to be. it allows me to hang out with folks twenty years younger who keep me involved in the "newest" and "latest". I can act a lot younger than I am and no one cares. I'm also the mature one they come to for advice. But their music! Argh - it's awful!

  4. I have no cell phone. I do not do Facebook. I do have a computer and I do go online and read Blogs. This is one of them. Thanks for an interesting post.

  5. I'm right there with you on these Bowman cards. I don't care for foilboard since with so many guys who are unfamiliar to me I have to tilt the cards to read the names and especially the guy's position.

    As for technology...I was an early cell phone adopter. I suspect the folks who don't have them also don't have kids out and about. I've always felt better knowing that they could reach me anytime. I was dragged kicking and screaming into Facebook but I didn't last long.

  6. I'm still a little amazed by Facebook. I remember the days before I actually got onto it, Facebook had a reputation for being a site for teenagers and child molesters. I avoided it back then, until I had some friends that were getting into it. I signed up to be "friends" with those friends. One of those friends it took several months to almost a year before she accepted my friend request (she is still a friend on there today). My early days of Facebook "poking" was very much in vogue and there was a series of games that were more sort of a recruitment tool I guess that involved werewolves, vampire and zombies. You went around biting your friends and either turned them into a zombie, vampire, werewolf or ate them. It seemed to be part of the poking thing as well not sure how the thing worked exactly. I think if a friend was already "playing" your biting or eating didn't work. Oh I found an article about them from 2008

  7. I'm stuck in the middle too. On one end... my middle school students tease me for having a Facebook because it's yesterday's social media. On the other end... half of my family members don't know what Facebook is.

  8. Good post. I'm not on Facebook. My wife was for awhile, but she recently asked me to close her account down. To me, Facebook is just a personal campaign to convince everybody else how great their life is. Who are they really trying to convince? The baseball card hobby hasn't been the same since "investors" got involved and not many cards past 1979 interest me.

  9. I work in computer repair, and it's definitely interesting to see how the "older set" use modern technology. I've seen everything from users who have an XP desktop that they use ONLY for solitaire, to the people who need the latest and greatest tablet, but still have a flip phone. Like everything new in life, they'll either avoid it as much as possible or jump in head first!

  10. I have a Facebook account but never use it. My parents are on it and they love it. They've reconnected with old friends which is kind of cool. My Facebook newsfeed is just baby pictures and politics these days.