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The ‘good old days’ weren’t always that good

Saturday, March 9, 2013 - 12:01 am

Quite a few television shows and movies romanticize living in the past. Woody Allen's “Midnight in Paris” last year won an Academy Award for best original screenplay for doing just that. Virtually every long-running science-fiction show has had at least one episode on that topic.

It all seems well and good to go back a century or two and live in a simpler time, without all the stress of modern life. No threat of nuclear war or terrorist attacks. No computer crashes. No one was concerned about global warming or fracking. Disco music hadn't been created yet. No long lines to pay $4 a gallon for gasoline. Who needs gasoline when you have your trusty steed?

Sorry, but I do not share in the enthusiasm of days gone by. As the cliche goes, it might be a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Sure, you may escape all the headaches of modern times, but you also miss out on all of the breakthroughs of the past few centuries: antibiotics, vaccines, indoor plumbing, Novocain.

All of those remarkable discoveries notwithstanding, the thing I would miss most is Kleenex. Remember when men actually carried handkerchiefs? It wasn't all that long ago. Possibly one of the most disgusting inventions of all time (if you can call a ratty old piece of cloth an invention.)

Men would just keep using the same old swatch of fabric over and over again to blow their noses — even as it got harder and harder to find a clean spot. Yes, hay fever season was a blast.

And who got to clean that germ-filled piece of cotton when it was too gross to use anymore? The dutiful wife, of course. (Men didn't share in housework or laundry back in the good old days, either.)

Forget nostalgia. Give me a clean tissue!

Mike Marin is a cranky curmudgeon who, when he’s not yelling at kids to get off his lawn, likes to complain about the sad state of popular culture, especially as seen through a TV screen. His email address is This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.