Lately, I’ve been longing for things that I rarely experienced. One of them is the old-time metal ice tray with the lever.
For some reason I find them fascinating. This was truly an invention with the consumer in mind. What could be better than a lever you can use to easily loosen up ice cubes? Now we have plastic trays that crack over time and feel — well cheap.
Everything is plastic these days. From plastic ice cube trays, to what feels like plastic cars, we get what we pay for, and we don’t want to pay for too much.
Then there are Rolodexes. For a while, everyone had one sitting by the analog phone. When you needed a number, all you had to do is flip through the Rolodex. Not every card would be in order and you’d sometimes run into a familiar name thinking to yourself — geez, I haven’t called him in a while.
Today, there is no need to know phone numbers, just type in a few letters into your smart phone and voila, you’re connected to Aunt Sue.
And speaking of analog phones, they had their advantages compared to today’s pocket size computers. Back in the day, you always knew that the letters D, E, and F where found under the number 3. Need to call 1–800-INEEDHELP? Good luck trying to figure out the actual number. The analog phone was your answer.
What about that dusty globe you had sitting in your home office? I like the ones with the elevated topography. On a boring day, you’d sit there spinning the big world wondering where your finger would land. I once closed my eyes and ended up picking Timbuktu. Turns out it is a real place and it’s as far away as it sounds.
Now you can Google your dream destination. Just need to get the spelling correct, or you might end up in Leichtenstein. That’s a real place too.
What I miss most is the pay phone. For only two quarters you could call anyone in the world. Of course, they would have to accept the charges. But there is something about standing inside a pay phone booth. Grimy and often graffiti-written pay phone booths have so much character.
Clark Kent could become Superman in one. Tippi Hedren saved herself from hundreds of attacking pigeons in the classic horror film The Birds. Ironically, she didn’t call anyone for help.
Technology moves too quickly for us to sometimes find the value in useful items we once thought were lifesavers. So if you have a metal ice tray lying around, dust it off and put it to good use. In the meantime, I’ll be going through my Rolodex, looking up the number to our local Pawn Shop.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on October 19, 2016.