A trip down memory lane

Jeff Fish
Journal Staff

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately. It seems like just yesterday I was entering college as a wide eyed freshman and with the blink of an eye; I’m over halfway done with college—frighteningly close to living in the real world.

Hanging out with my home friends over Thanksgiving break exaggerated these feeling as we reminisced about old times, talking about how different things used to be, and how some things haven’t changed.

That might be why on Sunday morning, while watching TV with a friend who slept over, I was overcome with the urge to go to Toys ‘R Us when a commercial came on.

“I want to go to Toys ‘R Us,” I said abruptly, thinking about how magical the place used to be, with seemingly endless rows of action figures.

“Let’s go,” she replied.

So we hopped into my car and headed over to the home of Geoffrey the Giraffe, which is just not the same as it used to be.

First of all, it has clothes now, which is just wrong. From a marketing standpoint it makes sense; parents can get clothes and toys for their kids all in one stop. But what kid wants to see clothes when they go to a toy store?

But another sad realization came over me. There was hardly anyone there on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Surely, when I was a kid, going to Toys ‘R Us with leftover Black Friday sales would be a nightmare, but going in and out was a breeze.

Kids don’t play with toys anymore. I didn’t realize it then, but when I was little and picked up the toy versions of my favorite Power Rangers characters, I was coming up with plots, dialogue, and different situations for them to be in, even if they were rudimentary.

The toys helped cultivate my imagination. I constantly played scenarios over in my head, and I still do today without the help of toys.

Although I haven’t had the chance to write creatively in way too long, I’m always daydreaming about some TV show, movie, or book that I’d like to create, and I can trace that back to the toys I used to play with.

Kids don’t have that anymore. They have the Internet now to tell them how to think, to engross them in a world that moves them from one thing to another in a matter of seconds, instead of letting them soak things in and focus on one topic.

My age group is one of the last to remember a time where the Internet wasn’t a huge part of daily life. Even kids a few years younger can’t remember a time without it.

The Internet has revolutionized the world and provided countless benefits and conveniences. But it has also contributed to a generation of kids who rarely hold real conversations, and who according to a recent article in the New York Times, are too distracted to focus long enough on their homework to finish it.

I rely on the internet just as much as the next person, but sometimes I miss the time when I would have to dial my friend’s number on our new cordless phone to make plans. Things were simpler. Less hectic.

I didn’t find anything worth buying at Toys ‘R Us. But I did go to my nearest T Mobile location and drop some serious cash on a shiny new G2 Android.