How I became a Luddenite.

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When I was a kid, I had a friend who lived in the Old House. Inside it were old phones, old radios, old clocks. If my friend’s family had it, it was old.

It’s not that I wasn’t acquainted with old things. My parents had only at rare intervals bought a stereo to replace our one-speaker hi-fi system, covered our bedroom floors with shag carpeting, and and brought in some Danish Modern furniture. Whatever they didn’t replace, I suppose, was old.

The difference was that everything in the Old House seemed of a piece. It wasn’t the 1970s there, but the ‘50s, or even earlier. Time had forgotten everything behind those pulled roller shades. Visiting my friend’s house contributed to my youthful belief that, at a certain point, every grownup stops updating.

The ensuing decades have lent me a more nuanced view, and when I think of the contents of that house I no longer think old. I think swank. Would it be possible now to gather those antiques in one place at any price? And what would possess anyone to unload them? My view now is: whatever it is, hold out a little longer.

So I was surprised that when I recently announced I had just bought my first cell phone, several of my friends called me a Luddite. I suppose that was a put down. The irony is they were telling me this on Facebook.

I have an uneven relationship with technology. I’m unenthusiastic about electronics that are small. Or expensive. But if I’m anything,  I’m a Luddenite. While our old furniture was getting older, I was in front of the TV watching  Password.  That Alan Ludden, he sure could host .

8 Comments

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8 responses to “How I became a Luddenite.

  1. I think I would have liked the Old House a lot. My grandmother had a phone that looked like the one in the picture, except that it had no dial; you picked it up and told the operator what number you wanted. We, though — like most people back then — had a phone that looked *exactly* like the one in the photo. (I note that it’s sitting on a Chicago phone book.)

    I could happily live among old phones, radios, clocks, lamps, and furniture, with my computer hidden in a back room.

    P.S. Poor Betty White! Such a firecracker, married to such a dud.

  2. Fran

    I’m glad to provide fodder for comment. However, when I read the title, I thought you were talking about those cherry cough drops we all loved when we were kids. Weren’t they Luden’s Cough Drops? Are they still around. Did they have those at your friend’s house?

  3. Oh, funny. Luddenite is a joke all Ludden might have liked.

    I’m really enjoying your new blog! The design — the openness and white space — is a good balance for your thoughtful, thought-provoking writing.

  4. 9uy

    David, congratulations on your new blog! I’ll link it to mine.

    I always enjoy to read your Jewish Angle.

  5. Cindi

    First a cell phone-now a blog-I expect time travel will soon follow……

  6. Thanks Shmoo, Fran, Lila, Guy and Cindi. I’m investigating time travel — but only if the software isn’t to complicated. I’m not sure what cough drops my friend’s parents kept. You’d think you’d remember a thing like that. Alan Ludden must have been more of a firecracker than he let on. I looked at the clip: He had an elfish sparkle in his eye.

  7. Leslie

    I love your new blog, David. If I ever get around to writing anything ever again, I’ll be sure to link it to my own — as mine is so well read ;)

    Love Leslie

  8. Pingback: Just tried the new Colgate Wisp. Anyone want a kiss? « David Wrote This

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