Pages

Monday, January 26, 2015

The YouTube Gap

Getting older is confusing.

Sure, there are some delightful aspects of the aging process, such as fading pride and insecurity, but finding myself out of touch with young'uns is unsettling.  Having a child of my own only magnifies the generation gap and I find myself more and more often mumbling the dreaded "kids these days", made popular by aging curmudgeons the world over.  

Things I've taken for granted as staples in my life are becoming obsolete.  For example, I recently realized that my generation is likely the last to be regular scripted television viewers, as most young people seem to prefer YouTube to the boob tube*.  

After Christmas, my 7-year-old son had a friend over for a play date and they spent a chunk of their time together watching YouTube videos on the friend's new iPod.  I listened in horror at their peals of laughter derived from watching a woman with the most annoying voice I've ever heard saying things that weren't funny.  When my niece visited last summer, she spent an inordinate amount of time trying to show me "hilarious" YouTube videos of outlandish gay men twerking**.  My own kid even prefers watching faceless people play video games to watching a scripted show on the Disney Channel.  

gratuitous photo of my kid since I had no other use for this picture of him looking confused

So, it's not only how they're watching that's changed - it's what they're watching.  And what they're watching is weird.  Maybe this is what it felt like for adults in the 50's when their kids eschewed the richly told stories of radio for flashy, gimmicky television programs.

Even worse than my confusion over this bizarre entertainment preference, is my jealousy of the top YouTube earners.  This article posted on Fusion.net states that the most popular YouTube account right now, based on earnings, is some lady opening toys and playing with them.  That's it.  That's all she does.  You never see her face, yet she earned an estimated $4.86 MILLION DOLLARS last year because people can apparently not get enough of looking at her hands unwrapping and playing with toys.  

WHY DID I NOT THINK OF THIS FIRST?

Oh, wait.  I know why.  It's because I'm a rational human being who would never have considered the notion that millions of people would want to watch me open packages.  

I once made the mistake of clicking on a video of someone extracting a cyst.  More unsettling than the content (and YUCK, by the way) was the fact that this particular video had over five million views and ads embedded within. You can now literally make a living by popping zits on YouTube.  Let that thought marinate for a moment.

Three years ago today (what a weird coincidence!) I published a video of myself showing off my double jointed shoulders:  



That video has over 40,000 views to date and has garnered me 60 channel subscribers and weekly (often inappropriate) comments. I have ads on it, but I have yet to hit the pay threshold so I haven't seen a dime. I suppose I could make more videos to better capitalize on my flexibility, but it just feels wrong to further contribute to the pointless, time wasting abyss that is the bizarre side of YouTube. 


...Then again, I could use money.  Off to buy some junk to unwrap with my double jointed fingers.


* Yes, I used the term "boob tube".  It means television, you perverted whippersnappers.
**not at all hilarious.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rest in Peace, Grammy.

A week ago today, I was at my Grandma's funeral.  We called her Grammy because she insisted on it and it always embarrassed me a little bit when I was a kid.  Everybody else had a Grandma or a Granny, perhaps, but nobody else had a Grammy.  Then again, she wasn't really like other grandmothers.


Grammy's husband (and my Grandpa) died when I was three years old.  She lived by herself up until about nine years ago when she moved to a nursing home due to her declining health and creeping dementia.  She hated leaving her house, a home that she and her husband had built from the ground up when my mom was a child, but my mom was able to go and visit her nearly every single day, which I'm sure they both found comforting.


When Grammy died, I told mom that I would like to sing "Over the Rainbow" along with my sisters at the funeral.  As the day approached, however, we all decided that we didn't have enough time to prepare and so we played the Judy Garland version at the service.  I still wanted to contribute, however, so I asked permission to speak.


Here's what I wrote, what I read on that day:


As her three granddaughters, Jackie, Tricia, and I have a lot of special memories of Grammy.  After she passed, we spent hours sorting through boxes and albums of photos to display here today which gave us the opportunity reminisce and I thought it would be nice to share some of those memories here today.

For us, a day at Grammy’s house as a child would usually start with a lunch of carrot sticks, chow mein, strawberries from the patch in the yard, grapes off the vine, and a dessert of angel food cake and ice milk (NEVER ice cream).  In the winter, she always gave us hot chocolate with marshmallows and we would argue over who got the Swiss Miss mug.

As a child of the Great Depression, Grammy never threw anything away.  This worked in our favor, as we all enjoyed playing dress up after sifting through the clothes in the many full plastic bags scattered around the house.  We took the clothes home too, which I always considered cool since they were “vintage”.  As a result, I had more polyester in my wardrobe than any kid raised in the 90s had a right to have.

Even though she didn’t have cable or video games, we always found ways to have fun at Grammy’s house.  We’d play office, look through old photo albums, unfold the chairs and jump on the cushions, play outside with Alex the dog and Smokey the cat, nap in the hammock, or play the piano.  Grammy was an excellent piano player and we’ll never hear “Frosty the Snowman”, “Meet Me In St. Louis”, or “Ain’t She Sweet” without thinking of her.

Grammy loved flowers.  She taught us to garden and helped Tricia grow Cotton Candies.  When we went to Disneyland in 1991, she made us stop in front of every beautiful flower so she could take a picture.  Do you know how many pretty flowers are in Disneyland?  It’s a lot.  These arrangements here today are the perfect tribute.  She would have loved them.

Here are some other things that Jackie, Tricia, and I remember fondly about Grammy, in no particular order:

She loved giving and receiving bear hugs
She had a yellow car, which we spent all day watching her buy.
She loved places that offered a senior discount, like Days Inn and Hardee’s
She loved Wheel of Fortune and would play along, writing the puzzles in a notebook every night
She sewed little pouches into her bras and hid money in them when we traveled, which always made it a bit awkward when she insisted on paying for dinner.
She put campho phenique or aloe vera from the plant on whatever ailed us.
She didn’t use toothpaste, but brushed with baking soda.
She kept her house dark and wore special glasses to watch TV
She kept every letter she ever got.
She loved to cut out photos from magazines that she thought looked like us.  They usually didn't look like us.
She hated going to the doctor because she thought they made her sick.
She smelled like wood smoke from her fireplace.  From now on, whenever I smell wood smoke, I’ll know that it’s Grammy, saying hello. 


On Thursday, the day before she died, Mom and I were in her room, watching her sleep.  She hadn’t been responsive since Monday, but had been moving her arms and tossing her head back and forth a bit.  Grammy never liked bright lights, but there happened to be one directly above her bed that was on so that the nurses could see when they came to turn or check on her.  I said to Mom, “You know, I think that light might be bothering her,” and suggested we turn it off.  As soon as I pulled that chain, Grammy opened her eyes, looked right at us, and stretched her arms over her head.  She didn’t stay responsive for long, but we thought that, in case she could hear us, it might be nice to play her some music.  I took out my phone and looked up some of her favorite songs on YouTube and put it up to her hear.  She moved her arms like she was dancing.  I think she heard us.


She was a good grandma and we’ll miss her, but she was ready.  For years, she would say that she didn’t know why she was still here because she’d done all she’d wanted to do.  It’s comforting to know that she’s now at peace.  

We loved you, Grammy.   Thank you for all the wonderful memories.











Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...