Way back in my Snot-Nose Days, I visited the New York World’s Fair.
No, not the one that ran from 1939 to 1940: I’m not that damn old. This was the 1964-65 version.
There was a lot of impressive stuff at that World’s Fair... if, as I was at the time, you were easily impressed. There were the architecturally adventurous pavilions - if you’ve seen Men in Black, then you’ve seen the New York State pavilion, with its flying saucer-like towers. There was the Unisphere, a stainless steel globe that symbolically portrayed the Unity of Mankind On Earth. Kum-Bay-Fucking-Ya.
There was the General Electric Carousel of Progress, offering glimpses of American families past and future as they went about the business of chewing up the Earth’s resources in pursuit of the ideal, electrically facilitated Middle Class Lifestyle. So popular was this exhibit that it was picked up lock, stock, and barrel and carted off initially to Disneyland and thence to Walt Disney World, where it may be seen unto this very day.
There was the “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” show at the Illinois pavilion, in which a robotic Honest Abe stood up from his chair and began speechifying. I recall that, to my sixth-grade perception, it was shockingly, eerily realistic. The show eventually evolved into the Hall of Presidents attraction at - you guessed it - Walt Disney World.
There were Brussels waffles - humongous, thick, floor mat-sized confections served with strawberries, a scoop of ice cream, and a hefty dollop of schlag. Good Gawd.
And there was the Bell Telephone pavilion, where you could see a demonstration of AT&T’s futuristic Picturephone technology. The boxy, kludgy Picturephone was a bust - there were only a handful of public Picturephone booths, and the cost was a jaw-dropping $16 for a three-minute call - but at least people knew it could be done.
Fast forward four-and-a-half decades.
Nobody back in 1964 would have dreamed of devices like laptop computers, iPads, and smartphones that each carry more computing horsepower than Mission Control did back during the days of the moon shots. But here they are... and we also have this:
Using the magic of modern technology - a MacBook with built-in webcam and free Skype software - The Mistress of Sarcasm converses with the ’rents while cuddling sweet Bernadette.
Sometimes I wonder about our modern technology and whether it is, on balance, a Good Thing. But not when the Missus and I can carry on a conversation with the Mistress of Sarcasm and see every facial expression, every grimace and grin, despite her being at a thousand-mile remove. Hooray for Skype!