Requiem for a Video Store

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On a Friday night, when I was a kid in the 90s, my entire family would get in the car and go to a store, called Video for You. It was a tiny shop filled to the brim with all kinds of movies. Horror, romance, action, or anything else you could possibly think of. The shelves went from floor to ceiling with thousands of titles. The clerk knew who we were and would greet us on the way in.

My brother and I were complete opposites. He loved action movies about ninjas and I wanted to watch fantasies. We would scour every shelf looking for the perfect compromise. Maybe a ninja that goes back in time? Or a knight that trained with ninjas? My dad hated to watch “kiddy” movies and would veto anything without a real plot. The clerk would eventually help out with a recommendation we could all enjoy together.

The other day I realized that no new families will have that experience. They won’t get in the car to go to a video store and they won’t go to the frozen yogurt shop next door afterward. It will be too much of a hassle to go out and find the perfect movie for the night when they get Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime directly connected to their TV. There won’t really be a need to argue about which movie to watch when you can play the second and third choice back to back.

When my brother and I argued, it was because we might never get the chance to watch the other one. It might not be available for rent the next time or we might have forgotten the title by then. A missed opportunity. The stakes were higher. Now you can just add it to the lineup and watch it right after. There’s no need to argue over the perfect movie for the night. You can watch anything and everything without ever leaving your living room.

Some of you may think, you’re reminiscing about the 90’s? And video stores? They went out of business for a reason. Wait until you’re 40, 50, or 60 then you’ll really understand how much the world changes. Just because I’m only 26 doesn’t mean I can’t notice the differences.

The 90s weren’t that long ago yet the world has changed a lot.

When I was a kid, computers were a new thing. My family was one of the first to get AOL. It took a full 5 minutes to sign in and pull up your email. There were pop up ads every 15 seconds and no such thing as Wikipedia or Facebook.

Now we get frustrated if it takes longer than 30 seconds to set up a computer and downright irate if a website doesn’t load in 10.  The world is moving faster than ever and we’re becoming more impatient.

With limitless information and entertainment at our fingertips, will people value things the same way they used to? Will they bother remembering who the 32nd President was when they can look it up online in 5 seconds?

Millenials are the last generation to grow up without an abundance of technology.

No one had a cell phone in elementary school let alone an Instagram or Twitter followers. Youtube was barely popular. Facebook was only for college kids. Amazon didn’t exist.

What did we do in the dark ages?

We had to talk to each other at dinner and humor our parents with a description about what happened at school instead of checking feeds on our phones.

And we went to video stores.

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Big Goals

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The big goals always seem to be overwhelming. I tend to think they’re better broken up into small goals. The small goals help build up your habits so that in the long term you have a big accomplishment.

The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.

A step is so small is seems insignificant, but you put 20 together and you’ve traveled a block. Eventually it turns into a mile. You forget all the little steps that got you there. The brain tends to go on autopilot after a habit has been created. Then you no longer remember the effort it took to make yourself take those tiny steps.

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The One Room Schoolhouse

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The United States has always been a wild place. It almost always seemed like everything could fall apart. New settlers would expand the frontier and then the wild towns would become neighborhoods. They would build a church and families would start to live there.

Then they would build a one room schoolhouse. The kids sitting in class would learn their Bible study and how to write. They would learn about the world sitting in that class. They were isolated form the rest of the world and wouldn’t have been able to look things up on the internet.

Today I worry that the internet could be the thing that destroys us. Instead of sitting in school and trying to learn, kids can avoid any work and look up nonsense on their phones. They’re probably only interested in the latest TV show or new trend. They don’t depend on their community to teach them about the way life is. Instead of building a foundation first they can start from the roof down. There are no limitations to work through. It worries me that the act of learning has become too easy so its value has become less. I’ve heard kids say often they don’t feel the need to memorize things because they can always look it up later. If no one bothers to remember the basics how can they ever evaluate or create something new? If you can’t remember what came before, wouldn’t you repeat what’s already been done?

It happens all the time with pop culture. Not even much time has to pass for people to forget. No one remember’s Lady Gaga’s last song. Who’s Iggy Azalea? She’s so cool right now.

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LYL Blog Challenge: Day 2

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One of the things that makes me the angriest is the way that every child believes in miracles and yet so few adults believe anything good will happen to them. Each of my beautiful, amazing, smart friends is dating some douche bag because they don’t think they can do better and my talented musician friends will never be famous because someone along the way convinced them that they’re not good enough since they can’t play Chopin in perfect time.

I believe that everyone is capable of amazing things.

They have the potential to succeed at anything they can imagine except that they have been slowly convinced that they’re not good enough. Over time, their dreams are toppled over like dominos and their hearts become bitter until they themselves are discouraging others from their dreams.

When I was teaching I realized that my gift has always been seeing the potential in other people. I’ve never met someone that didn’t have at least a couple talents. Sure not everyone is really smart or funny, but I truly believe each person will find at least one thing they are great at in their life.

One of the little girls I was teaching was the worst student I had ever seen. She had a severe learning disability and it was almost impossible to get her to sit down let alone study. She’ll probably never go to college, but you should have seen the way she entered the room. All the teachers loved her because she was so sweet and funny. It makes me angry that in school she’ll probably only hear that she isn’t smart enough and never mind that she’s a good person with a big heart.

Teaching an adult with disabilities, I asked him what his take was on the literature we read and waited until he could put his thoughts together. It seemed like no one had bothered to ask before. I told him that it would happen if he ever went back to college so I was trying to get him used to the process. After a few months, he quit the program to enroll in a community college.

It makes me angry that society will try to beat out the innate potential out of these people. The little girl that lights up a room and the guy with interesting opinions that has never had the opportunity to voice them.

I wonder what these people could bring to the world if we would let them.

Even though I don’t work with them anymore, I still worry if they’re all right and if they still have those gifts. I hope they don’t lose them.

It makes me angry that I don’t know how to fix these problems. If I had unlimited resources, I would figure out a way to help people find themselves and bring their gifts to the world. The things that only they could bring. The world could always use more of that.

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