People of a certain age remember a time before VCRs, DVDs, Hulu and YouTube when you couldn’t wait for Saturday morning.
And cartoons. Oh man. Cartoons.
You probably also remember waiting for that one time a year that “The Wizard of Oz” was going to be on TV. And if you missed it, tough luck kid. There’s always next year.
Watching video with my kids now, there is no sense whatsoever of not being able to watch what you want, when you want. Pop in a disc. Click on a link. Instant gratification.
I’m not saying this is bad – simply that the scarcity of popular content made the watching of weekend cartoons and annual televised events more of a communal event than they seem today. And all the more special because the anticipation was as much a part of the event as the actual viewing.
The Christmas specials like Rudolph and A Charlie Brown Christmas still have a bit of that element of anticipation for me. Still, I can find a handful of online places to watch these at any time I want. But it’s not the same.
I think there’s an important role for delayed gratification, if for nothing other than to augment our experiences with that sense of anticipation.
Different age, a different world.
I wonder what my sons will look back upon 30 years down the road as those things they most looked forward to with the same anticipation I did, waiting to watch the Road Runner or the Banana Splits.
I hope it’s the stuff we did together. Because I sense that time is all too scarce with each passing day.