Baby Boomers pride themselves on a set of essential skills, but in a world like ours, how many of these necessary bits of knowledge are going the way of the dinosaurs? Strap in and face facts about these 18 skills.
Driving a Manual Transmission
Knowing how to operate a manual transmission vehicle was once viewed as a rite of passage. With automatic transmissions now standard in most vehicles, the skill of driving stick has become increasingly niche.
Making a Collect Call
The collect call was a staple of public communication when away from home. The onset of affordable mobile plans and ubiquitous smartphones has made the knowledge of making a collect call as outdated as the payphones from which they were often made.
Reading a Paper Map
Back in the day, being adept at reading a paper map was a must-have skill, especially for family road trips or exploring unknown areas. In our brave new world, the accessibility of GPS technology and navigation apps on smartphones has made this far less necessary than it once was.
Producing Neat Cursive Writing
Learning cursive writing was once a hallmark of elementary education. The ability to write beautifully in cursive was not just for show; it was an essential means of communication. Today, however, keyboards and touchscreens have sidelined cursive as a specialty skill.
Dialing a Rotary Phone
Rotary phones were the standard for years, requiring a specific technique for dialing. It involved rotating a circular dial for each number, a method that’s virtually extinct due to the convenience and speed of touchpads and voice-activated dialing on modern smartphones.
Balancing a Checkbook
Balancing a checkbook manually spent decades as a crucial skill for keeping one’s finances in order. With digital banking, automated payments, and budgeting apps, this previously vital task has largely been almost automated.
Using a Card Catalog
The card catalog was the heart of a library’s organizational system. If you wanted to find a book, you needed to understand the Dewey Decimal System. Not so today; nowadays, digital databases and searchable online catalogs have eradicated the need for this skill.
Rewinding a VHS Tape
Rewinding VHS tapes was a common household task if you wanted to rewatch a favorite movie or show. For today’s audience, streaming services offer on-demand viewing, making the rewind button a nostalgic memory.
Writing a Formal Letter
Formal letters were once the standard for important communication, requiring an understanding of proper formatting and etiquette. While formal writing still has its place, emails and instant messaging have become the dominant forms of day-to-day correspondence.
Cooking from Scratch
Cooking every meal from scratch was the norm, especially before the spread of fast food and ready-made meals. Today, however, convenient cooking solutions abound, from delivery apps to microwaveable meals, slashing the need for this time-consuming skill.
Repairing Household Items
The ability to repair household items, from patching up clothing to fixing appliances, was once a valuable skill set. Nowadays, consumer culture often encourages buying new rather than fixing old, diminishing the use of these repair skills.
Shorthand was a secretarial skill used for rapidly transcribing spoken words. The prevalence of digital recording and transcription services has largely phased out the need for shorthand in modern office settings.
Programming a VCR
Before the rise of digital recording and streaming services, setting a VCR to record television programs was a common task. The functionality has since been replaced by more user-friendly digital options, making VCR programming an antiquated skill.
Understanding Morse Code
Morse code was a widely used form of communication, particularly in military and emergency services. Advances in communication technology have largely superseded this system, rendering it a niche skill.
Sewing a Button
Being able to sew on a button or mend a tear was something anyone could do. Sadly, time has made this skill less important for many. Not only do some people lack the skill, but a lot of clothes aren’t sturdy enough to repair.
Using a Slide Rule
Before electronic calculators, slide rules were the go-to tool for mathematical calculations. The advent of digital calculators has made knowing how to use a slide rule a thing of the past.
Using a Fax Machine
Before email and cloud storage, fax machines were a standard method for transmitting documents. This technology has now been largely replaced by more efficient digital methods, relegating fax machines to the sidelines.
Adjusting Rabbit Ears on a TV
The “rabbit ears” antenna was once indispensable for television reception. With digital and satellite TV, the need to manually adjust these antennas for better signal quality has all but disappeared. The person who could position it just the right way has been retired in living rooms across the world.
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