Most of the time, conversation is simply little quips back and forth, perhaps something amusing in the debtor mail. But every so often, somebody gets started and it's Nostalgiafest. They're not the sort who tell you how tough everything was, but rather how much better things were, especially people. Around Halloween, they exclaimed how it was no longer safe for kids to go Trick or Treating. (I pointed out that all recorded instances of tampered Halloween candy were performed by the parents of the victim), how you can't leave your doors unlocked, and yes, how there is no longer any personal responsibility. Which is how it ties to our work, since to believe that you're doing right in the debt collection biz is to believe that the debtors are simply irresponsible. And sometimes they're right, but I don't think we're in the best position to judge that.
Still, to hear it told, when they were growing up, everybody shouldered their burden and didn't complain. Listening to them, the idea of nostalgia as an illness seems plausible. It blinds them from an acurate understanding of the past, and impairs their vision of the present.
I like to hope that I am less prone to the disease, though I doubt any of us are immune. I'll hear things from my contemporaries that always make me go 'Huh?' Like people will pick a year and declare that all music that came after it is crap. That year might be their senior prom, when they graduated college, or when they got married. Which is to say, it happened at point when they realized that life was not going to ever get any better than that moment. I, more often, find that there's music that I have a hard time listening to anymore. It puts me too much in that moment, and well, I'm glad that moment is over. So while I was a fanatical Beatles fan in the 7th and 8th grades, I don't have a single Beatles cd, and only ever hear them by accident.
Or there are the people who will spend an afternoon watching cartoons and declare that nobody makes good childrens' cartoons anymore. Truth be told, nobody ever really did. I found a couple of episodes of Transformers on youtube, and they were really bad. I mean, it was way cool when I was a kid, and I can see what appealed to me, but there's only so much you can do in 20 minutes with the assumption that your audience hyper with sugar, and ADD. The characters are flat, the plots simplistic. (I saw Optimus Prime get almost killed, and then revived in time to challenege Megatron to one-on-one combat. It was pretty easy to almost kill Prime, I wonder why the Deceptacons didn't do it every episode).
But as I said, I'm not immune. There are songs that I listen to just because it was on the radio at some point that I was pretty happy. But I try to be honest with myself and admit that there's stuff that I like for that reason, and not because it's somehow better than it's current day equivalent. As for music today, I love it. Not much of what you'll hear on the radio, but it is a fascinating and rich time for music. Admittedly, they're mining quite a bit from the past, themselves, but not as simple rehash. Swing, blues, bluegrass, 60s pop, lounge, bossa nova, new wave, roots, old style country. It's taking a look back, but it always suggests that the best day of my life is tomorrow.
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