I love reminiscing about the good ole days sometimes, and that is how I stumbled on this fun thread in an online forum: “People born before 1990, what trivial skill do you possess that no one uses anymore?” Here are some of their best answers! Do you remember?
1. Driving a Manual Transmission
The ability to drive a manual transmission has faded over the decades (at least in America). I am so grateful my father insisted that I learn to drive on a stick shift, so I would never be stuck.
2. Making Mixed Tapes
Making mix tapes is a lost art that involved into burning CDs and has since completely disappeared from our everyday life. Making mix tapes was my jam, and I remember recording the radio at night so I could listen to what I missed when I woke up to get ready for school.
Remember speed-dialing the radio station over and over to request your favorite songs? The worst was when the DJ spoke over the song during the intro or ending.
3. Rewinding a Cassette With a Pencil
Speaking of cassette tapes — nothing would ruin your day quite like the tape deck eating your favorite cassette. However, a pencil was a Godsend for rewinding it back in —while praying it still plays right.
4. Making Change
Being able to make change by doing the math in your head went away with cash registers that prompt the return. One forum member shares a story about his father recently rounding up change.
“He didn’t want any pennies, so when the change back was supposed to include four pennies, he gave her one penny so that he would get $6.05 back.” They continue by stating the cashier was absolutely baffled! “She called over her manager. Her manager was dumbfounded!”
5. Read a Map
Numerous thread contributors volunteer that their trivial skill is that they can read maps. In the technological age of GPS, the need for a paper map has dwindled for most. However, some admit to still having them. One clarifies, “I can read a paper map like a land pirate.” More impressively, they can fold it properly too. Skills!
6. BASIC Programming
Multiple people agree and laugh react to one who admits that they can program in BASIC! Another adds they can program in 6502 Assembly. I can safely say I never possessed these skills.
7. Using a Typewriter
Several people confess they can use a typewriter with the whiteout and correction tape. A user shares: “I can still him my typing teacher walking around the room giving instructions. Better have the correct posture too.”
8. Operate a Non-Digital Camera
Do you remember back in the day when you had to load, rewind, drop off, and pick up the film? Yeah, Of course, there are some photographers who still. However, your typical human being is using digital cameras and cell phones. The worst part was that you couldn’t see the image you took. So you would take a roll of 24 pictures and get your envelope back with maybe three decent photos.
9. How to Record Over Media
This skill applies to both cassette and VHS tapes. Putting Scotch tape over the holes enabled you to record over the media already them. One user states they achieved this with toilet paper. I’ve never heard of it or seen it done that way, but I’ll take their word for it. A second person adds, “That heavy red record button on the took some pressing.”
10. Perfect Needle Drop
A music aficionado admits, “I can drop a needle on an LP (that’s a record for you youngins) right between the tracks.” Another person jokes, “Can you still, or do you need reading glasses now?”
11. Making Book Covers
YES! Oh, nostalgia. I remember using paper grocery bags to make book covers for our school textbooks. There was some fancy colored paper you could buy, but I never experienced that luxury. When someone questions whether students today still do it, a parent chimes in and says: “They don’t have textbooks anymore!” We’ve evolved to Chromebooks.
12. Balancing a Checkbook
Heck, for that matter, writing a check! I’m sure people still balance their checkbooks with debit transactions, but these younger generations aren’t using that skill. Online banking apps allow you to check your balance and see all transactions and deposits.
13. Operating Box TVs
There are several skills involved with properly operating a box TV. For example: adjusting the TV antenna, banging on the side of the TV for a clearer picture, and last but not least, all people born before 1990 owned the role of “Being a personal remote control.”
14. Operating Answering Machines
“Tippy-toe! Tippy-toe!” That’s a Seinfeld reference to an episode where George leaves a nasty message on an answering machine of the woman he is dating and plots a way to change the tape. I doubt any Zoomers know how to operate an answering machine.
15. Operating Rotary Phones
I’ll never forget a video I saw on social media of a mom who had her kids try to dial a rotary phone. Needless to say, they were clueless, and I was laughing hysterically. But if it is not a skill you’ve learned, regardless of how simple it may be, you’re not going to know it.
16. Retain Trivia
One member replies, “Uh —Trivia. Nobody knows anything obscure anymore since the advent of Google.” Yes! My husband and I were just talking about how, back in the day, you would have to obsessively think about things until they randomly popped into your head two days after not remembering something.
17. Use the Dewey Decimal System
Countless individuals explain that their outdated skill is the ability to use the Dewey Decimal System. One argues that it is still used. However, we aren’t talking about computers here. We mean the old-school card catalogs in the little wooden drawers.
18. Read and Write In Cursive
I remember hearing that cursive was going to be the writing of the future, but it did not go as planned. Recently, I read they had done away with teaching it, and my only question is: How will people sign their names?
19. T9 Texting
T9 texting was a skill I had perfected. I could walk around with my hand in my apron and T9 people without even looking. But those days are long gone and replaced with things like swipe and voice text.
20. Parallel Parking
In all fairness, people still parallel park, but do they do it without assistance or a backup camera? According to many in the forum, it’s unlikely. I’ll never forget how excited I was when it came time for me to do my driving test because I nailed parallel parking. Only problem? I’d been parking between cars, not cones, and somehow it threw me off, and it’s the only part of my test I messed up on!
20 Nostalgic TV Shows Gen X Tried To Watch That Just Don’t Cut It Today
An online Gen X forum member recently asked, “What TV shows have you tried to watch out of nostalgia, and it just doesn’t work anymore.” Here are their top-voted responses. Do you agree?
15 Most Successful Lies in the History of Man
What is the most successful lie in history? Recently, a man took to an internet forum with this question, and the subsequent discussion provided these answers.
20 Little Things That Are the Most Gen X Things Ever
Times have changed since I was a latchkey kid fending for myself and spending the majority of my life outdoors. Kids today have no idea about anything from my childhood today. After someone asked a Gen X forum, “What are the most Gen X things ever?” They responded with a nice trip down memory lane.
15 Things You Do That Signals to Everyone Around You That You’re Insecure
Are you able to pick up on signals from people that indicate their insecurities? You’re not alone. Someone recently asked a popular online community for …
15 Signs That Deep Down You Are a Terrible Person
According to the internet, some undeniable signs signal to others when you are a terrible person. Someone asked a popular forum, “What are signs someone is a horrible person deep down?” And here is how the online community responded.
Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.