Last week, the computer systems at my daughter’s school were frozen by a ransomware hack. Sadly, local municipalities are frequently targets of these Bitcoin seeking desperados, forcing government workers like me to endure hours of inservice training to avoid being held digitally hostage. Luckily, because the police use our servers, my office’s systems are better protected. 

“We still don’t have computers,” my daughter whined a couple of days later. 

“Oh my god,” I said. “They’ve got you using blackboards now?” 

“Dad, that’s, like, so old timey.” 

“Yeah, but no one’s stealing them.” 

Eric Sevareid once said, “No man was ever more than about nine meals away from crime or suicide.” When the Chinese finally launch their digital Pearl Harbor, I predict people will be throwing themselves out of windows before the day ends.  While I’m well aware that such a cyberattack would cause real mayhem and destruction, I also know most people will be freaking because won’t be able to stream porn. The U.S. military, however, knows full well all their fancy technology will shit the bed twenty minutes into any peer conflict. That’s why sailors are still taught how to navigate using sextants, soldiers to use low tech compasses and maps and, until recently, airmen targeted ICBMs using five inch floppy disks. (Methinks the Space Force is screwed, however.) So, in the interest of national preparedness, I’ve come up with a list of “old timey” technologies and habits all American citizens should master. So, without further ado, I present:

Civil Defense Directive Number One

  1. No more emails or texting so learn how to write a letter. Sorry, no emojis unless you draw them. Good penmanship and spelling are a plus.
  2. Learn how to use a paper map that doesn’t tell you all the trendy places to eat. Extra points if you can refold them correctly.
  3. Learn how to tape record free music off the radio. Now, where’s my old boombox?
  4. Dig up that old VHS player. Too bad newspapers don’t print those VCR+ codes anymore. 
  5. Find an old tape answering machine that lets you call in to get your messages. 
  6. Use old fashioned cash and keep it under your mattress. 
  7. Order takeout over the phone. It’s not that hard. 
  8. Discover the joys of waiting an hour for a taxi.
  9. Buy your airline tickets at the airport. (That is if the planes are still flying.) I see travel agents making a big comeback. 
  10. Learn how to spam people via fax
  11. Teach kids to use mimeograph machines. They’ll love the high.
  12. Learn how to ask a woman out in person. 
  13. Figure out where your local library is. 
  14. Get a HAM radio operators license. Hell, make your own radio. I did that as a kid. 
  15. Under eighteen? Learn how to scam convenience store clerks into letting you buy that porno mag. (If you’re really hard up, there’s always the lingerie section in the Sears Catalog. Oh wait, they’re out of business.) 
  16. Buy stamps. Lots of stamps. And envelopes! 
  17. Bring back Walkmans
  18. Learn how to read a newspaper without messing it up for the next person. (I drove my dad nuts with that one.)
  19. Learn how to use a typewriter. You’re going to love carbon paper and white out. (Now you’ll know what “C.C.” really means!) 
  20. Pay attention to where you’re going. That way you won’t need a map next time. 
  21. Wear a wristwatch. Just remember what the big and little hands are for and you’ll be fine. 
  22. Keep lots of loose change in your car. No one likes the jerk who asks the toll taker to break a twenty. Don’t be that guy. 
  23. Having quarters is also good for using payphones – that is if you can find one. (Buy stock in companies who make them!) 
  24. Teach kids that their imaginations are better than any video game. 
  25. Buy real books and records instead of leasing them digitally. 
  26.  Take up scrapbooking. When the internet goes belly up, all those snaps you took of your precious types will go “poof.” 
  27. Take pictures of your food with an Instamatic camera and have slides made. Then load them into a Carousel and bore the shit out of your friends at your next fondue party. They’ll all be peaking at their watches going Tik Tok. 
  28.  Bring back Fotomats!  That way, when you have your dick pics developed, your Only Fans will be the people who work there. 
  29. Go to an old fashioned movie theater to watch movies. You’ll love the 3000 calorie $15 popcorn. (I personally sneak in candy.) 
  30. Befriend someone named Siri or Alexa. That way you won’t feel so lonely. 
  31. Turn on the news to get the weather. 
  32. Miss Reddit? Call Dial a Joke
  33. Merchant mariners need to use sextants, clocks, compasses, and paper maps, to plot their courses. A merchant mariner told me the Russians and Chinese routinely spoof GPS signals because no one prints old fashioned paper charts anymore. 
  34. When watching television, time your bathroom breaks during the commercials. 
  35. Remember, a self-driving car is when you have one finger on the wheel with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth while fiddling with the radio. (Extra points if your kids are in the backseat with the windows are rolled up.) 

Personally, I think those of us who remember the 70’s and 80’s will fare best after the digital apocalypse or, at the very least, the last to succumb. If you have anything to add to this list, leave it in the comments section. Duck and cover motherfuckers! 

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