Walking the Dinosaur

I slipped into a meeting at work yesterday morning carrying a red and white Netflix envelope containing a DVD I was planning on dropping into the mailbox across the street afterwards. Judging by the response from my coworkers, you’d think I’d shown up with some rare, barely-glimpsed artifact from a different era.

“Is that an actual DVD?” Dan asked. When I responded in the affirmative, Kat replied, “They still make those things?!”



They went on to tell me that I “must be grandfathered in” because Netflix is a streaming-only service nowadays, and new members do not have an option for receiving DVDs. A little Internet sleuthing showed that this is not true. At least, I don’t think it’s true. Kat insists she signed up a month ago and was not allowed to select a DVD plan. After reading the above article, I’ll admit I was surprised by the prevalence of the streaming business; the latest figures show streaming customers outnumber DVD customers by about a 7-to-1 margin, and the gap continues to grow. The article calls shipping DVDs by mail “retro.” Hmm. This is all news to me.

No sooner had that dust settled than a friend messaged me to tell me her husband had just booked them an apartment in Honolulu for their upcoming honeymoon via Air BNB. “Too high-tech for me,” I told her, “This Air BNB business. I know nothing about that.” And it’s true: I have only the vaguest notion about what Air BNB is. Something about strangers renting out their homes to travelers. Kind of like a motel without the rack of postcards in the lobby. Without the lobby, for that matter. When I asked Kat if not knowing about Air BNB made me old, her response was an emphatic YES. Capital letters and all. Even though we sit across from each other we were holding an electronic conversation, because that’s what this generation does.

Jesus, I feel old.

(And I just Googled “Air BNB.” Found out it’s actually “Airbnb.” See how hopelessly out of touch I am?).

When I got my first “real” job after college, I was the young, fresh-faced guy in the office, the newbie who didn’t know his way around a fax machine. Now, 20+ years later? My office doesn’t even have a fax machine. And even if we did, it would be about as alien to some as that weird red and white envelope I was carrying around. They’d probably think it was some newfangled coffee maker and end up accidentally calling China while randomly pushing buttons to get a perfect brew. Not helping matters is the fact that a couple of my coworkers are younger than my son. I was sitting in somebody’s office yesterday for a conference call and came to the disheartening realization that I had already graduated from college and was faxing stuff at my first “real” job before she was even born. 

She probably has a Netflix streaming-only subscription and books exclusively through Airbnb whenever she goes on vacation.

Dinosaur on Leash

Meanwhile here I am, walking the dinosaur every morning before work. At least in their eyes. It wouldn’t surprise me if they start calling me Fred soon. As in Flintstone. Though if it were up to me, I’d rather be Barney. ‘Cause, you know…


Some of my blogging friends can relate to this post, I’m sure. But others are like my China-calling, coffee-brewing “what’s that shiny plastic disc you’ve got there?” coworkers.

The generation gap has never felt wider.



Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

16 thoughts on “Walking the Dinosaur

  1. Hmmm, I used to like you, but now I see that you aren’t feeding your pet dinosaur nearly enough and I can’t associate with people who are cruel to their animals.


  2. I hear you, Mark! My son had to ship his laptop out for service yesterday and he actually emerged from his ‘cave’ and was caught flipping through the stations on our TV in the family room! Quelle horror! He said he felt like he was back in the nineties. I reminded him he was born in the nineties and that his kids will enjoy bringing up that he was born in the 1900’s. Won’t that be fun?

    I used a ‘word processor’ at my first job after college, so yeah.


    1. “Back in the nineties.” How sad is that! As if that decade is now considered part of the distant past.

      Audrey was born in 2000. She can’t even make the 1900s claim!


  3. I listened to President Roosevelt’s speech on the radio the other day. It was so inspiring. I urge you the vote to reelect President Roosevelt. I’ll send you a telegraph reminder.


  4. “It wouldn’t surprise me if they start calling me Fred soon. As in Flintstone. Though if it were up to me, I’d rather be Barney. ‘Cause, you know…Betty.”

    HAHAHAHA! Mark, that is hilarious! And yes, I can relate. I too am a Fred Flintstone when it comes to new technology, and much more stone age than you are. Hell, I still use a VHS player for some of my movies and I also use a CD player to listen to music. Also, I don’t even have a cell phone.

    And speaking of streaming Netflix, I’m actually thinking about doing that on my computer because I don’t have cable tv.


    1. “And speaking of streaming Netflix, I’m actually thinking about doing that on my computer.”

      Look at you, stepping into the late 90s! Bold move, Ron. You just might end up with that cell phone by the year 2020. 😉


  5. I think I already admitted my future telling faux pas where I said “DVDs are just a fad” when they first came out. However…it is kinda true now. Blu Rays have taken over or streaming. So, I’m going to go on the record as saying “That’s what I meant.” And therefore, I was right. We’ll just ignore the fact that I thought VHS tapes would still be around. Completely disregard that fact.

    But if it makes you feel better, I still buy DVDs, rent DVDs, and watch DVDs. And I use a fax machine at work – not to call China – but to fax papers to people. I use the copier to make all my overseas calls.


    1. That does make me feel better, Jess. I miss those ancient Friday nights where it was a ritual to walk into Hollywood Video and pick out a couple of movies to rent for the weekend. I remember when they made the switch from VHS tapes to DVDs and I thought, how cutting-edge!


  6. We, shit–I don’t even have a smart phone. My kids call it my “dumb phone”–the same geniuses who, when they were young, once begged me to go to McDonalds for Happy Meals but I made sandwiches at home, to which one–then about 5–said, “this is a SAD meal.” We have a local video store that rents dirt cheap, about 2 bucks and you get ’em for 3+ days–and older ones are $1 or even 2/$1. I’ll keep renting until they close–it’ll be like the Alamo, streaming videos surrounding us, but I’ll never surrender. Until I do.


    1. I’m glad to hear some people are still renting movies from actual video stores! Long live Hollywood. Blockbuster can bite it, though. I never did care for them much.

      “This is a SAD meal.” That’s priceless! Out of the mouths of babes, huh?


  7. Yeah, I have a very similar experience with my kids. When they introduce to me some new cool kind of idea, I’m like whatever. But sooner or later, I’m forced to do it their way. Dad, we can’t send you a photo because you don’t have a Whatsapp. Dad, why do you want to spend on a hotel, you can rent an Airbnb apartment. Dad, get yourself a new laptop, this one does not have a touchscreen. Oh my, our lives are more complicated than ever.


    1. When my now-wife first moved in I used to tease her mercilessly about her boxes full of VHS tapes. But I probably never would have seen Drop Dead Fred if not for those, so…umm…thank you, babe?

      Liked by 1 person

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