It has been said that one thing that they are not making any more of is time. I am not sure who the “they” are, but as someone who is coping with cancer I am acutely aware of the passage of time. It is challenging, under the best of circumstances, to accept the rapidity with which time goes by. And as someone who is in his mid-40s, even if I did not have leukemia, my time would be roughly half gone. Thus, the fact that no one is seemingly making any more of it is highly disconcerting.
I recently saw on Facebook a picture that one of my high school classmates posted of our whole gang of friends from our teenage years. My initial reaction was, “Why did I think those glasses were a good look for me?” The next thought I had was, “I cannot believe this picture is 30 years old. It seems like just yesterday when we were all together enjoying our youth and acting immaturely.” Of course, I do not really act any more mature today than I did back in 1990, but it does have the unintended benefit of being somewhat of a hedge against feeling older. Also, I should note that I think most of us were full of teenage angst, so the enjoyment factor is probably nostalgic revisionism. Regardless, the fact that it all feels like just yesterday is quite unsettling: I can see how rapidly the time is slipping by, and with no more of it available for purchase, barter or other means of acquisition I can easily see how it will not be long before I will be looking back on this point, also with unrealistic nostalgia, with a sense of wistful longing.
All of this got me to thinking about other things that they are no longer making any more of. One that immediately springs to mind, and which is often noted for this fact, is land. In fact, given the rising sea levels, “they” are effectively making less of it. This is not a political statement; just a fact (which I realize some people consider today to be a political statement). I sometimes think that I should buy up some land in my home state of West Virginia as it is landlocked and mountainous, but at the rate we are going it could become beach-side property before long. We might get the last laugh on Virginia after all.
Another item that they are no longer making any more of, and this is quite bothersome, is Mars bars. I will admit that they were never my favorite candy bar – nor anyone else’s as far as I know – which may explain why they are no longer making them. But the cutting back of our selection of candy bars does not seem like a step forward for humankind. Similarly, whatever happened to brown M&Ms? I am old enough to remember when they only came in four colors: brown, orange, green and yellow. Then they decided the red ones were not actually toxic after all, brought those back and it just opened the door for every color of the rainbow, which of course means brown is out (ROYGBIV – the B is for blue). I am sure, however, that brown was the least favorite color. Since it is the color of chocolate, it just seems redundant.
Also discontinued were a number of automobiles that were key members of our fleet. Gone are the Oldsmobiles, Saturns and AMCs. Datsun is also long gone, as is Pontiac. Of course, Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles were GM products, so it is understandable why they might have gone by the boards. Another one that has been relegated to the car lot of history is the Pacer. Note that I did not say that discontinuance of everything is bad.
More upsetting is the fact that Seinfeld was discontinued over two decades ago. I know, it doesn’t seem like it since it is aired several times a day on several different networks that are part of any cable line-up. And it is a testament to its genius that people still talk about it as if it were new. But think of all the lost opportunities over the last 20 years. Texting alone could be the basis for an episode of misunderstandings. And undoubtedly Internet dating would be a field ripe for George to bungle (and possibly Kramer to boot).
Other things that they are not making any more of include, in no particular order, New Coke or McDLTs (but neither of these stuck around for long enough to really miss so including them is really just a thinly-veiled attempt to get a chuckle), Super-Size anything, white athletic socks (these might still be available somewhere but now everything is black, which in days past I only wore with my suits), bipartisanship, shows starring Bill Cosby, shows featuring some part of Bob Newhart’s name, Boeing 747s, space shuttles, action movies that are not remakes of earlier versions of the same film, history programs for the History Channel, socially acceptable white sandwich bread, commercials featuring either Mayor McCheese or the Hamburgler, records, record players, cassettes, 5 ¼” floppy disks, 3 1/8” not-very-floppy disks, children addressing adults by either “Mr.”, “Mrs.” or “Ms.” or some inaccurate honorific (such as “Uncle Gordon” even though Gordon is not the brother of either of my parents or married to any of their siblings) and affordable college educations.