In my childhood, we had a phrase that no longer exists.
Not because it faded in popular lexicography, but because the dream came true.
We’d hold up a fist as if to threaten a punch, and we’d say “How would you like to be the first man on the moon?”
In my high school, there was girl named Debbie in my class that had an older sister with physical infirmities. She walked like President Roosevelt, and for the same reason. She was the only person I knew that had suffered from polio. The disease was eradicated during my early childhood. The vaccine was a pink fluid, dropped on a sugar cube, dispensed in the school cafeteria.
We’d read Dick Tracy, watch him on TV on Saturday mornings. You could only watch him on Saturday mornings. At a specific time, on one of the four television stations we received at home. Tracy would talk into his wristwatch and communicate with HQ.
On Star Trek, they had these little communicators that flipped open. Everybody had one. Right on their hip at all times. The ship had a COMPUTER, and First Officer Spock would plug in little things that seemed similar to thumb drives (jump drive, USB storage drive, whatever you call them). Although he didn’t use the term, he could google all the knowledge living beings had placed in this repository! They also had a sleek space vehicle they called the Shuttlecraft.
Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in 1962, warning us of a grim future if we did not stop and take stock of our treatment of the environment.
In the 70’s, we were just waking up to world science. We took DDT (a powerful insecticide) off the market when we discovered it was killing off our national emblem, the bald eagle, by causing the shells of their eggs to be too soft to survive incubation.
The Fish & Wildlife Service captured the last California condor in the wild in order to attempt captive breeding to save the species from extinction!
Now I wonder, what will be the new dreams of this generation, and those that follow?
Polio, smallpox, mumps and other life-threatening childhood diseases have been virtually wiped out.
Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon. The title is taken.
We pull our Star Trek- Dick Tracy phones out of our pockets. They aren’t even phones anymore. They’re “mobile devices”. We can google all the stuff Spock googled.
California condors have some healthy flocks out west, and yesterday I watched as a bald eagle flew up and down the Schoharie Creek, just a hundred yards away.
We have 200 channels of satellite TV. We don’t even need to buy “tapes” to record our Saturday shows. They’re on three times a day, nine times a week, and available on demand for “streaming media”. If we want a recording, we just press the TiVo button.
The dream of the space shuttle has been realized. I show my age with that remark. Most kids today have known the space shuttle all their lives. The dream that came true became a nightmare. I remember the moment I heard that the space shuttle Columbia had inexplicably exploded on re-entry. All hands lost.
Now the space shuttle program is so old, they had to scrap the space craft!
The deepest parts of the oceans, the Marianas Trench, Challenger Deep, have been plumbed by humans.
There are many, many challenges still ahead. Rachel Carson would be pleased at much of the progress, particularly in our own country, but there are still species on the brink of extinction. It’s a bit presumptuous to say, but I’m betting there are many countries around the world that haven’t even reached their “70’s” yet. Still pouring molten lead into the ground, clear-cutting ancient forests, poaching white rhinos with such ferocity that they are now guarded by armed soldiers.
Cancer is eating us alive. Medical science has made amazing progress here, but people are still dying from this “disease within”.
Still, the glory of being the first to land on the moon, the amazement at a communicator smaller than a transistor radio (google it if you need to), the computer that can search all of space in 1.4 seconds… these lofty goals have been realized.
What are The New Dreams?
Be at peace,