For decades, football players would frequently develop issues with depression, rage, and memory loss following their heavy-hitting careers. At first, they were told that it had to do with struggling to adjust to life after football. Today, we know that these were symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by hits to the head.
For years, doctors were telling soldiers suffering from similar symptoms that they too were struggling to adjust to life as a private citizen. We are finally realizing that CTE is affecting our soldiers too.
On an episode of 60 Minutes, Joy Kieffer described the differences she saw in her son, Sgt. Kevin Ash, after he returned from three deployments. Sgt. Ash had withstood 12 combat blasts during his service and his mother felt he was a new person when he came home in 2012.
He told his mother about numerous blackouts he had endured and eventually began withdrawing into his depression and away from his family. By age 34, he was gone.
Fortunately for others, Sgt. Ash wanted to donate his brain to science. His mother had it examined by VA-Boston University-Concussion Legacy Foundation Brain Bank. Dr. Ann McKee leads the team and has a history of examining the brain for CTE.
Over the summer, one of her studies made the news. In it, she studied 111 deceased NFL players brains and found that 110 of them had CTE. She then studied former player Aaron Hernandez’s brain and stated it was the most severe case of CTE she’d ever seen, even though he was under 30.
Dr. McKee studied 102 brains of former soldiers. While football players almost uniformly have signs of CTE, she found that 66 of the 102 veterans she examined also had it. She said of the effects of a bomb blast, “This blast injury causes a tremendous sort of– ricochet or– or– a whiplash injury to the brain inside the skull and that’s what gives rise to the same changes that we see in football players, as in military veterans.”
Naturally, she found evidence of CTE in Sgt. Ash’s autopsy. Unfortunately, it can only be diagnosed after death. We can only hope to be able to diagnose it sooner in the future.
Technology has changed a lot over the last few decades. As a result of these changes, a lot of things which we used to worry about have stopped being problems. There is better internet, smartphones, streaming services as well as smart home devices thereby making life easier. Below we highlight 40 outdated problems that no one can relate to anymore.
Today, you drive everywhere using Google maps for directions, hardly breaking a sweat before arriving at your destination. Moving around and visiting new places was however not so easy in the past decades as map printouts were used to navigate unfamiliar territory.
Typically, the passenger in the front seat served as the navigator, playing the role which the Google Voice Assistant plays today.
In an era in which smartphones double as cameras, it is funny considering how difficult photography was back in the day. Then, you would take pictures with your camera and have to wait a week before getting to see the shots you took.
It often turned out that the pictures had bad lighting or were spoilt by interference. Many important events went undocumented as a result.
While kids of today worry about the latest video games, Twitter and Instagram, one of our favorite pastimes was to try to force a boogie board underwater while swimming.
No matter how hard we tried though, we were always unsuccessful as the boogie board always came back up to hit one in the face. A shame that no one worries about that anymore.
There was a hack that many people used, to avoid paying for polyphonic ringtones. What did they do? They recorded their favorite songs off the radio and used it as a ringtone.
This was, however, a bit problematic as you needed to get a clear recording without interruption. Noise from the family or even the DJ chipping in a word or two mid-song was always painful.
Missing Your Channel
These days, you can simply type in the channel number that you want to watch on your TV remote. Back in the day, you had to get your station using great focus and precision.
If you happened to miss your station whenever it scrolled unto the screen, you had to wait until it scrolled back around. Imagine having to miss minutes of your favorite show, just because you are waiting for the channel.
Rewinding A Tape Using A Pencil
Today, you can simply start your favorite song again with a simple click, but it involved way more physical input back then.
You needed to rewind the tape using a rewinder, and in case you did not have one (which was a frequent occurrence), you had to improvise using things like a pen or pencil.
Today we have fast internet and 5G completing large file downloads within minutes. This was not always the case, as Windows sometimes took 39 years to download a file. Well, not exactly 39 years but that was the kind of estimate which you got sometimes.
It was so bad your download time could move from an estimated two years to five minutes within seconds! Kids these days will never know about this struggle.
Internet used to be very expensive and the phones that were available at the time did not help you save costs. Unlike the phones we have today, it was hard to cancel a command after you clicked the button on your flip.
If mistakenly clicking the internet button when on a phone, you would have to cancel the command a dozen times or even take out the battery of the phone. It was either this or having to bear the cost of the internet connection.
This is one problem you might like to experience once again, as the thrill of catching every scene of your favorite TV show was quite blissful.
Today, streaming services like Netflix mean you can binge-watch your favorite shows anywhere and at any time you please. This is unlike the old days, when even taking a bathroom break could mean missing an important scene in your favorite show.
If you had a car in the ’90s, you would recognize the struggle that came with removing your stereo faceplate whenever you were leaving your car. Stereos were the easy spot for car thieves in an idle car, as it was quite easy to sell them off on the black market.
The car stereos which we have today are more sophisticated and very difficult to pull out, thereby eliminating the need to secure your stereo faceplate.
As if downloading was not hard enough at that time, they could be ruined with a simple phone call. This made downloading a stressful process that required great patience and perseverance as you could not use your phone line for anything else until it was done.
There were many more people like this guy who had spent 17 hours downloading music from Napster, only for his mom to pick up the phone and interrupt it at 96%. Imagine having to wait another 17+ hours.
The Red Screen of Death
The ‘Red Screen of Death’ was one of the biggest nightmares for early gamers who played PS2. Your PlayStation displayed this whenever it could not identify the disc inserted. It either meant the disc was a fake or your lenses was dirty.
A big sigh of relief always went around whenever the Red Screen of Death was avoided, as you could then play to your satisfaction.
Sending Risky Texts
The definition of “risky texts” today has greatly changed from what it used to be in the past. Back then, risky texts were messages you sent to your crush or school sweetheart with your parents’ phone.
Of course, you had to ensure to indicate that it was your mom’s or dad’s phone and that a reply was not necessary to avoid getting in trouble. It feels like everyone has a phone nowadays.
Today, you can play full music albums, compilations, and singles on your preferred streaming services. From these songs, you can create a playlist of your favorite songs. In the old days, the closest thing to creating a playlist was burning different songs on a compact disc.
Unlike modern playlists, which can contain more than a hundred songs, fitting up to 21 songs on a compact disc was quite an achievement.
It is quite normal to see lovely wallpapers and hear exciting ringtones on everyone’s phones today, and that is because you can simply get anything that suits your taste directly on your phone.
Well, it was not always like that as you had to pay money to get polyphonic ringtones and wallpapers. It must have been quite expensive, constantly paying money to set your phone up just the way you like to see it.
Trip to Video Stores
Taking trips to video stores to rent an exciting movie or even video games were actually a thing. Many times, you had to face the disappointment of missing out on your preferred movie as all the copies had been rented out.
You then had to settle for something else or check back later. This is no longer a thing as you can stream any movie you want at your own convenience.
At a time, you could get free calls depending on the plan which you were on. It was therefore common hearing someone tell you to call at a certain time, say after nine at night.
Now, network charges are less expensive. You can also make voice calls and video calls on applications such as WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, and the likes.
Please Remember To Rewind
If you were lucky enough to get the movie of your choice at the video store, you had to face another task of rewinding it to the start. Failing to do this might have meant starting the movie halfway and seeing spoilers.
You also had to watch the movie in its entirety in time to be able to return it before the rental deadline. It was this or having to pay a fine.
The phone keyboards that were available before smartphones required pressing buttons up to three times before getting the letter you needed. It was quite frustrating especially when you needed to write a quick message.
This necessitated the use of shorthand while texting. Today, phones have QWERTY keyboards and typing is very easy. It is even much easier with touchscreen phones, most of which have the voice typing feature.
Saturday was the first day of rest after a long week at school and every kid looked forward to watching the cartoons that aired on television. One thing, however, had to get out of the way before you could enjoy cartoons, and these were the infomercials that aired early.
It was, therefore, a thing to sleep late into the morning in order to avoid watching the infomercials altogether.
For many, the iPod was the only form of entertainment they could enjoy asides from the television. Using iPods however also came with a few struggles, as this picture suggests. You put on your iPods on certain occasions and find out that it is out of juice; meaning that you had to wait a long time while it charged.
Today, you have phones to keep you entertained, fast charging, and power banks in case you run out of battery life unexpectedly.
Back then, it was important that you prevented your compact discs from getting scratched on their face, as this could make it impossible for the CD player to see it or lead to skipping.
It was a tough one, trying to prevent scratches on your CD particularly when you had kids who tried to play with everything, or had problems handling delicate objects.
Misspelling A Word On Your Custom Converse
Fashion has greatly evolved, but that’s not to say there were no cool trends back then. One of the popular trends that caught on was the customizing of Converse sneakers. Misspelling words on sneakers was therefore a problem faced by many.
The excitement of joining in on the cool trend, saw many people writing the wrong words, giving their sneakers a funny look after they have tried to cross out words.
Phone Book To Hire Workers
The internet was not well developed back then, so whenever anything needed a quick fix in the house, the phone book was the go-to source. It always proved quite difficult to find a company that suited your needs.
Today, you can easily look up any company you need on the internet, thoroughly scrutinize the services they offer, as well as read testimonials from previous clients.
This scenario used to be one of the biggest nightmares anyone could ever face. After burning a CD, if the CD player or DVD was unable to see the disc you have inserted, it displayed “No disc”.
These words were the biggest form of heartbreak at the time, and one would eject the disc and insert again hoping it was a glitch. Thankfully, no one has to worry about that any longer.
In the late 1990s and the early 2000s, the Live Strong initiative by Lance Amstrong was waxing strong and a bracelet was used as a symbol of the movement.
Everyone loved their bracelet for what it represented and always tried to keep it safe. If by chance your bracelet cut, it was seen as a bad sign which was totally unwanted.
Downloading The Wrong Song
As there were no cell phones, the family computer had to be used to download songs. One of the major problems was that many of these attempts saw you end up downloading viruses onto the family computer.
Even when you successfully completed the download of the song, it often ended up being the wrong song. Imagine waiting for hours to hear that new Linkin Park tune only to discover that you had downloaded some death metal. Too bad.
Before the fancy and sophisticated scooters came into existence we had these manual Razor scooters. Asides from being very uncomfortable to ride, getting hit on the ankle or shin by the scooter was absolutely terrible.
It could leave you in serious pain for up to ten minutes. Now, there are scooters that are advanced in technology, being remote-controlled and motorized.
Before smartphones came around, music and movies were played only on home entertainment devices such as CD players and VCD players. It was therefore normal to see hundreds of compact discs making up the CD collection in a home, with each one labeled to avoid mix-ups.
The struggle was real, one must confess. Today, you can stream any song you want online, as well as watch your favorite movies and TV shows on streaming sites.
During the time when physical photos were the only thing that existed, many a photo album was necessary. There was hardly any home without a photo album, and these albums usually contained pictures of every member of the family. It usually involved carefully collecting pictures of each person over the years and adding them to the album.
Today, you have photo-sharing services like Amazon Cloud and Google Photos, on which you can save as many photos as you like.
Your Favorite Shows On Tape
Not only could you burn music and movies onto a compact disc, but you could also record your favorite shows on a VHS tape. This meant you had to wait for the broadcast time, and also press record at the right moment to avoid missing any part of the fun.
Today, you are spoilt for choice and can schedule the recording of live TV using a DVR, or just avoid the hassle entirely by streaming it or watching on-demand.
This pencil that came with lead was the in-thing back then. It was the stationery for the cool kids, and almost everyone wanted to have one.
However, you had to use it with utmost care, as the top coming off meant the end of that pencil for you. Kids these days cannot relate to it. How boring.
Cutting things out of a newspaper for a keepsake was a way of archiving important information back then. In the case that the cutouts were destroyed, you just had to accept the information was lost.
Today, every information in print can be found online and better ways to save them are available. Either by saving to your email or archiving such content on your personal device.
After moving from scrolls and feathers, we started using pen and paper to write letters as a means of correspondence. While sending handwritten letters is still in existence (even more special now), there is no denying that there was a lot of difficulty attached to it. Writing the letter with your hands and posting it usually took days at times.
Today, we have text messages, emails, and messengers such as WhatsApp to send messages in a matter of seconds. Old conversations can also be easily accessed via a variety of programs whenever the need arises.
Imagine sending an official letter riddled with spelling errors. This was the kind of situation that had to be avoided by constantly using a dictionary to check for correct spellings. Flipping through so many pages always required a lot of patience and discipline, and it was frustrating at times.
Autocorrect is in our lives making the need for a dictionary has greatly reduced. There are now online dictionaries as well, making it much easier.
Most phone booths you see today are utilized for aesthetic purposes. Before, they used to be one of the most used means of making calls, and quite effective. Today, you can get a cellphone at next to no cost and activate it easily.
Even travelers do not use phone booths as much these days, as they can always get a SIM card upon landing. This is not to say phone booths are no longer in use at all.
Carrying Change For A Phone Call
In the days when phone booths were still very much in existence, you were better off carrying enough change to make a phone call, should the need arise. With the world going cashless these days, all you need is your credit card.
Most phones today have digital wallets and NFC chips, which allow you to make payments even without your credit card. No need to carry around those quarters anymore.
Nowadays, it is very easy to take pictures on your phone. Advanced smartphones can take really clear pictures with high resolution and exposure. Back then, taking pictures on a phone was not so easy or rewarding, as the pictures were always super-grainy.
As if that was not bad enough, storage problems also prevented you from taking as many pictures as you wanted. About five pictures in, and you got the message “No room available”.
Rolling the car window up or down used to be a form of exercise as you literally had to roll down using the device in the picture. You had to exert enough force or you would not be able to successfully get the window down.
Today, with a simple click of a button, the window goes down with ease. Anyone would definitely take a little exercise over that lazy ease.
Composing A Ringtone
While this generation of today have millions of songs at their disposal to use as ringtones, some of us had to be music makers and create our own ringtones on Nokia phones by ourselves.
Similar to coding, you put in numbers to represent sounds and create cool ringtones for yourself. What was not cool was the precision needed for your ringtone to come off sounding like anything more than gibberish.