I had the opportunity the other day to speak with a couple of teenagers. I asked them how their Summer of COVID was going. Understandably, they said they hated not having anywhere to go and did not like staying away from their friends. However, they both expressed their greatest regret as struggling to find something they have not seen on Netflix.
I found this very humorous. Especially when I thought back to my teenage years and the hoops I jumped through to see a movie. First, there was not a movie theater in my hometown, so I had to drive about 30 minutes to a town that did have a theater and then hope that the one screen they had was showing a movie you wanted to see. I watched more than my share of "Howard the Duck" and "Action Jackson" type movies in my time. Why? Because that was the only movie playing at the theater.
Then later on in my teens and early 20s, I had the whole rental movie struggle. You remember having to rush to Blockbuster right after work on Friday night in order to hopefully grab the last VHS tape of "Road House" before they were all gone? I still remember the disappointment of looking behind all the box covers in a futile attempt to find the last copy of "Tango & Cash" only to realize they were all gone. This left me no choice but to grab up one of the 25 copies of "Hobgoblins" and trudge up to the rental counter.
After reaching the counter, you had a real problem if you did not have your membership card with you. Sometimes the clerk would accept your driver's license and look you up in the system but occasionally you would get the clerk who was a stickler for the rules and would not rent you a movie without the membership card.
Then you had to bear the judgment on the clerk's face when they noticed your movie choice. I would feel compelled to explain that I really wanted to rent "Rain Man" but they were all gone so I was stuck with "Bolero" instead. The fear of embarrassment was always present when you went with a Bo Derek or Pia Zadora film.
Now after I reached my house there were still other obstacles to enjoying my flick. There was the constant flashing eye of the clock on the VCR. It always flashed 12:00 and I could never figure out how to change it. Then you had the fear that the VCR would eat the tape and you would never get to enjoy the hijinks of "Leonard Part 6."
Even if all that went well you still had the anxiety-inducing sticker on the tape that read "Be Kind Rewind." Once the movie was over, you still had several jobs to do. You had to rewind the tape and make sure you returned it on time, because if you did not, there were the dreaded late fees. Those things could pile up quickly and make the next rental of "Ishtar" cost you a cool 17 bucks.
Therefore, I do not want to hear from kids today about how tough it is to find something to watch. I will not even get into the laundry list of things you had to do to keep up with a weekly television series back in the day. It suffices to say that if you missed "Happy Days" or "The A-Team" you were the equivalent of a leper in school for the whole next week. No, you could not say you preferred "Silver Spoons" and "The Fall Guy" instead. Everybody knew that the Fonz and B.A. Baracus were the epitome of cool.
So in the immortal words of Mr. T, "I pity the fool" who says there is nothing to watch on Netflix.