Life in Reverse

As teenagers encroach rapidly on adulthood, you tend to spend a lot of time wondering and worrying if they have the skills they need to go forth and take on the world. Your natural reaction is to assume they need all the skills that you have. After all, you’re a very well adjusted and productive member of society and it was clearly just the particular combination of skills you have that made you what you are. It would only be reasonable to pass those on.

But in your more rational moments you realize that many of the skills you have are not really all that critical anymore. In fact many are downright obsolete. Some, like manually dialing a phone by clicking the on-hook cradle or gapping the points in a distributor are probably just as well left for dead. But others, like counting back change or navigating with a paper map seem like things you should need to master just because.

Other skills are all the more important now. For example, learning to drive a car in reverse. And no, it’s not because there are fewer cases where you need to backup anymore. Rather, it’s because when you manage an epic fail in parking, it will now show up on YouTube and dishonor your family for generations to come.

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