Thursday, 6 June 2013

CALCULATOR KID...



Take a look at the above calculator, bought from WH SMITH's (or was it WOOLWORTH's?) in Portsmouth Shopping Centre (or was it Southsea?) in February or March of 1985.  (The ol' memory is beginning to fail me, I'm afraid.  Let's just go with my first impressions - there must be some good reason why they were at the front of the queue.)  Amazingly, the original batteries lasted for about 23 years before needing to be replaced, which surely must be some kind of a record.  (Much like the 12 inch black plastic disc with a hole in the middle up in my attic.)

I've addressed this subject before, but it always amazes me how having a tangible reminder from a particular point in time brings home one's recollections of the period in much sharper focus than would otherwise be the case.  Memories somehow seem dimmer and more distant without a physical manifestation to accompany them.  When I look at the above calculator, it's almost as if I'm back in my bedsit room in Buckland, using my newly-acquired SHARP EL-508A to add up my weekly earnings from my freelance work for IPC MAGAZINES in London.

Just think - I've now had that calculator for more than half my life, although sometimes, when I'm lost in dreams of days gone by, it seems as if it's still a fairly recent acquisition.  Then it's as if someone's suddenly hit the fast-forward button, and the movie-clip playing in my head of that particular time accelerates to the present day - making me realize, with a start, just how much water has gone under the bridge since those days back in the mid-'80s actually took place.

I'll bet the following has happened to you.  You've sat down to watch a movie on TV which you remember seeing being reviewed a couple or so years back when it was doing the rounds in cinemas.  "Wanted to see that at the time," thinks you, "so I'll watch it now!"  After it finishes, you see the copyright date in the credits and nearly fall off your chair.  "1995?  No way!  It only came out about 2 or 3 years ago!"  Go on, admit it - it's happened a few times I'll bet.  And you know you're getting older the more often it occurs because, as we all know, time seems to pass much faster the older we get.

Anyway, now that I've suitably depressed you with thoughts of how brief life is, wouldn't it be great if you could punch in a figure on a calculator, hit the subtract button, and somehow suddenly find yourself magically younger by that very number of years?  Why aren't scientists working on such a device as I type this fanciful nonsense?  If they're not, they should be.  I'd be first in the queue to buy one.   

7 comments:

PhilSee said...

Hi Kid. Every time you put up one of these posts on your blog in relation to the passage of time and our perceptions of it you really strike a chord with me. I have been subject to similar thought processes for years. It's this element possibly as much as the comic component that had me adding your blog to my (almost) daily routine. And the calculator - I have a Casio that I bought back in the 70s - doesn't need batteries thanks to some sort of solar panel / light activated mechanism and it is still working. A few pixels have gone south at the bottom corner of the screen but the numbers are clear. It has sat on every desk in every study I have had since and become part of the landscape of my 'Inner Sanctum. It's about the size of one of the communicators seen on Star Trek, complete with flip-open case. Weird that you should have one that has travelled through time with you as well!!

Kid said...

Thank goodness for that, Phil. I was beginning to think that I'm the only one who contemplates such complexities.

As for my calculator, I've definitely had value for money from it. I don't think I'd ever be able to throw it away should it one day cease to function. I've had it for so long now that, like yours, it's become part of the landscape.

Funny how we become attached to things, isn't it?

DeadSpiderEye said...

I picked my first one up around 79, it was a Casio, they still had LED's and £4-99 seemed a bargain when you could pay 2 weeks wages for one. They remind me of the promise that microprocessor technology held, -they say you'll be able to have a computer in your home- sure enough the zx81 was just around the corner, good luck typing at any speed with it though. If you could go back in time, how would explain 2013 to yourself? Would you say, "I've got great news, there are no more bombs in pubs" or "All pubs are owned by chains, you can't afford the beer, the pool tables and dart boards have gone". I really wouldn't want to explain the reason for the queues at airports either or why for godsake did they build terminal 4 to resemble the insides of valve tv set?

Kid said...

You still got it, DSE?

DeadSpiderEye said...

Most likely, dunno where though.

Joe S. Walker said...

I've got a Sharp calculator bought in 1990 which I still use sometimes, changed the battery a couple of years ago though! It's an item which really hasn't been improved on since - being smaller/bigger/faster/coloured/given new functions wouldn't make it any more useful for its purpose.

Kid said...

Sharp seems to be a good quality name sure enough, Joe. Nowadays, it seems things are made to only last a few years at most.

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