In the early 1990s, I remember my son and his friends using the phrase, “Back in the day . . . ” before they talked about something that happened years before. How many years was always vague, but it seemed to be anywhere from 3 to 5 years when they were teens. Now that they are in their 30s, it could be 20 years ago. 🙂 When I first heard the phrase, I thought it was interesting, and figured it was a shortened version of “Back in the good ole’ days . . . .”. Everything was being shortened back then, probably because they knew texting was about to be BIG and they were getting ready for it. 🙂
A couple weeks ago an acquaintance mentioned the phrase, and that maybe it was shortened not for brevity, but because people no longer thought of them as the “good ole’ days.” The more I think about it, the more I like that idea. For some people the 1890s,1910s, late 1940s, 1950s, et cetera were the good old days. Things may have seemed simple for them. But not for everyone. Some people were trying to survive, and times were hard. And if “those people” didn’t agree with the rest of the dominant culture, life could be very hard indeed. Or if their skin was the “wrong” color. If they didn’t fit in, they could be murdered, jailed, or put in an insane asylum (with often the same results for all three: misery, then death). BUT, because they were not out there in the world, the dominant culture didn’t have to think about them or adjust to them. Times were simpler, and perhaps “good.” At an unspeakable, horrible cost.
When I hear people say they want to return to the way things were, I shudder. There is a flip side to every privilege. I do wish we could return to a time when the environment was not so skewed out of balance by humanity, if only so we could do it right. But I suspect there would still be humans who insist on destroying things. There are good things about Now, such as the medicine, and the insistence on respect for all people. I’m okay with talking about “Back in the day . . . “, but am happy to be living in the here and now. 🙂