The first thing that ever moved me to type something up and put it out for the world to consider was a plastic batting helmet that I bought at a garage sale. I wrote something about it, started this blog, and now every time someone finds their way to this space, there it is on the right hand side of the page.
You can buy a similar kind of batting helmet today, and I came across one while in a big box store in the suburbs a few nights ago. I immediately started to compare my old-time batting helmet with its modern equivalent and, I have to say, today’s helmets ain’t got the same soul.
The first thing I noticed was the oversized C on the newer helmet. It looks like something other than the Cubs logo I’ve seen on thousands of hats and shirts over the years. If the Cubs logo on my helmet started using steroids, it might grow into what the C on the newer helmet looks like.
Additionally, the newer helmet’s shade of blue is a few shades darker than mine, which of course makes it incorrect. And the MLB logo that appears on the back of the new helmet looks out of place to me. On the back of a baseball cap it’s fine, but on the back of one of these helmets it just looks like an MLB money grab.
The newer helmet was made in China, probably by the kind of place that put the makers of my helmet–Laich Industries of Cleveland, Ohio–out of business in the 1990s. So my helmet, on top of being much better looking than the newer one, also had the benefit of being made in America. Those days now seem like a very long time ago.
But the final difference is something that we hardly ever think about anymore. If you were to look on the underside of my helmet’s bill in the front, you would see a small, half-torn off pricetag from K-Mart. And this is the way that everything was sold, in a supermarket or a grocery store or any other place you bought consumer items. Somebody at the store had to attach pricetags to every can of soup, every box of tissues, and every frozen item in the store. Otherwise, how would anyone know how much something cost?
UPC codes came out, I want to say in the 1980s, and did away with all of that. The self-serve checkouts that are in every grocery store today would not have been possible in the world that my helmet was made in.
Do I miss the old days when a price tag was stuck to every item? Not really. But I had kind of forgotten that they ever existed in the first place, and so I wanted to put this out there, to remind myself of this particular circumstance. In a similar vein, it’s still possible to find flyers and ads that don’t have the QR codes on them, but those are being replaced by the newer model of ads. In a decade or so, maybe those will become as ubiquitous as UPC codes are today. It sure seems to be heading in that direction, anyway.
I’m going to paraphrase a sentiment from Bob Seger on my way out of this post. And BBH is short for, well, you can probably figure it out:
I like that old time BBH
That kinda helmet just soothes my soul
I reminisce about the days of old
with that old time BBH