Cicero, thou shouldst be living at this hour

Ten years ago, when last I bought a television, I had the installer hook up my VHS machine just in case I might need it. It’s never been used since. The time is still blinking 12:00, 12:00, 12:00. But I did use the DVD player. At least for a while. Today I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I actually watched a DVD.

In fact, when I bought my most recent iMac, it didn’t even come with the necessary slot for DVDs or CDs. The sales associate kindly told me that if in time I found I needed one, I could buy an external drive, rip all my CDs, and then return the drive for a refund. Her suggestion gave the phrase “planned obsolescence” a whole new meaning. I did not partake of her beneficence.

That the world is changing quickly, and the attitude of people changing along with it, has been the situation for quite some time. It was Cicero, after all, in ancient Rome, who lamented, “O tempora o mores!” meaning, “Oh what times, oh what customs.”

It’s just the speed of change that has altered. I recently read that since last October, 89,000 U.S. jobs have been lost in the ailing department store sector, the same number of jobs as in the entire U.S. coal industry. You may remember that coal was one of the groups Donald Trump promised to protect. These days, even a belligerent president can’t keep up.

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