2010/10/30

The Days of Yore

I've run across this usage a couple of times, but it appears repeatedly in Paul Murray's Skippy Dies, in which schoolboys use the days of yore to refer to times too distant to resemble in any way their own world.  Yore comes from a Middle English word meaning long ago.  Judging by how I am seeing it used, I'd hazard that the days of yore are any time before 1977, the year of Star Wars and the Apple II computer.

I found this funny entry at Uncyclopedia, a send-up of Wikipedia.  It makes me think that the expression originated as a Britishism.

Oh, the days of yore when, completely unsupervised and told to go outside, we made do with the materials at hand for amusement.  For boys, this meant finding things to throw at each other, (oranges, hickory nuts, dirt clods), making guns out of sticks, floating things in water and destroying them, etc.

Typewriters are definitely from the days of yore.  We still keep four typewriters at the library for filling out paper forms.  I get asked how to "change the font" on them.  You can't take a "typing" class anymore.  You must look for a "keyboarding" class.

It's hard for someone like me, in my late '50's, to grasp what the past looks like to young people.  A 20-year-old today has no memory whatever of the Cold War, or of a time when cell phones did not exist.  The faculty of Beloit College have tried annually to keep abreast of students' perceptions of their world with the Beloit College Mindset List.
The class of 2014 has never found Korean-made cars unusual on the Interstate and five hundred cable channels, of which they will watch a handful, have always been the norm. Since "digital" has always been in the cultural DNA, they've never written in cursive and with cell phones to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch. Dirty Harry (who’s that?) is to them a great Hollywood director. The America they have inherited is one of soaring American trade and budget deficits; Russia has presumably never aimed nukes at the United States and China has always posed an economic threat.

2 comments:

Martin H. said...

Yes, these are things we need to keep in mind, lest we turn into the old men we used to avoid when we were young.

Brett said...

So true, Martin.