Have you ever wondered what people did in the old days for fun?
The truth is that old time hobbies and activities were even weirder than the stuff we do to pass the time these days.
Listening to Citizens Band Radios
My wacky uncle had a CB radio and used to get hours of entertainment out of it. At the time he seemed to me like the coolest guy with the best hobby in the world. However, now that I am no longer a dribbling toddler who can´t be trusted to go to the toilet alone I can see that I was utterly wrong. This is the worst hobby in the world. All he would do was sit in front of the contraption for long spells and listen to complete strangers utter random nonsense like “10-2 big boy, bird dog on the loose, affirmative”. What on Earth were they on about and why didn´t he just listen to a normal radio station with faintly less insane people talking through it?
Playing the Harmonica for Fun
When was the last time you saw someone younger than Bob Dylan or Neil Young play the harmonica for fun? That´s correct; 1924 is when. For some reason the act of blowing sweet, winsome music out of a piece of metal is a dying art. This is probably why no one gets called things like Blind Harmonica Wolf Boy or Blowing Bill Hickabilly these days. Give a kid a harmonica just now and he´ll ask you where the USB port is, whether it is compatible with his digital boxers and whether it feeds directly to his Twitter account.
Visiting the Morgue
If your ancestors lived in Paris in the 19th century then there is a good chance that they spent some time peering at dead bodies. This quaint old time hobby started when the local morgue was built near tourist attractions like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Seine. It had a glass wall built into it and theatrical style curtains at either end. The morgue got pretty famous among thrill seekers who wanted to see dead French dudes on slabs, which was probably pretty much everyone in those days.
The gentle pleasure of rolling a hoop along the street with the help of a stick is one of those hobbies that time has robbed us of. To be fair, this is a still a valid pastime in some Third World countries but everywhere else it is something that simply doesn´t exist anymore. If you don´t believe me then try the following test. Take a random 10 year old boy. Hand him a hoop and a small stick and tell him to take the hoop down the street in the most effective and fun way possible. After he has beaten to you to a pulp with the stick he will contact Uber on his iPhone and get a private hire vehicle to transport the hoop to the end of the street. Fact.
Wouldn´t you have loved to have lived in the days when the most sensible comeback to someone insulting you was to challenge them to a pistol duel at dawn? Probably my favorite internet myth of all time is that in Paraguay it is legal to carry out a pistol duel as long as both combatants are registered blood donors. In fact, it might be true for all I know but the world can´t possibly be as much fun as that, I don´t think.