notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Expired Skill Set

A few days ago, I was pumping gas, and got to do one of those victory fist pumps in my pumping of the pump.

Because I love it when I get the meter to stop on exactly 00.

But I don’t really need that skill anymore. I haven’t used cash to buy gas in years. With a credit card I could buy $30.02 and it doesn’t make a bit of difference. But how sweet to know you have the expertise to hit exactly $30.00.

And now that I’ve been thinking about it, I have quite a few expired skills.

I can darn a sock. My grandma taught me with the little darning egg and cotton thread. And how not to make an uncomfortable knot. I am going to have to be more frugal in my retirement – no doubt about it – but I think repairing socks is a dead art.

I can open – and even more dangerous to human beings – close – an umbrella using that tiny sharp little lever, and not pinch my finger in the slidy thing.

I can unflood a carburetor by sticking a pencil in the choke to hold it open. I had a 64 Chevy Impala that needed that pencil at least twice a week.

I can skim the cream off the top of the milk bottle.

I can attach a garter to a stocking, and then sit on that damn garter all day and not quite die.

I can draw little Twiggy lashes under my eyes.

I can make coffee on the stove in a percolator.

I can install the player roll on a player piano, and pump the hell out of it, and sound sort of like a rhythm-challenged Scott Joplin.

I can adjust rabbit ears so the picture will stop rolling.

I can refill a fountain pen.

I can cover a textbook with a brown paper bag. (I can’t not deface it later, but still.)

I can make a kite from twigs and newspaper, and paper dolls from the Montgomery Ward catalog. And I can make a potholder on a little loom, which is always the perfect Mother’s Day gift.

I can play a 33 record album, and skip the song I hate by picking up the needle and placing it at the exact beginning of the song I want – without a scratch or a squeal.

I can thread a roll of film onto the little sprockets on a camera.

I can track which light on the Christmas tree is causing all the other ones to fail.

I can attach roller skates at just the right tightness using a skate key – and even attach the skates to SNEAKERS, which is a truly awesome accomplishment.

And most impressive of all my obsolete skills:

I can use whiteout to fix a typo. And not get a glob or a smear. Absolute complete coverage and yet a smooth surface to retype on. And not only that! Once the whiteout is perfectly dry… (don’t rush this step)… I can put the paper back in the typewriter and turn the roller to the EXACT place and strike the key without being a little too high or a little too low. Many people may not know what the hell I am talking about – but you other people…well, you understand my genius.

 

typo

 

 

 

 

52 Comments

  1. Annnd you know how to stop a run on what those garters were attached to! Oy, what we did for love. :-p Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Damn, you are skilled! I have some of those and some that are much more useless in today’s world, but can’t hold a candle to you. Especially the white out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One trick was to only use half a bottle of white-out. Then throw it away… too thick and goopy. I hope my old boss doesn’t read this…. I probably owe the company $3 for the wasted white-out.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. How to put a penny in loafers; how to roll the waistband after you leave home to shorten your skirt; how to have the patience to use a rotary phone. These were real skills. I am impressed with your White Out skill. That wasn’t easy.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oh yes, I shortened my skirt by rolling the waistband. And the rotary phone. We had a party line…Do you know that I could pick up a receiver so quietly I could listen to other people’s conversation? Now THERE is a skill.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Girls who go to Catholic high schools still roll their waistbands. They’re young and can do this without looking stout.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was very skinny and wore longish sweaters… rolling the waistband was easy!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Come to think of it …I have these skills too, lol. Made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I would love to know how to darn socks, but I don’t which sucks. I also like it when I get the pump to stop on 00 and not 01 or 02 which I just find annoying but 03 is the worse as that means it will be 05 cents as we round up from 3 and down for 1 and 2, just saying

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    • I have excellent stopping skills on the pump. It’s a source of great pride. For what, I don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I still darn socks now and then. My best useless skill is to be able to dial six digits on a rotary phone, than partially dial the last one, letting go at the moment the radio DJ announces the beginning of a call-in contest. That skill won me a few record albums (which I also know how to play selectively). I’m in awe of your typewriter roller skills, though.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Ha! I did that with my best friend. We won lots of little junk from the local radio.Here’s a little story about it: https://notquiteold.com/2016/07/22/how-i-won-the-dance-contest-2/

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      • Ah Nancy we are immortals on WBIS !!! I had a 72 Nova with a bad carburetor too. Postman showed me how to stuff a rag in it so I could start it when I had no one to hold the choke open. WELL. almost blew the car up with both the boys buckled into their car seats. Never saw flames shoot so high. Finally managed to scrape the $’s together to get it fixed. Of course there were lots of oatmeal and PBJ sandwiches for a while and of course drop in’s at mom & dad’s at supper time. LOL Loved our home made paper dolls also. We certainly had great imaginations

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  7. This is still a valuable skill: “I can track which light on the Christmas tree is causing all the other ones to fail.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • For me, it’s obsolete. If a light goes out, the others keep going. I love some of the modern conveniences!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Where do you get your lights? When one bulb burns out (or gets stepped on), I lose whole sections of bulbs in my strands.

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        • They came attached to the tree. Every couple of years though, we get nostalgic and buy a real tree. (Except for last year when we had no tree at all. … puppy…. )

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          • We bought a pre-lit tree, but those strands blow out and then you have to attach more strands (the original strands are impossible to remove) until the tree looks like a science project gone bad. We threw ours out last year because a mouse had crawled into the storage bag with the tree and died in it. No tree for us last year either, since we went away for Christmas. Easy post-Christmas cleanup and not as depressing as I expected to not have a tree in the house before Christmas.

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    • Don’t forget cursive writing!

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  8. I do understand your genius. Your whiteout skills greatly exceed mine, although I can draw Landscape Plans with a pencil!

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    • Hey, that’s a useful skill, not obsolete at all!

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  9. Very impressive, every one!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ha ha. What a bunch of useless skills. Still you never know when one of these will need attention in this new age. 😀 😀 😀

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    • I used the percolator (stashed in my pantry) a few years ago. Power was out for several days. We have a generator but it doesn’t power everything. But my stovetop is gas. Made old-fashioned coffee the old perk way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Love my gas stove for those power outs too. Haven’t made coffee on it for lifetimes. Still, old knowledge seems to come in handy now an again–surprising as that is. ❤ ❤

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  11. You are amazing. Partly because you can do all these things, but mostly because you can recall that they were necessary!

    When I was in secretarial school, we weren’t allowed to use whiteout. We had to correct errors with an eraser pencil without making a hole in the paper. Or we had to have whatever we typed make sense. Typing class for me resulted in creative writing because I could not get the hang of that damn eraser.

    Not sure that link will work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nope. That’s a link I posted yesterday to a comment on my blog. If you would be so kind as to use your whiteout skills, I’d appreciate it!

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      • I don’t care if it’s not the right link. It’s just perfect.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, I can think of one man I’d love to clobber with a leg of lamb. Sadly, it would thaw by the time I hit him. 😶

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  12. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

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  13. I remember the days when you didn’t pump your own gas…but I don’t remember if we ever tipped the person doing the pumping. I hear in some states it’s illegal to pump your own gas even today. But I digress. Your list made me laugh our loud. (I thought it was worthy of spelling those words out.) I have most of those skills too, but had forgotten all about them. Thanks for the funny reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember the first time I had to pump gas myself… I thought I would blow up the car and the gas station and myself.

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  14. Ray G

    To your first-described skill and your last poster: don’t even THINK of pumping your own gas in New Jersey. Not only illegal, they also get very pissed off. And, no tipping.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wonderful post. I have many of those same ‘obsolete’ skills. I can (could?) also locate any book in any library by title, author, or subject using the card file. I could also make my own clothing patterns by laying (old Christmas) tissue paper out on an existing dress or blouse or pair of pants and drawing around the seams with chalk (I made most of my own clothes ‘back in the day’, too – on a treadle sewing machine that went forward and backwards but didn’t ‘do’ fancy stitches or buttonholes).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also made my own sewing patterns from other clothes I liked. But I didn’t use a treadle machine. I had a small Singer that went backwards and forwards. Now with my new Brother machine, I have all kinds of electronics I can’t figure out and I have to take out the instructions to thread the damn thing.

      Like

  16. Ironing only the collar and front of a blouse you were going to wear under a sweater? I still darn socks! My husband has DVT and his compression socks are $50 a pair, and he has sharp toenails, so I fix ’em (the socks, not the toenails). I have my mom’s old darning mushroom. The top unscrews and the stem holds needles. Wish I could pass some of these skills on to my grandchildren, but you can guess how that goes over. (insert eye roll here)

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    • I’m impressed… I didn’t think anyone darned socks anymore. (but I would fix the toenails…)

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      • My mum darts my dad’s socks, too -for the same reasons!

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  17. Hm. I refilled my fountain pen just yesterday. But I am totally impressed with your ability to line that document back up perfectly in the typewriter. That’s a rare talent!

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    • It was very satisfying… and I got to sharpen that skill a lot, since I am a quick but inaccurate typist.

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  18. Fantastic list!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Delightful! Love your resume of skills we no longer think about. I bet you can use carbon paper too! How about a mimeograph machine? Adding machine? Wow!! Love thinking of these~

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Is that fountain pen a cartridge or converter? Or a lever fill? (Sorry, I have a good friend who repairs and sells vintage pens.)

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    • I had a cartridge pen in 5th grade, but I also used to fill a pen in the inkwell by picking up that little level…. way back then.

      Like

  21. I totally appreciate your genius! And thanks for this post, it brought back a lot of good memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I love whiteout! But I can’t make a kite. And, um, I cannot, simply cannot, pump gas (not without dousing myself head to toe.) So, duh. You are amazing!

    Like

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