Days of Old | Planet Ryan - Republic-Times | News

Days of Old | Planet Ryan

By on May 25, 2016 at 8:20 am

Last week was one of those weeks for me that tested my multitasking skills thanks to a long list of work and personal commitments that all sort of ran together – one of those times where you wish you could split yourself into four people to be in four different places.

Because of that, some of my routine duties around the house – like mowing the lawn – dropped a few notches down on my priority list. With the grass growing as fast as weeds this time of year, it’s not a task that can be put off for too long.

I thought to myself, “I’ll just pay a neighborhood kid to cut it.” Problem solved, right?


If you haven’t noticed, the neighborhood kids who cut grass, shovel snow and perform other acts of labor for extra cash have completely vanished. I’m serious — they simply no longer exist.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I think they vanished two decades ago. I seriously believe my generation was probably the last to take advantage of other people’s laziness in order to put some extra dough in our pockets to spend at the video arcade or the mall.

When I was a barely a teen, I was literally pushing my dad’s lawnmower house to house, offering cuts for $10. I figured if I could knock out five yards in a day, that was $50 cash in my pocket to spend however I wanted. That was huge! And I was never short of customers. Some would even tip me extra and I’ll never forget the time one nice couple gave me $30 for my hard work. I was on top of the world.

What’s totally insane about this is the fact that with today’s fast-paced, digital world, people have never been busier and have never been lazier. Whether it’s sports, school, work or other commitments, modern families are ALWAYS on the go.

Kids, listen up – if you want to make money, there’s practically a gold mine waiting for you out there! I would’ve happily shelled out $30 or whatever to have an ambitious youngster mow the lawn that day. I’d have paid even more for them to pull weeds. Those are just a few small examples.

As a member of that last neighborhood labor-hustling generation and as much as I love technology, I’m pretty sure modern video games, digital devices and social media has had a massive negative impact on their ambition. I say this because part of the reason is that you don’t really even see them playing outside anymore.

Anyone else remember playing outside until the last possible sliver of sunlight? Those were the good ol’ days.

Only imaginations were required to have fun.

Again, I love the amazing technological world we live in now, but I absolutely miss the old days.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to mow the lawn.

Ryan Ledendecker

Ryan is a biweekly columnist for the Republic-Times newspaper. When he's not working, he enjoys a good movie, bass fishing, and CrossFit.