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Top Ten: Lost Arts

Written by Carizza Sioco

As elementary school students, we painstakingly tackled this alleged shortcut in handwriting. We were told fanciful tales of teachers who would only accept work in cursive and that our college careers were at the mercy of our penmanship. Such myths were debunked as our fluid font was quickly replaced with typed text. Because professors are more concerned with the formatting of a paper than our personal penmanship, those tricky cursive G’s and Q’s are now mere memories.

A mixed tape was a hug in the form of a cassette, encased in plastic and passed on to a best friend or a potential soul mate. Compilers carefully selected each song, using each ballad as means to a personalized message. MP3 players and their infinite playlists have now overshadowed this original form of music compilation. As these cassettes are exiled into the retired family of floppy disks, records and VHS, the mixed tape rests as the proud pioneer of homemade symphonies.

Mixed Tapes from The Point on Vimeo.

Many have invested in a GPS device as their constant co-captain. Map reading is a foreign jargon, and we are unaccustomed to finding North. Since a GPS will kindly recalculate routes when one strays from the original course, pulling over for directions has become unnecessary. Though the GPS has surely eliminated many a married squabble, it has also turned drivers into mindless driving machines.

The good-natured practice of being a neighbor has become obsolete, as fences have been built higher and attitudes more distant. Homeowners rarely open their front doors for fear of welcoming solicitors. The days of bringing plates of cookies to the new family on the street and borrowing a cup of sugar from the next-door neighbors are gone. Even in college dorms, students rarely venture past hasty hellos.

When social media confines our thoughts to 140 characters, we are often forced to sacrifice proper grammar for that coveted witty status of the day. These concise sentiments sometimes overlook the necessary noun and verb that were so mercilessly drilled into us as elementary school students. Texts are abbreviated, shorthand is common and trains of thought are incomplete. Though friends will understand each other’s semi-sentences, our former English teachers might be confused.

Carrying cash is a practice that is considered both risky and inconvenient. Students who carry cash usually do so for laundry, as even vending machines on campus take debit now. Swiping is much more convenient than counting change. This causes the stiff grip on money to loosen and the already dollar-deficient student to continue a meager monetary cycle.

To the mathematically challenged, the mastery of this skill has always been a struggle. Thanks to cell phones, computers and iPods, even the simplest of calculations need not strain our grey matter. A few extra seconds punching buttons is easily more manageable than adding four and carrying the one. Why mentally figure out a restaurant tip when your cell phone is always happy to help?

The majority of our wrists bare no watches, as the most popular time-telling accessory is now a cell phone. Winding a clock is a habit of old, and even a quintessential analog becomes a foreign language to some. Students who watch the clock during class have always been very familiar with the face of the clock and its painfully sluggish hands — the remainder of our ticking timepieces.

Stomachs everywhere agree that cooking from scratch is most rewarding. Sadly, it has been replaced by takeout, its more convenient and less nutritious cousin. Though it can be more cost effective to cook from scratch, many are dissuaded by the daunting recipes. College students tend to find the microwave much more user-friendly than the stove.

With e-mailing and texting, no longer do we press pen to stationery and write someone a handwritten letter. Written communication is often thought of as being reserved for grandmothers and lovesick ladies. Thank you notes are far and few between, and even Christmas cards contain nothing more than a scrawled signature on a preprinted 4×6.

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