Today I am wallowing in nostalgia. Why? Someone gave me a CD with this classic hiphop track “Back in the day” by Ahmad and man, this song does it like no other (except maybe TQ’s “Westside”) in taking us back with it in its trip down memory lane. Quite some good distract. But only briefly. That’s what sparked this post.

I am always hearing about the “good old days”. Ok, I’ll confess to have purveyed the myth personally on several occassions. I think the human mind has this need to perceive and convey all things past as glorious and never to be surpassed. This is despite common and sometimes obvious knowledge to the contrary.

It happens all the time. It happens after someone dies and we have to give a eulogy. Even countries do it when writing their histories! We come up with all those great stories, for instance, of how the Mau Mau bravely fought off the well armed British, while only armed with machetes… when in reality it was actually the British who decided to leave upon realising that they were accruing more cost on direct administration than they would if they controlled us economically from their home – as they now do! (I understand the need to create national heroes though).

 Come on! You also might have longingly reminisced about those long gone days when “Blueband tasted real good” or “Karais” lasted “longer”. But if you are honest, deep down you know that that’s all crap. We all know that research and technology has improved most consumables and that the reason things tasted different is cause they were probably crude and sub-standard then(your regular Blueband probably had so much cholesterol and other impurities you’re better off not knowing).

Miguel Street by V. S. Naipaul does a good job of showing us how things that seemed great when we were growing up are so comical when you look at them in hindsight. How about dreaming of being a scavenger (Mkokoteni pusher) – like the boy in Miguel Street – for ambition?

The reality is that the world is so much better now than it ever was. An average bloke lives a life an 18th century King would die for. You think about it – instead of summoning a whole choir (which will not accompany you as you go about your chores anyway) when you need music like the chiefs used to do then, all you need to do is reach for your iPod, MP3 player or cellphone and there you have your choir – on the move. Or think about the medical advances (just consider; doctors will soon be able to remove your appendix through your mouth without cutting you up, Gene Therapy will be used to cure diabetes, blindness etc…). A regular jerk’s life expectancy used to be thirty something only a few hundred years ago. Now its approaching 70!(O.k. except if you live in the developing world). I can go on and on but I only have limited space and time.

We ought to get real and be thankful for being born in this era. Not complain and get all nostalgic over nothing!