Skip navigation

Daily Archives: August 30th, 2009

And it has nothing to do with my 49th birthday four days ago.

In my AP Stats class we are working on how to interpret graphs. The graph we’re working with shows the number of drive-in movie theaters in the U.S. by year, starting in 1988. There is a huge drop-off between 1988 and 1990. I ask the class, “What do you think might have contributed to this trend?”

Blank stares and the sounds of crickets…

“C’mon, somebody give me a possible reason. It doesn’t have to be right, lets just throw out an idea.”

Bland stares…

“One reason… just one… anybody?”

Precious child in the front, “Did they pass some kinda law?”

“No, but thanks for trying. Anybody else?”

Crickets…

Me, “Why did people go to drive-ins?”

Kid, “To make out in the back seat?”

Me, “Good answer. Why the drive-in though, why not at a regular theater?”

Kid, “If you’re in your car its private.”

Me, “Good answer. Now, what happened in 1988 to let you watch movies in private?”

Blank stares, crickets…

“C’mon, thinks about it, it isn’t that hard… Anybody? What became popular in 1988 or about then?”

At this point it has become obvious I’m not going to get the answer I’m looking for.

“That’s when the VCR became affordable and popular. People could watch movies at home.”

Blank stares, crickets…

One kid tentatively raises his hand. “What’s a VCR?”

Now I’m the one with the blank stare. “Y’all don’t know what a VCR is?”

Another kid says, “Is that the thing that’s like an 8-track for video?”

Seriously, getting old…