Greek-American Heritage Society of Philadelphia
Sunday, April 21st, 2019
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The Philly Greek-Stake Blog

The Tale of Two Yiannis (Our Lives With Gadgets)

The Tale of Two Yiannis (Our Lives With Gadgets)

Image courtesy of Kevin O'Mara

It’s 2012 and Yianni is waking up on a crisp October morning. Let’s see what his day is like: After showering, Yianni brushes his teeth and thinks, “Boy, you really can’t see those Invisiline braces”. He goes downstairs and makes a cup of coffee in his Keuring 1-cup coffee maker – set at his perfect temperature.

His wife is on her way out to take the kids to school, in her SUV, then to the gym, then work. She’ll grab a Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbucks. Yanni grabs the Horizon organic milk out of the stainless steel refrigerator and pours it into his coffee mug designed by NASA. Yianni turns on his Dell laptop and skims through the different on-line news services. He then takes his remote control and turns on the LED-LCD 60” Vizio television, hanging on the wall – the picture looks so real. He flips through the news programs. Same news – the presidential election. Obama and Romney, one is about entitlements the other is for the rich. Yianni thinks, isn’t there anyone better? Yianni quickly flips through the hundreds of channels. Nothing on. He sets the DVR to record a movie coming on in the middle of the day so he can watch it later and downloads on his Amazon Kindle-Fire an e-book, he saw advertised on CosmosPhilly.com, “A Promise of Remembrance,” (sorry about the self-promotion but I’m the blogger and I get some perks).

It’s time to leave so he hits the remote-start button for his BMW 750Li, the climate control clicks into his setting. He then clicks the button to open the truck and places his laptop in there, gets in (he doesn’t need to put a key in anymore), sets the GPS because he needs to meet with a client before going to work. He talks to his cell-phone to find out what location his kids are. He then tells his Sirius radio/MP3 player what songs he wants to hear. He is a little nostalgic this morning – “Love Me Do,” by the Beatles from 1962 is a good song. He is sad that George and John are gone. Oh yeah, he needs gas – $120.00 to fill the tank.

He gets to work, the 20th floor, and as he is walking in, his daughter “face-times” him on his iPhone 5 so he can see her while talking to her. Yianni gets to his desk and his “administrative assistant” brings him a cappuccino and turns the thermostat to keep the temperature at a constant 72 degrees. The large glass windows darken as the sun gets stronger. She tells him there is a 4-way conference call, but not on the telephone, through Skype or one of the other many voice/video-over internet companies. Later, he makes dinner reservations for him and his wife through the internet at the Capital Grill. With wine, it’ll cost an easy $150.00. He’ll have a Cohiba cigar afterwards. Oh yeah, he instantly downloads a few Greek songs from iTunes – the ones his father use to listen to – by Stelios Kazantzidis. “Dio Portes Ehi I Zoi” is his favorite.

After dinner, when he gets home, he wants to relax so he picks up his Samsung Galaxy Tablet, taps a command and the lights dim. He also pours himself a Johnny Walker Black on ice. He updates himself through Facebook, reads some e-mails from his cousin in Greece, and then orders a movie instantly on NexFlix for him and his wife to watch. He falls asleep half way through.

It’s 1962 and Yianni, or John, as he is known, is waking up on a crisp October morning. Let’s see what his day is like:

After showering, which John quickly does because the water heater doesn’t have that much water in it, he brushes his teeth trying to get in between the gaps. He wishes he could get braces like his daughter has, but who wants to walk around looking like they have a giant antenna in their mouth? He turns on his transistor radio to hear the news. Same news – the presidential election. Humphrey and Nixon, the one will escalate the Vietnam War the other has a secret plan to end it – yeah, right. John thinks, isn’t there anyone better? John goes downstairs and his wife places a porcelain cup on the table and pours Maxwell House coffee from a Sunbeam 10-cup coffee percolator. John goes to the front door and gets the 4 bottles of fresh Abbott’s Dairy milk the milk-man left in the box and the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper. He lights up one of his Viceroy cigarettes. The kids are on their way out to catch the bus to school. His wife is telling him what she has to do that day… laundry, vacuuming, grocery shopping, then to the neighbors for coffee and cake. Since they only have one car, he’ll have to pick her up for dinner. She called the restaurant yesterday for reservations using their new push-button telephone. John is amazed at technology.

John skims through the newspaper and reads a few stories. When he is done, he gives the paper to his wife to cut out the coupons. He walks over to the RCA Victor 63 television set and turns the button and it clicks on… well, it takes about 15 seconds for the tubes to warm-up before the scratchy audio is heard and after 30 seconds the picture fades in. It’s black and white. The picture is fuzzy and snowy. John adjusts the rabbit ears on top and bangs the set a few times until the picture is bearable. He then turns the larger knob to channel 3, then 6, and 10. Nothing on. Maybe he’ll read that new book that came out, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” when he gets home.

It’s time to leave so he fumbles for his car keys to his Ford Country Sedan (station wagon), opens the door and gets in. He inserts his key and turns it. The V-8 engine turns slowly but doesn’t kick over. He forgets that on chilly days, he needs to first pump the gas pedal a few times. It starts and he adjusts the heat control to take the chill out of the air. John turns on the AM radio to 560, WFIL. He likes Chuck Browning, one of the “Boss Jocks”. He’s playing a new song by a band called the Beatles, “Love Me Do”. John smiles. He likes those crazy kids from Liverpool but he knows they’re just a flash in the pan and will be forgotten by next year. Before he goes to the office, John will meet a client at his business so he pulls out the Rally McNally paper map to see which is the best route. Oh yeah, he needs gas – $4.80 to fill his tank.

After meeting with the client, John gets to work, the 10th floor, and his “secretary” brings him a cup of coffee from the Greek diner next door. She then opens the large window to get a little fresh air. She reminds him that there are 4 calls on his phone. The “hold” buttons are blinking. He takes one at a time. Later, he picks up his wife and goes to the Hawaiian Cottage for dinner. With drinks and tip, it will cost him $12.00. He’ll have an El Producto cigar afterwards

After dinner, he goes home to relax. He pours himself a V.O. on ice. He opens the envelopes that came through the mail, including an “air mail” letter from his cousin in Greece. He gets up and walks to the television set and turns it on. He waits for it to warm up and then turns the channels. Nothing on. John plays the new 45 vinyl record by Stelios Kazantzidis, “Dio Portes Ehi I Zoi,” that his father sent him from Greece, on his Magnavox all-transistor portable record player – it’s the newest thing. After the song is done, he sits down and begins reading his book. He falls asleep after the first chapter.

Yianni in 2012 and Yianni (John) in 1962 are much alike. In the end, they go through life doing the same thing each day and in the end, both just fall asleep. The only difference is the gadgets and the ease to do things with newer gadgets. The new iPhone 5 is out and everyone is scrambling to get one. Why? Who knows, who cares. Don’t let your day be run by gadgets. Stop and smell the louloudia!

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5 Comments

  1. Wanda Rigopoulos

    Hello, how interesting! I live in Canada… I have lived in Greece, Thessaloniki, I am not Greek, my husband is of course. My oldest daughter moved to Philly, she did live in Upper Darby, close to the Church, they have now moved to East Landsdown. We were able to attend a couple of the Greek Fesivals… at the last one, my daughter, Maria bought a “Jack in the Box” Toy… but it was a “Yanni in the Box!” and of course the music was Never on a Sunday!! lol A little man pops out of the box dress in full greek wear including a mustache.. lol.. All my grandchildren love it.. I will continue to read your blogs.. Thanks so much!

  2. Evan Karapanagiotides

    Harry, great job! Awesome blog, love it. We really do need to stop and smell the louloudia sometimes.

  3. Deborah

    In 2012 the wife goes to work to help pay for he gas. In 1962 she had a real life and could socialize with neighbors and friends. In those days women had card parties and did much needed volunteer work and really had time for their children. It is more than just the gadgets. I want my mother’s life.

  4. NICK ARGYROS

    BRAVO!!!!! GREAT DRESSING FOR MY GREEK SALAD OF LIFE………

  5. Dianne Barnaba Lolos

    Really loved this! Thank you so much! BTW, my husband is an “old-fashioned” Greek!

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