Someone Asks Online “People Born Before 1990, What Trivial Skill Do You Possess That No One Uses Anymore?”, Receives 44 Replies

There are things that I can do perfectly. For example, I can rewind a tape by spinning it on a pencil. I was born in 1981 and this skill was incredibly important during my childhood and teen years. It's been almost a quarter of a century since I last listened to music on a tape, but I'm sure if I need to, I'll rewind it nearly perfectly.

Another thing is that it is unlikely that a tape will fall into my hands, so the skill that I possess almost flawlessly has long and confidently been moved into the category of useless and obsolete. As well as several dozen other similar habits and skills that netizens listed in this viral Reddit thread.

More info: Reddit


I can cover a textbook with a brown paper bag.

Image credits: sourwaterbug


To rewind a tape by spinning on a pencil <3

Image credits: SayenneDD


I can win at trivial pursuit (the game) every time. I’m a wealth of useless information.

Image credits: xjeanie

Indeed, almost each generation in recent history has a certain set of habits and skills that they have honed over the years, often associated with everyday things and devices natural for their time. And as soon as this or that object goes down in history, then the skills of using it become unclaimed, moving into the category of "weird habits".


Making paper fortune tellers.

Image credits: chloeoh24


I'm a straight burley man and I sew. It's just something that for whatever reason relaxes me and no one knows how to do it anymore. Hemming and tapering pants, altering dresses, jackets...etc..I oddly enjoy it.

Image credits: helio987


Remembering phone numbers

Image credits: GreatMillionDog

For example, do you know that at one time, about twenty years ago, there were even competitions in speed texting on push-button phones? Winners were determined, hefty prize money was paid, world records were set... and the competitions continue to be held, but now on the virtual keyboards of smartphones. And if you could blindly type a message while holding your phone in your pocket - and this was possible, back when just knowing the order of keystrokes is enough - then today this is nothing more than a funny fad. For example, to amuse your kids, if, while sorting through old things, you somehow find an old Nokia 3310...


Two that I didn't see listed already:
Can read a map without using GPS
Can build out a coaxial network for LAN parties

Image credits: Lurama


I can tell time on an analog clock.

Image credits: The_Little_Rag_Man


Using your shoulder to hold a telephone up to your ear while doing multiple other things at once. Now, the phones are so damned small I drop them.

Image credits: Regular_Sample_5197

"The issue is the mechanism of learning and adaptation, which for most people still remains very high, no matter what anyone says," explains Vladimir Nemertsalov, a school principal and teacher from Ukraine, to whom Bored Panda reached out for a comment here. "Any skill, like the object associated with it, has its own life cycle. First, a certain device appears, then people try to adapt existing skills to it. Sometimes this goes well enough, but most often not."

"And then the culture of using a new device begins to acquire new habits. Someone comes up with hacks to improve it all, make it faster and more convenient to use. This is how skills are formed. And then, when the device 'walks off into the sunset', the ability to use it goes the same way. It's another matter that in the modern world it happens much faster. For example, the skill of riding was incredibly relevant for several millennia, but the ability to use a rotary phone has come to naught in about half a century. But such is the contemporary world, and such is progress," Vladimir says.


Using the Dewey decimal at library

Image credits: FunStorm6487


The ability to make and count out change for a purchase

Image credits: Zapt01


I write in cursive; does that count?

Image credits: yesohohahahilikeit

Sometimes outdated skills develop into a kind of hobby or even a subculture - as happened, for example, with film photography or vinyl records. Regarding the latter, the level of sales, after three decades of oblivion, began to grow again around 2010, and has now returned to almost 1988 levels. Perhaps this will happen with tapes - and then I will again appear in all my splendor with the skill of rewinding one with a pencil. In the meantime, please feel free to scroll this selection to the very end and maybe add some more obsolete and weird-looking skills from the past... and I'll go practice. Where is my pencil, anyway?


Crash start a manual car by rolling down a hill in second gear with the ignition on, then popping the clutch - cars were not so reliable back in the day!
Edit: Push starting, also known as bump starting, roll starting, clutch starting, popping the clutch or crash starting, according to Wikipedia - we called it crash starting where I'm from, but lots of different names for it!

Image credits: SequinSquirrel


I can develop and process photographic film and enlarge prints in a darkroom.

Image credits: Glade_Runner


Record to tape from the radio. Trying to make sure to not get the DJ/presenter talking s**t or an ad

Image credits: Gankstajam


I know how to properly address an envelope. Skills m**********r.

Image credits: laschae


A few:

* How to drive a manual transmission.
* How to remember phone numbers in my head.
* How to untangle, manually wind and repair cassette tape.
* How to plan a cross country trip using nothing more than a Rand McNally Road Atlas and a highlighter.
* How to program in Basic.
* How many dimes to place on a record needle to prevent skipping.
* How to change my own oil, tire, belts, alternator, starter or transmission.
* On a Cathode Ray Tube TV how to: set vertical and horizontal controls, fine-tune the channel using the ring around the channel k**b and how to fashion a wire coat hanger into a VHF antenna.


Extensive knowledge of DOS commands

Image credits: Chaos-1313


I can re fold a map correctly.

Image credits: JungleZac


Texting with 10 key. I still have it all memorized and could pick up a flip phone and send paragraphs if needed.

Image credits: tobmom


I haven’t used this in decades but I used to be able to dial people on a rotary phone by tapping the hang up switch.

Image credits: Omegaprimus


I can write boobs on a calculator

Image credits: WatchingTaintDry69


Ripping the sides off printer paper without ruining it.


I outright destroyed Super Mario Brothers in almost no time flat very recently on Nintendo Switch after not having played it for probably 30 years. I did it totally from memory on the just the second run through. I even hit the multiple 1-up glitch on world 3-1. My kids thought I was a god (for just a few minutes).

Image credits: all4whatnot


Stop the TV picture rolling by twiddling the knob on the back


Diagnosing connection problems by the sound the modem makes.

Image credits: EvenSpoonier


Born 1988, turn the channel to 3 if you want your Nintendo to work

Image credits: Educational_Cap_2140


I still know how to set up a vcr to record a television program in advance.

Image credits: Atreyisx


Driving a stick shift!


Burning CDs


In the UK. A lot of people of that age (I was born in the 90's) know how to wire a plug because British law didn't require appliances to have pre-wired plugs and we were expected to wire them ourselves. I believe it was taught in schools.

Now it's not a required skill anymore but if we need to know we can just Google it.


I know how to use a keypunch machine to write my COBOL code on a stack of 80-column paper cards, how to use a card reader to send my program to the mainframe, and how to hang out drinking coffee waiting for the batch to run.

Image credits: Glade_Runner


I can be bored without watching a screen to cope

Image credits: Various-Woodpecker51


I can put an entire actual newspaper together from scratch right down to plating and printing. Also, my cursive is pretty good.


My family gets mad at me for using MS Paint instead of Photoshop


Using a typewriter

Strong background with MS-DOS with WWIV BBS software

Use an old rotary dial telephone

Frustration of loading paper on a dot matrix printer, and dealing with constant jams

Installing driver software for a new device, via 3.5" hard disk (before it became automated feature in windows)

Using an actual road map to find where you needed to go, and being able to fold it back into it's original configuration after opening

Image credits: Blades137


I can thread and watch 8mm film.


I can keep score in bowling.

Image credits: sodangshedonger


I know what the color “goldenrod” is.

Image credits: ImAmazedBaybee


Being able to get the sharpest reception for the TV channel you're watching by turning the giant dial on the top of the television that rotates the ginormous antenna on the roof.

Image credits: Linux4ever_Leo


I could draw out nearly the entire original legend of Zelda map from memory. Or at least enough to get to every dungeon, heart, and item.


I know what frequency to tune my AM radio to listen to the CONELRAD civil defense network.


I know how to use a hole punch to turn a 5.25" inch floppy disk into a flippy disk and use both sides.


I know deck to deck video editing

Image credits: Ohgood9002