There was a time when we saw something we wanted a picture of - a sunset, kids on the beach, Lyndon Johnson showing his gall bladder surgery scars- and we grabbed the old Kodak Instamatic, snapped a snapshot or two, and then took the film to the drugstore for processing.
And we waited, and waited, to get the prints back.
The middle of next week, someone stopped off at Drugs-So-Lo and picked up the 4 x 6 pictures, and then we took them home, sent one in the mail to Aunt Gladys in Kankakee, and put the others in a shoebox.
Now, we all carry a wonderful camera right in our hand, with a smart phone. It's too bad the qualities of being "smart" don't necessarily rub off on the smart phone user, but it seems that the phones are a lot smarter than we.
The most recent tragedy occurred last weekend, when Sydney Monfries, 22, a senior at Fordham University just weeks short of graduation, fell 30 feet in the bell tower of the school, landing at the bottom of a stairway in a horrible, sad, death.
She actually fell through an opening in a stairway landing at Keating Hall, plunging down the inside of the clockworks. The tower is supposed to be locked at all times and is strictly off-limits to students, who are told from day one at Fordham to stay away, but, according to the student newspaper, The Observer, climbing the tower is a "rite of passage" for seniors.
“There are no words sufficient to describe the loss of someone so young and full of promise — and mere weeks from graduation,” university president Rev. Joseph M. McShane said in a statement.
Why was Monfries up there? Early on Sunday, just before her fatal fall, she was posting video of the great view of New York to Snapchat.
There have been several fatal falls among tourists at the Grand Canyon this year, people who leaned over just a bit too far to get that perfect picture.
I hope these warnings don't fall on deaf ears, but there is no Snapchat, no Instagram, no picture or video whatsoever that is worth risking your life to get. Ms Monfries was set to receive her degree and start law school in the fall, and now she is gone for not a very good reason at all, unless her loss is enough warning to save others.
And you can bet that Fordham will install a new security system on that bell tower, just three months or so too late.