Sometimes you see something so stupid, you have to make time to comment on it.

The fact that no one knows how to use a map astounds me. There was a book with every street written in it in alphabetical order. You looked up the street, and it would say D 7, for example. If it was a map in the book, there would also be a page number. If it was a large wall map, the letter and number is all that you got. In later books, there would also be a “cross street” which would be the name of a large street that intersected the one you were looking for.

You would then look on the map, with letters down the side and numbers across the top. Your street was found on the map using those. As to which house number, the acronym “NEON” was useful, and it meant North and East are Odd Numbers. Meaning that the North and East side of the street is where Odd addresses were found.

Now comes the tricky part- what if you are looking for a large street that ran a long distance? Well, for that we had to memorize “address breaks.” For example, let’s say that Vine street runs the width of the town from North to South. I know that the 100 East and 100 West blocks are separated by Main Street. Going South on Main street the numbers would start at 100 South main and increase. Then I had to know that Elm was the 400/500 South Main divider. I also had to know that Pine Street was the 1000/1100 divider, etc.

You would be dispatched like this: “Rescue 14, reported seizures to a child. 1124 15th Street. Map page 27, D-14. Select tactical three for updates. Time out 1457.”

When we hired a firefighter, he would have two weeks to learn where all of the equipment on every vehicle at the station was located. The test was “where are all of the spanner wrenches found,” or perhaps “how many SCBA bottles are on the engine?” and then “Where are the nonrebreather oxygen masks on the rescue?”

At one month after hire, you were given a map book test. You had to know how to use the map book, and more importantly, you had to know where all of the major address breaks in the city were located. The test would be “You are driving west on Central Avenue, approaching Main Street. The address you are looking for is 1884 Main street. So when I reach Main, do I take a left or a right?” You better know the answer, probie.

I am sure that pizza delivery drivers, taxi drivers, cops, and even the electric company did something similar. I can’t believe that this new generation is so helplessly stupid about anything that isn’t on Tik Tok.

Categories: People


Joe Blow · December 18, 2023 at 5:31 am

Not surprising at all.
Schools don’t teach anymore, kids don’t learn knowledge and skills, and how to apply them.
They memorize facts for a test, and promptly forget what they just scratched the surface of. No practical application is ever introduced.
When globalists say we will have millions of useless eaters on this planet, they’re not wrong.

tfourier · December 18, 2023 at 6:04 am

If it was not for the 2009 creation date the postings on the twitter account read remarkably like a bot a/c. They are that stupid and low information. And it does not even read like deliberately dumb “humors” positings. He’s just not that bright.

As for maps. Learned to read topographic maps as a kid. With compass. And as I have lived most of my life in earthquake country both home and car has a full compliment of local road maps. As does my phone and tablets. Which I “read” regularly when I need to get somewhere. Never use GPS in the car. Ever. Too many mistakes in big cities. Like dangerous / illegal turns etc. Or “best route” is through a drive-by shooting zone. And when the next big natural disaster hits, paper maps will always work.

It's just Boris · December 18, 2023 at 6:06 am

Heh. Ask anyone of that generation how to build a fire … especially if they were raised in a city. In fact, forget about survival situations, it’s funny enough watching one try to start a fire, in a fireplace, without burning the house down.

Dirty Dingus McGee · December 18, 2023 at 6:12 am

In 1972, at the ripe old age of 14, I was the navigator for a cross country family vacation of approx 6,000 miles. My mother was NOT map savvy so it fell to me to be the navigator.To the best of my memory I made 3 bad calls on the trip.

I can still use a paper map, the trick is to FIND one. Short of an atlas, you rarely see them anywhere. And I’ll admit that I have become dependent on GPS these days. It’s more useful than spoken directions from someone; “take a left where the Smith’s farm used to be”.

Skyler the Weird · December 18, 2023 at 6:42 am

The Dominos Pizza in Alexandria Vs where my girlfriend worked in the Eighties had a map of their service area on the wall. Her job was to take orders so the phone was near the map where she could see if some vague address was in the Service Area so that the pizza would arrive in 30 minutes or less

    Craig · December 18, 2023 at 10:18 am

    ’83 or ’84 I worked for Dominoes one night. A flat tire and a speeding ticket made it cheaper to quit,lol.

Mike Hendrix · December 18, 2023 at 6:43 am

What’s REALLY scary is when it hits you that these sub-morons are actually quite proud of their abysmal ignorance and infant-like helplessness, as if it somehow conferred some sort of moral superiority on them.

And then it hits you that they effectively run the country now, and that we let them get away with stealing an entire nation from us.

Rob · December 18, 2023 at 7:29 am

All going according to plan, by the “education” industrial complex.

How many different ways is this country being destroyed?

C · December 18, 2023 at 7:40 am

I’m one of the few from my generation that can get around without a GPS. My SO asked how I did it. “I read the signs.”

    Big Ruckus D · December 18, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    That’s very nice. But don’t lose sight of the fact the signs are becoming unreliable in some cities. As we are sucked further into the crisis of competence, strained budgets and general loss of western standards of civilization, the signs will not be ok.

    Whether knocked down in accidents and not replaced, or stolen for scrap value, I note an increasing incidence of missing street and highway signs. Sometimes it’s just the sign bearing the street name. Others it’s a sign bearing directions to an interstate ahead of an interchange. Occasionally, it’s a yield or stop sign, with predictably dangerous results. But many older cities and suburbs are now exhibiting this issue of missing signage on the roadways. Malfunctioning traffic signals are a related subset of this problem.

    Standards regarding clearly legible posting of addresses on buildings – particularly homes – is no longer made much of either. I remember as a kid the local FD coming around and telling residents that their homes address was inadequately sized, poorly placed or otherwise not “up to standard” for ease of locating their home quickly. As a tradesman who works in people’s homes, it is remarkable to me how many houses have piss poor address markings that delay finding them easily when I pull up to do a service call. This happens more and more when multiple houses in a row have undersized or poorly placed addresses.

    Further, in many newer developments (of even single family homes, to say nothing of condos and villas), the USPS has dictated these giant modular mailbox units located in one spot, so one can’t even depend on mailboxes being present at each home bearing the house number.

      Divemedic · December 18, 2023 at 1:48 pm

      When TSHTF, I plan on removing as many street signs in my AO as I can manage. No use making it easy.

        Big Ruckus D · December 18, 2023 at 9:56 pm

        I do like the way you think.

        Nemo · December 19, 2023 at 5:11 pm

        I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks.

EN2SS · December 18, 2023 at 8:11 am

I can’t believe that this new generation is so helplessly stupid about anything that isn’t on Tik Tok.

Doubt it at your peril. Don’t doubt they’re ability/willingness to kill you, either.

Andrew · December 18, 2023 at 9:14 am

Work, until the early 2000’s, had a “wall map” of the local (Columbus and suburbs) areas.
There were actual maps filed in case people had to go outside the map range, but that was about 90% of work deliveries.
Go to the book, look up street name.
Locate Grid Square it’s listed in.
I’d normally hand draw a map on paper with hash marks for number of streets, turns, rough distance…
It was fairly easy.
Every so often the company got a new one to account for added streets.
The last one is likely 2008 vintage, but work was going to toss it in the dumpster since “there’s Mapquest/Google Maps” now, so I kept it.
I hung it up in my basement, but sadly the book had gotten lost a few years prior so that’s all I got, it’s just something I felt like saving for posterity.
It still has about 90% of streets though, which is handy.

Don Shift · December 18, 2023 at 9:17 am

Makes me want to get on the air to dispatch and say “advise map?” just to mess with the newer dispatchers. No more Thomas Guides.

SmileyFtW · December 18, 2023 at 9:20 am

NEON isn’t universal. Many times it’s based on which “quadrant” of the city you’re in. Say you’re on the west side of town… odd on the south side of the east/west streets; on the east side of town odd on the north side of the east/west streets.

    Divemedic · December 18, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    It was in my county. I know that there are some counties that had quadrants like NW Fifty- Second Street versus SE Fifty-Second Street.

D · December 18, 2023 at 10:33 am

Man…I miss my Thomas Guides and Metsker maps.

About a decade ago, I tried to find one for my area, but it seems like they don’t really make them anymore. They seem to be treating maps as antiques.

Titan Mk6B · December 18, 2023 at 11:29 am

Learned how to read maps in Boy Scouts and my mother taught me how to navigate city streets.

Give me a chance to look at a map of anywhere and you cannot get me lost.

Elrod · December 18, 2023 at 12:15 pm

When SHTF the trick will be to avoid everyone and everything for about 3-4 weeks as the unskiiled, untrained, ill-educated, sick, lame, and lazy die off. Mobility will be converted to “local and random” – sort of societal Brownian motion – when their phones can’t be recharged any longer.

It will help speed that up if someone rotates all street signs 90 degrees in their AO.

On second thought, don’t bother, those sort of people don’t know what street names and street signs are for.

Aesop · December 18, 2023 at 1:00 pm

In SoCal, those books are called Thomas Guides. They’re still published.

When I worked in the Hollywood Biz, one bright young idiot production assistant from Kansas was put in charge of distributing the next day’s call location for the crew.
He made a great map, which called for everyone to drive through downtown L.A. the wrong way on a series of one-way streets to get to crew parking. Which, to his tiny mind, made perfect sense.

I cornered Captain Idiot and said, “Hey, Soopergenius, just give me the street address of tomorrow’s location, and what time you want me there. You’re too stupid to be making maps when you can’t read one, and you’re going to kill half the crew tomorrow.”

He was baffled.

I was about to start explaining his errors to him when the Teamster driver captain (in charge of getting 23 separate production vehicles to each day’s locations) came over and unloaded on him. It was biblical.

The next day Captain Idiot had a new job: in charge of watching the crew parking lot all day.
All. Day.
Learning map reading took on a whole new importance to him after that.

Terrapod · December 18, 2023 at 1:12 pm

Ha! Still have detailed road maps of 50 states and major cities in my filing cabinet along with Ordnance Survey maps for UK, Ireland and equivalent for most of Europe and Scandinavia. When GPS goes crisp won’t have any problems whatsoever so long as there are still roads, cars and fuel. If we end up back on horses, still works OK.

GuardDuck · December 18, 2023 at 1:41 pm

Thomas guide in every one of the patrol cars. Don’t remember even having to teach people how to use them back in the 90’s.

Slow Joe Crow · December 18, 2023 at 2:52 pm

I’m going to have to teach my younger kid maps. I grew up with Hagstrom maps in the Northeast and my older kid went orienteering once and worked as a delivery driver so he groks navigation.
I hope this fool on formerly Twitter got dragged hard.

FeralFerret · December 19, 2023 at 2:23 am

Back in 1979 & 1980, this country boy from the Texas Panhandle was living in Houston driving a lumber truck delivering to construction sites. The Thomas Guide maps were what we had, Even then occasionally one of the deliveries was to newly a platted subdivision that wasn’t yet in the map. With those maps, you could get almost anywhere.

If you couldn’t read the maps, you were in deep doodoo.

Itziri · December 19, 2023 at 2:26 am

I drove for Pizza Hut in 1990, back when they first opened up their delivery/take out locations. My location was in the middle of Riverside, and had a big map up on the wall of our delivery area behind the counter for drivers to look up streets. I had a Thomas Guide in my car, and carried a 2 D cell maglight so when I delivered at night I could look for house numbers with it as I slowly drove down the street. As I learned the delivery area I didn’t need the map as much.

Even today, 33 years later, and 30 years after I left home to go into the Navy, I can still get around that area.

I think pretty much everyone under the age of about 40 will be utterly lost if their phones GPS doesn’t work. Maybe not close to their home, but if they have to go somewhere they don’t know, they will be lucky if they can still maintain which way is north.

G-Man · December 19, 2023 at 6:32 am

There’s a large military installation nearby. Someone was pitching old 1:50,000 maps of the post and surrounding installation, so I salvaged one and it lives on the wall in my closet, next to the safes. Also, most state DOTs provide ‘travel maps’ of their state for free either through in-house or contracted printing services, as outreach for tourism. Just sayin.

BraulerBob · December 19, 2023 at 7:04 am

One of my jobs in high school was delivering prescriptions for one of the local pharmacies. We also supplied oxygen cylinders for several of the local nursing homes. I have always enjoyed driving and have a good head for maps and routes. This made the job a lot of fun for me. Once I learned where all the regular deliveries were going, I hardly needed to use a map but occasionally would have to look some new customer’s address up just to confirm I knew where I was going. My wife would be lost without Google to tell her how to get some where out of our immediate AO. I do use Wayz to tell me where all the speed traps are though.

Don W Curton · December 19, 2023 at 8:49 am

I actually had this very conversation with a young guy at work yesterday. He was amazed that we could function without smart phones and computers back in the day. When I told I still had paper maps in the truck for a “just in case” scenario, he looked at me weird and then said “I’m sticking with you old guys when the shit hits the fan”.

Jonesy · December 19, 2023 at 12:46 pm

Not just maps and directions…remember when you were going to meet up with friends? A location and a time, with maybe a back up location. No calls, no 15 texts, you showed up when and where you said you would.

S Beam · December 20, 2023 at 6:46 pm

Even if they could read , they do not know how to find North.

cow-poo · December 30, 2023 at 12:01 am

Drove truck for 40+ years Had a Rand-Mcnally laying on the dog house (engine cover in the old cab over days) and would have to peek at it between turning, shifting, and watching the road and traffic. Find the correct route and delivery for a Detroit to Levitown NY load of frozen french fries. It would make any modern day snowflake driver pee himself

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