Thursday, November 22, 2001

Holy retro, Batman!

None of the following text is mine, but I thought it was really interesting. Read it, and see how many childhood memories it brings back for you. I was wallowing in my own adolescence for a good half hour afterwards.

If not, then you're either too young (born after 1980), or too old (born before 1970).

I am a child of the 70's and 80's. That is what I prefer to be called. The 90's can do without me. Grunge isn't here to stay, fashion is fickle and "Generation X" is a myth created by some over-40 writer trying to figure out why people wear flannel in the summer.

When I got home from school, I played Atari 2600. I spent hours playing Pitfall or Combat or Breakout or Dodge'em Cars or Frogger. I never did beat Asteroids. Then I watched "Scooby Doo." Daphne was a Goddess, and I thought Shaggy was smoking something synthetic in the back of the mystery machine. I HATED SCRAPPY.

I would sleep over at friends' houses on the weekends. We played army with G.I. Joe figures, and I set up galactic wars between Autobots and Decepticons. We never beat Rubik's cube, unless you count taking off the stickers. I got up on Saturday mornings at 6 a.m. to watch bad Hanna-Barbera cartoons like "Captain Caveman," and "SpaceGhost." In between I would watch "School House Rock."("Conjunction junction, what's your function?!")

On Friday Night Daisy Duke was my future wife. I was going to own the General Lee and shoot dynamite arrows out the back. Why did they weld the doors shut? Did your dad turn from mild-mannered Bill Bixby nto "The Incredible Hulk" when he got upset? At the movies the Nerds got revenge on the AlphaBetas by teaming up with the Omega Mu's.I watched Indiana Jones save the Ark of the Covenant, and wondered what Yoda meant when he said, "No,there is another."

Ronald Reagan was cool. My family took summer vacations to South Florida and collected "Muppet Movie" glasses along the way. (We had the whole set.) At the hotel we found creative uses for Connect Four pieces like throwing them in that big air conditioning unit.

I listened to John Cougar Mellencamp sing about Little Pink Houses for Jack and Diane. I was bewildered by Boy George and the colors of his dreams, red, gold and green. I was a "Wild Boy," Duran Duran. MTV played MUSIC videos. Nickeloden played "You can't Do That On Television" and "Dangermouse". Does anyone remember the "Banana Splits?" I drank Dr. Pepper. "I'm a Pepper, you're a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?" Shasta was for losers. TAB was a labratory accident. Capri Sun was a social statement. Orange Juice wasn't just for breakfast anymore. My mom put a thousand Little Debbie Snack Cakes in my Charlie Brown lunchbox and filled my Snoopy Thermos with Grape Kool-Aid. I got two thousand cheese and cracker snack packs. I went to school and had recess. I went to the same classes everyday.

Some wierd guy from the 8th grade always won the science fair with the working hydro-electric plant that leaked on my project about music and plants. Field day was bigger than Christmas, but it always seemed to rain just enough to make everybody miserable. Rubber band fights were cool. A substitute teacher was a marked woman. Nobody deserved that. I went to Cub Scouts. I got my arrow-of-light, but never managed to win the Pinewood Derby. I got almost every skill award but don't remember ever doing anything.

The world stopped when the Challanger exploded. Half of your friend's parents got divorced. People did not just say "no" to drugs. AIDS started, but you knew more people who had a grandparent die from cancer. Somebody in your school died before they graduated. We are the ones who played with Lego Building Blocks when they were just building blocks and gave Malibu Barbie crewcuts with safety scissors that never really cut.

Big wheels and bicycles with streamers were the way to go, and sidewalk chalk was all you needed to build a city. Imagination was the key. It made the Ewok Treehouse big enough for you to be Luke. And the kitchen table and that old sheet,dark enough to be a tent in the forest. Your world was the backyard and it was all you needed. With your pink portable tape player, Debbie Gibson sang back up to you and everyone wanted a skirt like the Material Girl and a glove like Michael Jackson's. Today, we are the ones who sing along with Bruce Springsteen and The Bangles perfectly and have no idea why. We recite lines with Ghostbusters and still look to the Goonies for a great adventure. We flip through T.V. stations and stop at the A-Team and Knight Rider and Fame, and laugh with The Cosby Show and Family Ties and Punky Brewster and "What you talkin' bout Willis?" We hold strong affections for The Muppets and why did they take the Smurfs off of the air? After school specials were about cigarettes and step-families.

The Polka Dot Door was nothing like Barney, and aren't the Power Rangers just Voltron reincarnated? We are the ones who read Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins, Beverly Cleary, and Judy Blume. Friendship bracelets were ties you couldn't break and friendship pins went on shoes - preferably hightop velcro Reebok. And pegged jeans were in, as were unit belts and layered socks and jean jackets and JAMS and charm necklaces and side pony tails and just tails. Rave was a girl's best friend; braces with colored rubberbands made you rad. The backdoor was always open and Mom served only red kool-aid to the neighborhood kids.YOU NEVER drank the New Coke. Entertainment was cheap and lasted for hours. All you needed to be a princess was high heels and an apron; the Sit'n'Spin always made you dizzy but never made you stop; Pogoballs were dangerous weapons and Chinese Jump Ropes never failed to trip someone. In your underoos you were Wonder Woman, Spider Man or Robin and in your treehouse you were king. Star Wars was not only a movie. Did you ever play in a bomb shelter?

We didn't start the fire Billy Joel.

We had neighborhoods where in the day we could play kick-the-can, guns" and all of the things that made us Grow up. There was always that one "field" that could be used for either baseball, football, homerun derby, or just a place to hang out. That was my field of dreams Mr. Costner.At night we would play flashlight tag. Just like we could trick-or-treat at night without the fear of being shot and killed. Just like our guns had caps or "lasers". If we didn't have the Jessie James guns we could just get a rock and smash the caps on the ground!

We loved those orange race tracks...that was until our mother realized she could smack us with them. We too collected football and baseball cards but it was because we wanted to be the first in the neighborhood to have the "complete" set. In our neighborhoods we played with He-man and Skelator. Going to get a Happy Meal on Saturday with dad or mom was worth waiting the other six days of the week.

No, we are the furthest thing from a lost generation. Does going to arcades on Saturday, getting carpooled to football with your best friend, eating fruit roll-ups, having birthday parties at McDonalds or Godfather's pizza or Noble Romans where you could make your own pizza-express mean you are lost? How many people melted their army figures that were given to them by their parents? Was Green Latern the Coolest Super Hero or Aquaman? "Wonder twin powers activate!" How about coming home at and separating your Halloween candy into: The cool stuff, the homemade stuff, and the pennies... how about the candy that came in that awful orange and black wax paper? Did you ever try it? Do you remember the one house that had a sign in the candy bowl that said, "Take One." How many did you take if you liked it? Were you desperate one year and as a teenager you trick-or-treated?

Our generation had character and heart. We played with real baseballs and "Putt putt for the fun-of-it.""Hey, my mom will take us if your mom picks up!" Could you ever really beat Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom...? Did you have sliced oranges or grapes for your half-time treat? How about the hot dog and coke after each football and baseball games? Star Crunches? Whippy Dip? Twinkies? Ho-ho's?

This is what WE are all about!

When you put all this stuff together, you have my childhood. If this stuff sounds familiar, then I bet you are one, too. We are the children of the "80's".

That is what I prefer they call us. We are not the first "lost generation" nor today's lost generation. In fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak. So if you are reading this and it ALL hit's home then you do indeed have a heritage or a generation. This is what makes us the most unique generation of all.

Now didn't that bring back memories?

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