Loosely written for the Daily Post Weekly Challenge.
I am a child of the 70s, a child of the 80s, and a child of the 90s. I couldn’t get into Pogs, but I was really into Garbage Pail Kids. So much so that I remember dreaming about having stacks and stacks of them, and I was disappointed when I woke up. I had a collection of G.I. Joe guys, the small ones. Not the dolls. I could build a G.I. Joe guy fort all the way along the eastern wall of my bedroom. And they were all on the same team. Clutch, Cobra Commander, Snake Eye. Working together against a common enemy. My fort was so well set up, so well defended, that there was never really a war. Ever.
I couldn’t solve a Rubik’s Cube but I could take the damn thing apart and put it back together in the right order. That’s one way to solve it. Some of my best friends (guys) had Cabbage Patch Kids. I got creative with an Etch-a-Sketch, and earlier, a Lite-Brite. I owned the Venom action figure before I even knew why Spider-man was wearing a black suit. I really wanted a Swatch, but I never got one. I never even asked.
One of the most exciting nights of my life was when my whole family went to the mall together to buy an Atari 2600. Space Invaders and Combat were the only two things I did for a month. Later, I remember the Apple 2GS. I learned how to program in 10th grade, and I didn’t even know I was programming. I don’t regret that I didn’t follow up with that, or learn anything more than basic. When I have any programming job ahead of me, even HTML, I hate life until the task is complete.
Being too young didn’t stop me from reading Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Peter Straub, and many, many other authors. I was lucky to grow up in a house where there were books EVERYWHERE. My dad, every once in a while, even gave me a book and just said, “Read this.” I also had the very first, #1 issue of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book, and loved them before anyone had ever really heard of them. I also had issue #1 of the Punisher.
I remember the “Free the Hostages” bumper stickers everywhere. I watched the challenger explode. Several time. I remember hearing about the Cold War, even though I didn’t quite get what it was. I remember seeing ashes from Mount. St. Helens in my backyard. Most of what I knew about Chernobyl came from Mad Magazine. I liked Mad a lot better than Cracked, but I read both. I looked at a lot of pictures of the destruction caused by the Exxon Valdez. My dad made me read the news article about Ronald Reagan getting shot. And the AIDS scare.
I had not only a boom box and a Walkman, but a combination unit where the tape player popped out of the boom box and became a Walkman. I owned a Yamaha DX-100 synthesizer at a young age. The little brother of the DX-7. I watched MTV when it was JUST music videos.
I remember everyone being disappointed with the New Coke. I was 11 years old, and I thought to myself, they should bring back the old stuff and call it Coke Classic. Then it happened. This would not be the last time I was unknowingly ahead of the game.
I watched the A-Team, and Dukes of Hazzard, and my parents let me stay up late enough to hear the theme song of Dallas. I remember Golden Girls, and 227. I watched Fonzie jump the shark before it was a rerun. When I got home from school I would wait for my sisters to be done watching General Hospital, so I could watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island, I Dream of Jeannie, The Brady Bunch, Bewitched, Tom and Jerry, and that after school special where the Wave finds out they are actually Nazis. Every saturday morning I had a crush on a little blue-skinned blonde girl. I regularly watched Family Ties, The Facts of Life. Lines from these shows pop into my head every now and then. (“I played Chess with the Grim Reaper and won!”) I drank a lot of Tang while I watched these shows.
I could sing almost every song in the original Muppet Movie. I listened to rap when it was pop. I sang along with Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Price, Duran Duran, REM, REO Speedwagon, Billy Joel, and more. I had records, tapes, and CDs, and I worried about the next technology that would take my CDs away. (Turns out I had nothing to worry about.)
I watched and watched and watched The Breakfast Club, Porky’s, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science. I saw Star Wars at a drive-in theater. I ate popcorn and so many Spree’s that I thought my tongue would fall off. Freddy Krueger scared the hell out of me. Until the second, much milder, and funnier sequel. Beverly Hills Cop, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Rambo, MacGyver, Night Court, Alf, Quantum Leap, Full House, Airwolf. All of the I watched, I took in, and I’m sure they molded me. I wore a jean jacket and had long hair.
I watched Michael J. Fox ride a skateboard in 1985, and 1955. And I went and bough a skateboard with saved lunch money. I watched a generation of skaters grow up, and I will swear up and down, left and right, that it was all due to Back to the Future.
I was there when the Internet was still capitalized. I feel like I’m probably one of the first 1000 people to wonder “Can I use this technology to look at naked people?” I used Netscape Navigator to build my first website, and read my favorite usenet newsgroups. Do they still exist? I believe that Google is as popular as it is today because of one incredible fact. The search engine told you how fast it was. That’s all it took for me, on AOL dial-up, to be impressed. My first email was on CompuServe.
I archive everything. But there was so much, all I have is these snapshots that I never took.
Nowdays, people talk about actors, actresses, bands, and I can barely relate. My mind is full of the 80s. It’s not like I’m stuck there. I think I just got my fill of popular culture. I don’t really care anymore. I like what I like, I expand when I’m ready to expand. I do miss knowing exactly what’s going on. When someone talks about an actor, I miss knowing exactly who they are talking about. But time marches on, I have my own stuff to fill my head with. I still follow the news and politics. But I’m so out of tune now, and I don’t think I can get back in, Because, you see, as soon as I’m “in the now” time will march on yet again. I don’t think I can ever catch up, but I at least am satisfied knowing that I don’t want to.
I’m still trying to catch up with everything that happened up to the 1980s.