This post really needs no introduction from us. Keith, take it away!
Oh, 1980s and 1990s, how I miss thee! I was born in 1970, so by the time I was ready to be a real kid, let alone a teenager, the '80s were my jam. Life changed so fast in the 1990s the decade could be split into three distinct eras for me: college, first marriage, coming out of the closet.
There are so many things I miss about these decades narrowing down a list of five items from each is HARD, but my editor wouldn’t allow my “1,000 things I Miss About the '80s and '90s” post, so I narrowed my choices down to a more reasonable post-sized register.
Let’s start with the 1980s
Generra Clothing Hypercolor Shirts
This space-age, totally rad, and unbelievably cool clothing technology rocked my core when it was introduced. The shirts would actually change color based on your body heat. It was tie-dye for the modern age. It was like nothing I had ever seen, and I had to have one.
CBS Special Presentation Announcement
When this fast paced, 10-second jewel of percussion and horns came blaring into your living room from the television, you knew you were in for a treat. Most likely, the Wizard of Oz or A Charlie Brown holiday special was getting ready to air. And the thing was, THIS WAS THE ONLY TIME YOU COULD SEE IT. It was only aired once a year. You couldn’t just buy it at the local TG & Y (or whatever store your town had pre-Walmart). I remember always having to have had my bath and be in my pajamas before that lead-in came on so I could be sure to enjoy all of the special, which in the case of The Wizard of Oz always ran past my bedtime.
The Trapper Keeper
Quite possibly, the best organizing tool ever invented. I would have never made it through school without a Trapper Keeper. In fact, I could use one right now. Are these still made?!
Plaque Indicator Tablets
These ingenious torture devices were always the true test of your tooth brushing ability. I am pretty sure dentists slipped these pink tablets to parents while we unsuspecting kids were still in the examination chair. In case you’ve forgotten, you would chew the tablet, then spit it out. The pink would cling to the parts of your teeth that had not been properly brushed and were still plaque-ridden. I hated it then, but now, I would love to have some.
I can’t tell you how many countless hours I spent listening to my local radio station in hopes of catching that one song that I needed to complete the mix tape I was making. If you have done this, you also know the horror of the cassette tape running out of room in the middle of the recording and having to start waiting all over again. Thankfully, I called the radio station so often to request songs in the 80’s, my favorite DJ, the Lizard, would often throw the song in question back on the turntable fairly soon as a favor to me. Loyalty matters, kids.
Now, moving on the 90’s. A different decade, a different time.
No one had his own computer back in the early 90’s. If you had a project or paper due for a class in college, there was only one place to go: the computer lab. There you would sit and insert your ginormous floppy discs and do your work. The best part of the lab was the diversity of the people there. It was like a real-life Breakfast Club. There was always a jock who was basically trying to get someone else to do his paper for him. There was the nerd who did her campus work-study as the computer lab attendant, and would help you insert your floppy into the drive while rolling her eyes. It didn’t matter what category of student you fell into, you eventually ended up in the computer lab the day before your deadline.
OK, give me this one. I know some of you are parents who probably had to watch this show over and over and over and over. I don’t have kids. I do have nieces and nephews who grew up with Blue and Steve, and I LOVED to watch the show with them. I just loved everything about it. Steve was so cute and funny. He should have never left the show. I don’t want to know what he is doing now, but I am sure I would be disappointed. I just want my fond memories of good, curious Blue and cute, adorable Steve.
Was there anything more exciting or more frustrating than the noise of trying to connect to America Online through your telephone line? And once you finally connected, WOW! You could chat with people from all over the world. You could look up anything that you wanted and have the answers immediately. Mind. Blown.
I will also admit that my main email account is still an AOL account. Don’t judge me. I am happy with it.
Meg Ryan Movies
I loved Meg Ryan movies so hard. OK, technically When Harry Met Sally came out in 1989, but then followed Sleepless in Seattle, Joe Versus the Volcano, Prelude to a Kiss, You’ve Got Mail.... The list goes on and on. She was my 1990’s sweetheart.
I’m the first to tell you that I am a pop music kinda guy. I don’t care. I like it. BUT, some 90’s artists tapped into something deep inside me that needed released. When I get in certain moods today, I still go to Alanis Morrisette, The Verve, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Bens Fold Five, and R.E.M. I mean, sometimes you just have to let out that demon.
What have I missed? What do you miss most about the two decades that shaped so much of our lives? Let me know!
Keith Stewart is the author of Bernadette Peters Hates Me – True Tales of a Delusional Man. A native of Appalachia, he splits his time between his hometown of Hyden and nearby Lexington, Kentucky. His blog is www.astrongmanscupoftea.com . You can find him on Twitter at @Shiglyogly and Facebook at @AMSCOT (A Strong Man’s Cup of Tea). He is a regular contributor to HumorOutcasts.com and the GoodMenProject.com. He lives with his husband, Andy, and their two dogs, Duke and Dudley.