To All of My 80’s Friends
Yeah, I’m an 80’s kid!
I received this email from a friend of mine. Its old, recycled through
the net since about 1992, but oh so true.
To all of my 80’s friends………Piss on Generation ‘X’
Don’t call me “Generation X,” call me a child of the eighties. I am
a child of the eighties. That is what I prefer to be called. The nineties
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 with my 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 their 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
(and some Stormtroopers and Jawas for good measure). We stayed up half the
night throwing marshmallows and Velveeta at one another. We never beat the
I got up on Saturday mornings at 6 a.m. to watch bad Hanna-Barbera cartoons
like “The Snorks,” “Jabberjaw,” “Captain Caveman,” and “Space Ghost.” In
between I would watch “School House Rock.” (“Conjunction junction, what’s
On weeknights 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?
Battlestar Galactica was like Star Wars once a week and you wanted your own
dagget. At the movies the Nerds got Revenge on the Alpha Betas by teaming
up with the Omega Mus. 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 still old. Gorbachev was the guy who built a McDonalds
in Moscow. My family took summer vacations to the Gulf of Mexico and collected
“Muppet Movie” glasses along the way. (We had the whole set.) My brother
and I fought in the back seat. At the hotel we found creative uses for Connect
Four pieces like throwing them in that big air conditioning unit.
You read Cracked. Your best friend read Mad. 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. You were shocked
by how Prince met Darlin’ Nikki. MTV played videos. Nickelodeon played “You
Can’t Do That on Television” and “Dangermouse.” Cor! HBO showed Mike Tyson
pummel everybody except Robin Givens, the bad actress from “Head of the Class”
who took all Mike’s cashflow.
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 laboratory accident.
Capri Sun was a social statement. Orange juice wasn’t just for breakfast
anymore, and bacon had to move over for something meatier. My mom put a thousand
Little Debbie Snack Cakes in my Charlie Brown lunch box, and filled my Snoopy
Thermos with grape Kool-Aid.. I would never eat the snack cakes, though.
Did anyone? I got two thousand cheese and cracker snack packs, and I ate
I went to school and had recess. I went to the same classes everyday. Some
weird guy from the eighth grade always won the science fair with the working
hydro-electric plant that leaked on my project about music and plants. They
just loved Beethoven.Field day was bigger than Christmas, but it always managed
to rain just enough to make everybody miserable before they fell over in
the three-leggedrace. Where did all those panty hose come from? “Deck
the Halls with Gasoline, fa la la la la la la la la,” was just a song. Burping
was cool. Rubber band fights were cooler. A substitute teacher was a baby
sitter/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 Challenger exploded. Half of your friends’
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 schooldied before they graduated.
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 children of the eighties.
That is what I prefer “they” call it.We are the children of the Eighties.
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.
We are the ones who played with Lego Building Blocks when they were just
Legos and gave Malibu Barbie crewcuts with safety scissors that never really
cut. We collected Garbage Pail Kids and Cabbage Patch Kids and My Little
Ponies and Hot Wheels and He-Man action figures and thought She-Ra looked
just a little bit like I would when I was a woman. Big Wheels with clickers,
Green Machines, 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 an old sheet dark enough to be a tent in
the forest. Your world was the backyard and it was all you needed. Dungeons
& Dragons was your life and you battled with broomstick swords and garbage
lid sheilds in the woods at the end of the street. 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 the Ghostbusters (“Nice
shootin’ Tex!”) 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 “whatch
you talkin’ ’bout Willis?” We hold strong affections for The Muppets and
The GummyBears and why did they take the Smurfs off the air?
After school specials were only about cigarettes and step-families, the Pokka
Dot Door was nothing like Barney, and aren’t the Power Rangers just Voltron
reincarnated? We are the ones who still read Nancy Drew and the Hardy
Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, Beverly Clearly, and Judy Blume, Richard Scary and
the Electric Company. We put the Indian In The Cupboard and understood the
Wrinkle In Time.
Friendship bracelets were ties you couldn’t break and friendship pins went
on shoes – preferably hightop Velcro Reebox – and pegged jeans were in, as
were Units belts and layered socks and jeanjackets and jams and parachute
pants and charm necklaces and side pony tails and just tails. Rave was a
girl’s best friend; braces with colored rubberbands made you cool. The backdoor
was always open and Mom served only red Kool-Aid to the neighborhood kids
– never drank 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 or Spider
Man or R2D2 and in your treehouse you were king.
In the Eighties, nothing was wrong. Did you know the president wasshot? Star
Wars was not only a movie. Did you ever play in a bomb shelter? Did you see
the Challenger explode or feed the homeless man? We forgot Vietnam
but watched Tiananman’s Square on CNN and bought pieces of the Berlin Wall
at the store. AIDS was not the number one killer in the United States. We
didn’t start the fire, BillyJoel.
In the Eighties, we redefined the American Dream, and those years defined
us. We are the generation in between strife and facing strife and not turning
our backs. The Eighties may have made us idealistic, but it’s that idealism
that will push us and be passed on to our children – the first children of
the twenty-first century.
Never forget: We are the children of the Eighties.
If this is familiar, you are one of us… pass it on to all the others…
Oh yeah,….and we grew up with the *real* threat of Nuclear Destruction
at any moment.
Two Kids of the 80’s, Ann and I.