I will be turning 29 in a week, and as another decade on the planet draws to a close, I felt it was an appropriate time to reflect on the days of yore.
Grab your Trapper Keeper, hop in the DeLorean and let’s take a trip back to enjoy the wonders and horrors of my electric eighties youth…
Snoopy Sno-Cone Maker
While the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine did make amazing ice, even as a child I felt it was named under false pretenses. “Machine” is a relative term. To create 1/8 of a cup of ice shavings, you needed roughly 17 pounds of ice chips and a small army to share the burden of churning the crank. Home alone on a warm summer day with a craving for a sno-cone? Forget about it. Snoopy Sno-Cone making was only feasible when you had the entire extended family in town to take turns behind the handle until their arm cramped and crippled. I imagine this process to be similar to what the Amish must go through when churning butter.
Even worse, in the event you DID manage to crank out a satisfying amount of “sno” (read: gave up on the machine) the ice on the bottom of the cup would have long melted before your mother yanked the snoopy flavoring out of your hand and threw it in the trash reminding you it was “4 years old.”
If obtaining all food required even 1/16 the effort of a Snoopy Sno-Cone, I do believe we would have solved America’s obesity crisis.
Sno-cone? More like Sno-blows.
Once upon a time, before the invention of Crocs, there was another type of hideous shoe made of synthetic materials simply not suited for the world of footwear. To this day I am still convinced they were the melted-down and reformed brainchild of the manufacturers of plastic Easter baskets. These shoes were called jellies. Perhaps you remember them. If you don’t remember the shoes themselves, perhaps you remember the sound of little girls around the world slamming their jellies against the pavement, desperately trying to dislodge the tiny pebbles that inevitably wedged their way into the spaces of the jelly heel.
A few years ago, much to my dismay, someone in the fashion world wasn’t doing their job, and jellies made a comeback with the nostalgic girls of my generation. As a child, I admit I owned many a pair of jellies – and loved them dearly. It was a sad day when the plastic basket weave would crack and tear open, rendering them trash-bound. But when I found myself in the midst of the second-coming of jellies as a 20-something, I had enough life experience and wisdom to realize if there is one thing even sadder than jelly shoes themselves, it’s 20-somethings in jellies.
Parenting is hard. Thank goodness for Mall Madness, the talking game that teaches your children there are absolutely no repercussions whatsover to going into massive credit card debt as long as you make it to the shoe store in time to take advantage of the clearance sale!
I defy you to show me one person who doesn’t secretly wish they knew all the moves to Thriller and could bust them out at a wedding reception and make all the other guests jealous. For that matter, show me anyone who doesn’t secretly harbor that dream. If I had a dollar for every time I roller-skated around the cement floor of my parents basement with the lights turned out while listening to Thriller and had invested those dollars in Microsoft stock, I’d be paying my pet monkey to type this blog post for me.
Sidenote: I still love Thriller so much today I instantly adore anything that manages to incorporate it somehow. (See movie: 13 Going on 30)
McDonald’s $1,000,000 Record
No matter how many times I played that record, the class just couldn’t get the menu right. Much like they can never seem to remember to put ketchup in the bag no matter how politely I ask.
Crystal Clear Pepsi
Right now nature’s inventing better stuff than science. Right now the future’s a step ahead of us. Right now I’m dry heaving remembering the taste of Crystal Clear Pepsi. I tried to like it, I really did. Mostly because I felt like the rhino in the commercial was depending on me, and somehow, by drinking this crap product it was going to save him. Now that I think about it, that rhino is probably alive and well living a life of luxury at the San Diego Zoo…not running for his life in the Serengeti. That Van Halen song, on the other hand, will forever be synonymous with the epic failure that was Crystal Clear Pepsi.
Slap bracelets were a jam…at least until they broke and essentially became a hazard capable of slitting your wrist upon impact.
Do not be alarmed! My jacket was not struck by lightning. Behold! The awesome power of stonewash.
New Kids on the Block
The past couple decades have brought me clarity. Where once I saw a pack of handsome young men who made me weak in the knees, I now see a “Twinks4Bears” advertisement. Leave it to me to fall for the guy wearing tapered-leg overalls without a shirt underneath seductively hugging his “top” whilst sporting a white man ‘fro and a rat-tail*. (*Not pictured but still present)
Despite all of his flaws, Jordan Knight did always get me with that falsetto in Step By Step. When he said “you’re always on my mind, no one else will ever do” … I felt like he really meant it. Then Tiger Beat caught him making out with a man. And that was that.
Doogie Howser, MD
From a young age I set the bar high when it came to the men in my life. No average pre-pubescent 12 year old would do. He had to come fully loaded with a MD/PhD and a working knowledge of computers. 20-some years later, I’ve lightened up on the MD/PhD thing, but I still expect him to know I’m not talking marine mammal when I mention the fail whale.
I grew up in a more innocent time long before rainbows were a badge of honor for the out-and-proud community and long, loooong before anyone had ever uttered the words “full-on” whilst pondering “What does it mean?”
Conair Neon Phone
Pretty sure I began asking Santa for one of these the day I figured out what a phone was. Much to my dismay, he never brought one. For a great period of time I was convinced my lack of Conair Neon Phone was the one thing standing between me and the seat that was rightfully mine at the popular girls lunch table. Try as I might, no perm, puffy paint t-shirt or push-down socks were enough to help me fulfill my destiny. Alas. Maybe I can find one on ebay.
Windsong Perfume by Prince Matchabelli
I am shocked to find out this commercial was from 1998. Its crappiness is so deeply seared in my mind I would’ve sworn it must’ve been 1988. Either way, this rotgut perfume has been around for decades and still stinks (literally and figuratively) just as bad as it ever did. On the upside, if you have had your eye on a burly blacksmith you’d like to borderline sexually assault you on a public bridge, now you know how to reel him in. Go get him, girl!
ps: I’m starting to think Prince Matchabelli isn’t even royalty.
Many a grocery store meltdown resulted from the fact that my mother refused to pay $5 for 4 crackers, a sliver of cheese and a couple rounds of bologna laden with MSG. Cruel, cruel world.
Baby’s first drag queen. Need I say more?
There was a time I would have called my mother’s decision to promptly return the Crocodile Mile my father bought us to the store a grave injustice, but looking back (and perusing the youtube comments) I’m inclined to agree that any product deliberately engineered with a “bump” to send the human body careening uncontrollaby through the air after hurdling down a plastic runway toward it with increasing speed and only two inches of water to break the fall was probably not the most well-thought out toy ever made.
It should be noted, however, a later version of Crocodile Mile (aptly named “Super Crocodile Mile”) included a complimentary air cushion (should have been named the “lessen the chances of breaking your f-ing rib cage and puncturing a major internal organ” cushion) on which “sliders” were supposed to drop their body weight and glide down the mile.
I’d still like to see a copy of the injury reports resulting from this hazard. I bet it rivals lawn darts.