So what does that mean?
I was born in 1975, so I started to become aware of life and my surroundings by the time I was five and by the time the 80’s were done, I was starting high school. To me, the quintessential 80’s kid.
So what does it mean to be an 80’s kid?
It could mean any of the following.
I remember when MTV first came on the air…and when it became big…and when my family got the new cable box just to try basic cable out…and when mistakenly we got a whole bunch of other channels free for a year. (and yes, I remember trying to watch that one station through the fuzzy vertical bars) I remember my brother and I getting up early on Saturday morning to watch videos, you know really awful Ronnie Milsap and Rod Stewart videos and Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder doing Ebony and Ivory along with the occasionally awesome Michael Jackson or Iron Maiden video.
I remember MASH and Dallas and Bosom Buddies and Three’s Company in Prime Time. I remember Howard Cosell and Don Meredith on Monday Night Football and even at an early age quite aware that some of these guys must be a little drunk. I remember After School Specials and Nancy Reagan and Don’t Do Drugs and really scary guys from Prison coming to our school to Scare Us Straight!
I remember the day Reagan got shot. I was walking home from Adam Stabell’s house when my dad brought my brother’s home from school in the old wood paneled station wagon and they yelled out of the windows that “Reagan got Shot” and we watched the few seconds of that footage on our thousand pound wood paneled television over and over again the rest of the day.
I remember trying to sneak in watchings of the Benny Hill show on Sunday nights. Why? I knew that my mom and dad thought it was innappropriate and that was enough to make it rather curious to me. An entire show about a British pervert. With a kooky song. The 80’s.
I remember when the president would speak and we kids would run around the house screaming our heads off because there would be nothing to watch on TV that night.
And this is exclusively for people from Omaha. I remember Peony Park the sandy beach swimming pool and the coolest arcade. I remember thinking that kids who were awesome at pin ball were just about the coolest kids in the world. I thought Pinball Wizard by the Who was so cool. I remember my brother’s talking to me about Sprite Night and how someday I would get to go there (but I never did since it shutdown). And I remember getting the all day ride pass on the day of a Smithereens concert, then me and a buddy finding an opening in the fence, trying to crawl through, only to find that a girl was urinating on the other side. Frown.
I remember leaving by house on my bike for what appeared to by days on end. We didn’t have to check in but we did have to be back by dinner time. I’m not sure what my mom did while I was gone and I didn’t care. I was a boy with a dirt bike. I had dimes to spare. I kept them rolled up in sock and if I was lucky I could get a sweet twist soft serve cone. And after that, check out the dirt bikes that were too expensive for me to by at the bike shop. And then go to the hobby store and look at all the miniature war figures and hobby trains. Ahh! It was a good life.
I remember when every decent tv show was at least 50% car chases. I remember when Chips was considered a decent tv show. I remember the one episode when they were up against such a badass gang of motorcycle guys that they had to unveil and use the “SUPER BIKE”!
I remember all those shows about cars that could talk (Knight Rider), motorcycles that could go 300 miles per hour (street hawk), and awesome helicoptors (I’m talking about you Blue Thunder and Street Hawk).
I remember when I used to look at the 3 miserable kids in my suburban middle class 3rd grade class and feel so sorry for them that their parents were divorced. But they did get to go to some mysterious group called Rainbows where rumor had it they got to eat donuts. Seemed a small consolation to me. I was so glad that would never happen to me. Until four years later it did, and I joined the ever growing group of kids whose parents were getting divorced.
I remember how I knew that my generation had it easy. We didn’t have a war. We didn’t grow up in a time of sacrifice. All we had was some little weekend thing called Grenada and then there was that other thing with Noriega…oh and Iran Contra…but who knew what that was other than a chance for Ollie North to say I have no recollection One million times after consulting with his lawyer. I guess all us 80’s kids had was the weird looming fear that at some point The Soviet Union and the USA would destroy each other with a gabillion nuclear weapons. I remember constant comparisons about how much bigger our MX missile was than their whatever thing a ma jig. I remember being terrified after watching the Day After. And you know how my parents made me feel better? They said, don’t worry honey, we live in Omaha. We won’t have to deal with nuclear winter or our faces melting off. Because of STrategic Air Command here, we will be one of the very first targets. And if it makes you feel better honey, we will get into the station wagon and drive down to StratCom just to make certain we are instantly vaporized and we don’t feel a thing. (Seriously, they really told me this…and you know what, it actually made me feel better).
I remember the Big Gulp. And how I didn’t think it was possible that any one human being could drink that much soda pop in one sitting. And then they came up with the Double Gulp. Crap!!! You remember, it had the paper sides that folded up and then you punched the straw through the hole. It was literally a box that held pop. It was so freaking big that it was a damn box! (and a side note, most pop at the Gas Station today are Double Gulp size or bigger I think)
I remember the farm crisis, the Savings and Loan disaster, watching the Challenger disaster during school, thinking BMX dirt bike racers were super human, watching Mary Lou score her perfect 10, watching Jim McKay do Wild World of Sports, watching the ridiculous Super Bowl shuffel of the Chicago Bears, having the big U2 verses Bon Jovi debate in junior high. Shockingly, the girls favored Bon Jovi and the guys U2.
I remember crimping. Man I wish crimping would come back in style.
There’s alot more, and I guess there are some things I would like to come back…but for the most part, I’ve moved on. You see, I’m an 80’s kid. The other thing that makes me an 80’s kid is that I’m perpetually annoyed with the Baby Boomers and the 60’s people. The ones who always talk about “Dylan” and make a certain voice when they say “Dylan” like if you don’t get “Dylan” you just aren’t smart enough; you don’t get it.
You’re right, I’m not smart enough and I don’t get it.
I prefer the memories of wearing out my brother’s Reo Speedwagon Eight Tracks, that awesome Boston debut album, and all that other stuff like 38 Special, Blue Oyster Cult, Eddie Money, Chicago, and Moody Blues.
I remember skating parties, the highlight of the gradeschool calendar year. And how hearing the song “Gloria” even to this day transports me back to the skating rinks of the 80’s, those holdovers of 70’s disco culture.
I remember spring loaded, hard plastic, dart guns that could actually hurt people. And I remember taking toy guns everywhere with us and nobody ever thinking there was anything wrong with that.
I remember Blue Light Specials when they really meant something.
I remember when 1 murder was a very, very big deal and not a regular weekly occurrence.
I remember the 80’s. Not a perfect decade. But it was my decade.
I am an 80’s Kid.