Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Remebrances of Things Past...

Hello Friends.

I tell you the one thing I like about those hipsters is their propensity to recycle. If not for them, we wouldn't have Polaroid cameras, giant eyeglass frames, or young bearded men to enjoy anymore. While I don't ascribe to the hipster lifestyle (I love a loose-fitting pant and the occasional shower), I do identify with their love of nostalgia. This is not to say that I long for yesterday (the notion of the “good old days” seems like short-sighted mythology from Conservatives), but there are things I wish were still around.

Dream: Bring back a few of the ideas and concepts of yesteryear.

Goal: Achievable. Remember when Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul were judges on a show and people were like “YAAAY!” and then Paula left and was replaced by Ellen and people were like, “WHAAAT?” And then Simon started a new show where he and Paula were judges and people were like “YAAAY!” again? Like that.

Plan: Use that same principle to bring back things I care about. I don't care for Simon or Paula, but I was pleased when strong viewer support brought back Family Guy, got Tina Fey to play Sarah Palin, and stopped Pepsi from making those horrible coffee flavoured energy drinks. So maybe you'll sign a petition, hold a protest, and start movement to bring back things like:

  • Ugly musicians. Have you ever seen a Genesis or Kim Mitchell video? Those dudes looked gross! But how do you not groove on Invisible Touch or Might As Well Go For a Soda? If we judged these boys by the criteria we place on rock stars today, we might never have had a top ten hit utilizing the phrase “Might as well”!
  • The Ab-Tronic. PLEASE, can we keep working on that? To refresh your memory, the Ab-Tronic was the device you strapped over your stomach which supposedly contracted your abdominal muscles and gave you a six pack while you were at the office, watching the game, or just hanging out at home! It was proven to be an ineffective piece of shit (like its users!) but can't we shoot for an Ab-Tronic 2.0? I really, really want a rock hard flat stomach without getting off my fat ass.
  • “No Fear” shirts. That was the closest to a uniform I remember in seventh grade. Finally, all my fashion decisions were made because every kid had one of those shirts that had some falsely inspirational extreme sports reference and then “No Fear” written on it. As I recall, I didn't have a “No Fear” shirt but a knock-off with something like “Lack of Trepidation” written on it. But I'd spend the money this time around for the genuine article.
  • Sitcom studio audiences. I know we've graduated to sophisticated single-camera television comedies like 30 Rock and Hoarders but dammit, I miss being told when to laugh! And I feel like an idiot sitting at home by myself going “WHOOOO!” when people kiss or “UGHHH!” when something bad happens or “AWWW!” when a kid or dog plays with the dog or kid. I even miss the “WhoooOOOOOO-Ugggh!” combo that Saved By the Bell used all the time when somebody kissed, like the canned laughter operator was simultaneously titillated and grossed-out when Slater would mack up on Showgirls.
  • Silvertops and cottonheads. Used to be our old people looked damn-ass old. All elderly men used to agree to slick what was left of their silver hair across their cranium and wear their pants up to their ribs, and ladies got the universally adored thinning white perm and covered it in that old-lady head scarf that, I swear, must have been a government regulation because they all had it. Now, with hair dye, botox, facelifts, walk-in baths, and Viagra, I can't tell a senior from an ugly adult! I don't begrudge people for trying to look younger, god knows I've worn a couple jean jackets and gotten a few pube hi-lites over the years, but after seventy-five, let's say, at least start walking more slowly and applying rouge more liberally. Instead of hiding that inevitability, let's start embracing that shit.
  • Seems to me, people are becoming a little too narcissistic thanks to Facebook these days. I picked five Facebook friends at random, and they each had over 200 photos of themselves. Of themselves! I, too, have over 100 photos of myself on my profile, and those hundred are only the ones I permitted to be tagged in, meaning each one involved me going, “Yeah, that's definitely worthy of posting for the whole world to see. Yeah, look at the way I'm half smiling there, eat it up, ladies!” Ugh. But a few years ago, you got one shot to submit one photo to horornot, and people would judge, on a scale of 1 to 10, whether you were hot or not. I can't remember my exact score, but I was safely in the “not” category. I'm not saying we should all put ourselves in a position to be harshly judged based on a picture of ourselves on the internet, but isn't that what we all do on Facebook anyway?

When it comes down to it, there's more I don't miss about years gone by than stuff I do miss. I don't miss rewinding VHS tapes, Snackwells, or living at my parents' house. But I do miss weekly trips to the video store, low fat food we thought was actually good for us, and my parents.

On Sunday, Jon and I were driving back from visiting friends in Carleton Place, a small town outside of Ottawa. We were listening to some 80's flashback hour on the radio, baking in a hot car, stuck in traffic on the 401. I had a flash of recognition as we passed a familiar turn off. I remembered this exit as being one we took off the 401 when I was a kid, after visiting my grandmother's house, which we did nearly every Sunday. It registered suddenly, with Huey Lewis and the News playing in the background, that this very scenario could have taken place twenty years ago. How many times was our family car stuck on the 401 with 80s soft rock in the background, and what did it mean that this same situation was reoccurring now? Maybe something, probably nothing, but it made me both miss the good old days and look forward to the days ahead. AWWW!

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