After writing a recent post on 15 things I’d never know if I weren’t a Gen Xer, I came to realize that as a child of the 80s, I’m some kind of Generation X genius. I mean, I could be the “Rain Man” of the Gen X set. Seriously, throw some quotes on the floor, I’ll tell you who said them. OK, that test may not work as well as it does with toothpicks in the movie.
But I now see that I’m somewhat stuck in the ’80s, and I kinda like it there. So I thought I’d share some of the most random stuff I remember as a Gen X poster child.
1. Being fairly certain you would one day marry: Scott Baio, Shawn Cassidy, Leif Garrett, River Phoenix, one of the Coreys, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Jason Bateman, Kirk Cameron, Matt Dillon, Ricky Schroder, or Tom Cruise.
2. Jumping on the eyes of the alligator with Pit Fall Harry.
3. Thinking Flash Gordon had the best special effects ever.
4. That coffee-flavored sucking candy all elderly people had (before anything coffee flavored was cool).
5. The random Super Friends like the Apache Chief, Gleek, and Samurai.
6. Screaming, “Oh my God, the girl in Sleepaway Camp has a penis!”
7. What kind of G-news Gary Gnu shared.
8. Having an actual family discussion about whether to get a VHS or a Betamax.
9. Later having the same discussion about Atari and Coleco.
10. Kermit’s nephew Robin.
11. Asking Santa for Fashion Plates, Donny & Marie Barbies, 2XL, Transformers, a Speak n’ Spell, Barbie’s Townhouse with the yellow elevator, and Weeble Wobbles.
12. Yuck Mouth, Interplanet Janet, Time for Timer, “One to Grow On.”
13. Seeing Alanis Morissette pop out of a locker to tell a joke in a mainstream show (ironic?).
14. Archie Bunker’s Grandson doll, Joey, which was anatomically correct. (Am I the only one who had this?)
15. Being on a wait list for a Cabbage Patch Kid and not even being able to pick the one you wanted (bonus points if you remember its name — mine was Mitzy Shirley and she had the dreaded short curly hair).
16. The shirtless volleyball scene — need I name the movie?
17. Seeing Eddie Murphy in a hot tub, a Gumby costume, or a Buckwheat wig.
18. Being able to recite (word for word) Airplane, Stand by Me, Grease, and anything by John Hughes.
19. Believing you would one day make your own pink prom dress and wanting a friend like Duckie.
20. Wishing to be the ninth kid on Eight Is Enough.
21. Knowing all the words to theme songs like: The Facts of Life, Silver Spoons, WKRP, Punky Brewster, and Different Strokes.
22. Ed Grimly’s favorite talk show host and the instrument he played.
23. Thinking life as an adult was like Dallas or Dynasty and wondering why your parents weren’t cool like that.
24. Mork’s grown son, Mearth (extra points if you knew he was played by Jonathan Winters).
25. Saying “And stop calling me Shirley!” any chance you got.
26. The floor of your closet having one or all of these: Reebok high tops, Tretorns, K-Swiss, Keds, shoe boots, Justins, Dan Posts, Doc Martens.
25. That only Big Bird used to be able to see Snuffleupagus.
26. The yellow waterproof Walkman you desperately wanted.
27. Being willing to fight to the death over the claim that Joey McIntyre was the cutest New Kid on the Block.
28. Getting excited to see Trolley on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, because you knew what that meant.
29. Screw Captain Kangaroo, who remembers Mr. Green Jeans?
30. That He-Man and Battle Cat were known as Adam and Cringer when they were in their everyday clothes.
31. Those Mr. Yuck stickers our parents stuck on toxic things around the house, which amounted to their highly questionable version of baby-proofing.
32. Being able to spend the entire day outside with no way for your parents to contact you (and that being OK).
33. “Menahmenah, doo-doo da-doo-doo.”
34. Going to a drive-in. (My first was Thank God It’s Friday. What were my parents thinking?)
35. Having to get up to turn the television channel or adjust the bunny ears.
36. Being able to pass a test strictly based on the knowledge you gained from Schoolhouse Rock.
37. Roller skating to anything by Journey, Chicago, Boston, Foreigner, or Air Supply.
38. Finding any guy whose family had a Trans-Am or its cousin, the Firebird, to be the hottest guy ever — bonus if he had a mullet.
39. Getting Troll dolls out of vending machines.
40. Getting a perm whether your hair was curly or not — and trying to mask the rotten egg smell with Aussie Scrunch Spray.
41. That orange (not blond) color Sun-In turned your hair, (unless you were already blond and clearly didn’t need it).
42. The exact moment DJs became VJs.
43. Spending countless hours playing Super Breakout, Missile Command, Adventure, Kaboom, and later Super Mario, Paper Boy, Punch-Out, BurgerTime, and Zelda.
44. Being able to picture Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, and Polly Pocket before they got all slutty-looking.
45. Having a closet that included Farlows, EGs, ID number shirts, CP Shades, oversized Champion sweatshirts in day-glo colors, Guess jeans, Polos and iZods with the collars turned up, parachute pants, Jams, Skidz, velour, men’s boxers, OP shorts, Z Cavaricci pants, and Gasoline jeans with conductor stripes on one side.
46. Pac-Man the animated series and Rubic the Amazing Cube.
47. Being pretty sure you could moonwalk almost as well as Michael Jackson.
48. Knowing that puffy stickers, fuzzy stickers, or stickers with gel in them were way more valuable than flat ones, even if they were scratch-and-sniff.
49. Being a latchkey kid.
50. Liking Hello Kitty before it was considered retro.
It’s funny. Though I’ve managed to store all this ’80s knowledge, I can’t seem to remember doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher meetings, or what I had for breakfast. I’m thinking my wealth of useless childhood trivia is somehow taking up the space reserved for that stuff. You too?
Test me … What is the most random thing you remember from the ’80s?
This post was first printed at my column for TheStir
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