If you’re my age (by which I mean POSITIVELY ANCIENT) then you remember mix tapes. If you’re under the age of dinosaur, then you’re probably going, WTF? (You know, back in my day, we didn’t have the saying WTF. I don’t even remember what we said. Maybe Ye Gods or Gadzooks.)
Back when I was knee high to a grasshopper we didn’t have MP3s. Or even CDs. We had cassette tapes. When you went into a music store, you bought a cassette tape, not a CD. Or, if you were super-thrifty, you bought blank cassettes and listened to the radio. When an awesome song was on, you hit record. Not too early, or you had the announcer’s voice. Not too late, or you missed the first notes of the song. And you couldn’t go ANYWHERE because you had to press stop before you got the announcer’s annoying voice again.
As a result, the music of my youth involved lots of clicks and glitches. But it was next to free, so it was all good. I really cleaned up during the year end countdowns; New Year’s involved sitting in front of my tape player, waiting for Number 1.
So what other things have changed in my lifetime?
My Waist – Back when I was 7, I had a model’s waist. True story! Now… not so much.
Pre-Debit Banking – When I was an early teen, I opened my very first account and actually got a BANK BOOK. You went to the bank and got it updated instead of logging online to see how many pennies were in your account (or if your direct deposit went in at midnight). We used cheques. Not debit cards. Cheques. And when you went shopping, you always double-checked to make sure they had Interac because it was so rare, only a few places had it.
No Helmet Biking – My parents were pretty careful with us. You know, turning in the pot handles, not letting us play with matches, etc. But when I was young, we biked without helmets. I was still in mid-elementary school, I think, when health people started promoting helmets as a way to keep your noggin from getting hurt. Now you do NOTHING without helmets. (Oh, the influences of the Nanny state… )
Babies on Laps – Nowadays, you’d get hung if you let a baby go in a car without the proper seat but there were a few times I drove in the car on someone’s lap. True story. It ended when a motorcycle hit my parents’ car. I was a’ight though. My tongue was not. Lesson learned. From then on, ol’ Julie went in a baby seat. (This is one way in which the Nanny state was spot on. Come to think of it, helmets are pretty groovy too.)
Catch Phrases – Catch phrases can’t stay the same. Fair enough. After all, they wouldn’t be cool any more. But I can still remember saying the following:
- “That was mint.”
- “Like, whatever!”
- “You’re cool. Not.”
- “Did I do that?” <—– needs to be said in geeky Urkel voice
- “I’ll be back.” <—— needs to be said in cool Austrian accent
- “Shawiiiing!” (Just creepy that I said it when I was young.)
Neon – I don’t look good in neon yellow, neon pink, neon orange, or neon green, but you can bet that when I was in elementary school, I wore EVERYTHING in neon. Remember those black sunglasses with neon arms? Had those. Neon shirts, neon sneakers. I think I know where my high school love of black came from…
Little Girls Dressed Like Little Girls – When I was a little girl, I dressed like a little girl. I didn’t wear make up until I hit the big school. Nowadays, with the hypersexualization of our young folk, little girls are more apt to be wearing miniatures of adult clothes. As a child, I wore pigtails and frills and Mary Janes. I still wear the Mary Janes. (Frills just make me look fat.)
Clothes – Okay, so these change too. But some of the trends I’ve worn are unusual to say the least. The following trends I have, um, followed:
- fanny packs
- stretch stirrup pants
- army boots with beaded safety pins
- overalls with one strap undone
- silk button up shirts
- duckies (not shoes, not boots but something in between)
Soap – You’re thinking, soap is soap, right? Well, back when I was in high school, someone thought we needed more liquid soap, so they started marketing body wash and bath poufs. And now there’s as many body washes as there are soaps. If you ask me, “body wash” is really the same thing as “foam bath” except for the marketing. (In other words, I buy it.)
McDonalds pizza – There was a time when McDonalds made pizza. And it was pretty darn good. As a kid, I loved having the option of something other than a Big Mac or McNuggets. Even now, I wish they still had the pizza to go along with their awesome Caesar salad. Kids, you missed out. I can’t even describe McDonalds pizza and do it justice.
Pay Phones – I don’t think you could find a pay phone in the country to save your life. Literally. When I was little, and you needed to be picked up, you didn’t call someone on your cell phone. You found a quarter and called someone who cared. I mean, even Springfield and New Germany each had a payphone. (Though if you were really lucky, someone might come along with a bag phone!)
Word Processing – I didn’t have my first word processing computer until I was in high school. It had an orange and black screen, and I printed everything off on a dot matrix printer. Before then, I used a typewriter. I thought I was a millionaire when I finally got my own Smith Corona with self-correcting ribbon (though the imprint of the letters was always there, no matter how many times you corrected it). I still have it. Do I use it? No. Will I ever throw it away? NEVER.
Well, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this meander down memory lane. Now to get my Minard’s Liniment.