For once in my life I’m not blogging about my shitty love life and it’s such a relief. Today however, I will be going into bitter old Grampa mode and raving about how fucking awesome my childhood was aside from the bullying and the doctors visits and some of the shitty teachers. I spent much of my memorial day weekend reliving my childhood, I watched some Rugrats followed by 92′ X-Men, then I spent the afternoon playing a bunch of my old school gaming consoles, some Super Nintendo, some Sega Genesis and to get a bit more obscure, some Sega Saturn, and some Turbo Grafx 16. Some of y’all children might not be familiar with the latter two but as a matter of fact, there are a lot of things that y’all children might not be familiar with because they died with one of the greatest eras of all time. Now what we consider the greatest era of all time may be a matter of perspective, those who lived in the 60s loved it, those who lived the 70s loved it, those who lived in the 80s thought it was pretty lit but there was something special about the 90s that made it one of the more memorable decades in existence. Now, one of the most common questions that I’ve been staring to hear is “Why do 90s children get so nostalgic about their childhood and are bitter about the present?” or “Why are you guys so obsessed with the past?”. A lot of it comes down to simplicity and the magic of infinite possibility, our bitterness as to do with how a glass ceiling that seemed so non existent slowly dropped lower than the assess in a Flo-rida song. Now to give you some perspective of how awesome our childhood was, I gotta take you back to those early years through the younger me.
*Cues 90s style flashback transition*
I was always a very early riser probably because I just didn’t like sleep, I was always a light sleeper but it worked to my advantage. My morning would start with me catching the 6:30 showing of Samurai Pizza Cats, an old school anime very few know of. By 7:00 I’d switch to USA to catch The Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog and watch another adventure. Some times I’d switch to UPN 38 to catch some Megaman. This would be followed by Mummies alive, another extinct show from my childhood. On Fridays they aired Double Dragon whose theme song I still have stuck in my head to this day. At this point I’ve already showered so I would throw on clothes and partake in the Eggo Waffles or French Toast my mother had prepared. Some times it would be fruit loops or cinnamon toast crunch, some times even cookie crisps. After that point it was time to go to school where I would endure either a great day or a shitty one. Once school was wrapped up I’d get home, bang out my home work and proceeded to watch the next round of shows. Now us kids had two options, either Fox which air Power Rangers, The Adventures of Batman and Robbin, The Tick, etc. On UPN 38 you had syndications of Disney Network shows such as Aladdin, Gargoyles, Darkwing Duck, Duck Tales, Tale Spin, Timon and Pumba, etc. When I was done I’d have dinner, have my mother check over my homework or help me with anything I didn’t understand and then I would fulfill my daily reading requirement. After this I’d watch the 7:30 showing of the Simpsons on Fox, some Doug and Rugrats at 8, and then it was off to bed at 9 where I’d get ready to rinse and repeat.
Weekends however were when the fun times started. I’d get up at 6:30 to watch Bobby’s World, back to back episodes of X-Men, The Adventures of Batman and Robbin, Big Bad BeatleBorgs, Power Rangers, Pepper Ann, Brace Face, Recess, and so on, all while downing a Texas size bowl of your favorite sugary cereal. Now in between shows were the barrage of video game and toy commercials you’d use to craft your Christmas lists before taking them to Mom who make you condense a list of 50 things down to 3-5. After the shows were up you’d spend the next several hours of your day playing video games and rotting your brain in front of a Television. From Sonic, to Super Mario, to Street Fighter, Shinobi, Donkey Kong, Contra, Crash Bandicoot, X-Men, Castlevania, Rocket Knight Adventures, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, Road Rash, my God the list was endless. You’d take a break for dinner and then your cousins would come over and you’d play outside followed by playing more video games until 11. At 11 you’d catch Mad TV and then some Tales from the Crypt, afterwards you’d check out for the night. On Sundays, I’d go to church and then we’d either go to an arcade, watch go to the movies, or both.
Those were glorious years, ones full of rapid advances in technology and some of the most memorable toys in existence. The food and drink options were immaculate, Mc Donald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s. Those niche drinks like Surge which was a blatant Mountain Dew ripoff and Sprite Remix which is never coming back. Marketing teams must have made stupid amounts of money because those commercials and jingles were catchy as fuck! Even as I’m writing this post, a bunch of these jingles have been popping into my head. The music man, that stuff was the stuff of dreams. Each era had been known for a distinct sound, the 60s where about the soft/folk rock, 70s was about the hard rock, disco, the beginnings of heavy metal and the beginnings of synth pop, the 80s where dominated by multiple subgenres of rock and metal along with the emergence of electronic music. The 90s however are where things get interesting, all of that music converged together to create several iconic sounds that would give rise to the sounds we all know and love. It would also be the basis for a lot of the music we know today. Back in the day you’d kill to be near a radio because the music was lit harder than multi alarm fires, that shit was more electrical than your hair drier in a full tub of water. That music was so awesome that in my senior year of college, I downloaded almost every single Billboard 100 from every decade just so I could relive those years musically.
Those were some glorious years and the year 2000 had tons of promise. The year 2000 felt like a step up while still retaining the charm of the 90s. Year 2001 also seemed promising but on September 11th 2001, we all had to grow the fuck up and face a reality none of us had ever known. It all happened so fast man, those planes hit and then Bush declared war. While we tried to make it all feel like home, it felt as if all of the possibility and magic we conjured up during the 90s was starting to slip away. We were growing up way too fast and there was no way to stop it. We just wanted it to stop, we just wanted to wake up back in our bedrooms to the sound of Megaman or Double Dragon, we just wanted the nightmare to end but, this nightmare was our new reality. Two wars and billions of dollars later, things were going to shit all around us. My own personal life started to go to shit in those years before both would slowly make a recovery.
A lot has changed in twenty years and sometimes not for good. The quality of the cartoons has gotten shittier and they don’t even show good cartoons on Saturday mornings. A bunch of new regulations forced the main networks to show a certain amount of hours of educational programing in order to continue receiving federal funding but because they don’t want to interfere with their own programing, it all got pushed to Saturday. There are still networks that show Saturday morning cartoons but, that’s only if you’re willing to pay up the ass for cable which I don’t recommend unless you’re obsessed with sports. Due to other health regulations, the cereal we always knew and loved got ruined by the subtraction of several sugary components and replace with healthy components like fiber. There are still a few good cartoons out there if you’re willing to again, pay up the ass for cable. I used to love getting up early but these days, I’m one sound of that alarm away from throwing my phone across the room. I’m usually lucky if I have time to eat breakfast and usually leave my house on an empty stomach. The video games got larger, sometimes too large for my own adult life. When we were kids we dreamed of bigger games that seemed endless because we had all the time in the world. Now I just wish the games were simpler, not in the sense of difficulty but in scale. The radio? I seldom turn on the radio and if I do it’s to listen to talk radio. To put it bluntly, today’s music sucks! Today’s music is the sort of thing you find in the toilet after a night of bad tacos or drunken Chinese food. Some days I just want to go back to a time where everything was simple where I didn’t have to worry about my loans or, paying bills or, whether or not I’m going to meet my soulmate or, whether or not what I’m eating is of nutritional value. We long for our childhood because we long for the magic and the simplicity, we long for the years where everything made sense. We dreamed of growing up so that we could do whatever we wanted and now I wish my decisions consisted of whether I was going to eat Apple Jacks or Fruit Loops instead of “Am I gonna spend $60 on a video game or am I gonna save my money for social outings?”.
Though the past is behind us, my love for my childhood still lives on in the video games I still play, the music I still listen to, and the costumes I wear to every PAX East Expo.
Stay classy folks…