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I totally missed out!

I don't know what any of you are talking about...

I was such a nerd.  Definitely not one of the cool kids:
  • I didn't get new video games, see cool movies, or have cable.  
  • I felt really goofy and self-conscious walking into school each morning and a lot of the other kids made fun of me.  
Are these two things related?  Perhaps...probably...OK, yes, they were.  Here are just a few of the things I missed out on.

Back to the Future

I doubt any movie is more revered among baby Gen-Xers.  I had to hear about it secondhand, instead of seeing it.  My friend Tommy had to explain to me how you can go back to the future, three times, before I got it.  I waited years, until we got a VCR, before I could finally see it for myself.  My parents were out, I had the house to myself, and I was finally able to watch Back to the Future.  Try to imagine the excitement of a weird and mostly friendless kid who has never experienced excitement before.  Watching this movie was a turning point for me.  But there were a few parts I didn't understand.  For instance, I had to ask my father what "To be continued" means.

Guess I wasn't one of the smart kids, either.

Now I'd like to take a little timeout to talk about bad words.  They were a big deal in my house.  One Saturday afternoon, around the time that BTTF was in theaters, I was in Toy R Us with my father.  At the end of an aisle, I saw this huge styrofoam airplane, hanging from the ceiling.  I said, "Holy..." I was looking up at the plane, with my jaw dropping.  My father spun around to glare at me.  "Holy what??" he demanded.  I snapped back to reality.  Um, cow?  Toledo?  My mind was racing.  I didn't really have any next word in mind.  "...smokes" is what I said to answer.  I didn't know what the big deal was, because "shit" was definitely not a word that was crossing my mind.

In Back to the Future, there are two utterances of "shit" in the first 15 minutes.  Surely a big deal for me at the time, but I don't remember that.  You know what curse really stuck with me, what line I clearly remember hearing for the first time, all these years later?

"Hey, you, get your damn hands off her!"

I think that's because George said it.  At his moment of transformation to having some confidence and being a hero.  And he was the loser.  And so was I.

Cable TV

I mean, our TV didn't even have a remote control, much less the magic box that would give us like a hundred channels

I didn't know about the cool shows.  Heck, I didn't even know what MTV was!  Occasionally I would see some show at a friend's house, but that was pretty rare because most of the time was spent either playing outside or playing Nintendo.  It's hard to wax philosophic about Inspector Gadget when you've only seen it a few times.  He-Man and the Masters of the Universe portrayed mysterious realms and characters about which I knew exactly zip.  Transformers: more than ever met my eye.

This is my favorite Autobot, he's, um,...he can transform, and, uh,

At least I was able to participate on the playground, which consisted of Gary proclaiming "OK I'm Liono, Andy's Panthro, shakin steak is Grune, and Jeff is Wilykat."  (I do not know the characters' names.  I had to look up the show on Wikipedia to write that.)  And then we would all split up and run around.  I would go down the slide or something, and the other kids might run between the swings, around the see-saw, or through the sandbox.  Then we would reconvene, shout "ThunderCats Ho!" and run off again.

That is how you play ThunderCats.  And to this day, that is all I know about ThunderCats.

Not really sure who this guy is.  Cool hair though.

Heavy metal

Waiting for the school bus, there were two kids at my stop.  The other one was named Mark, and he lived a few blocks away from me.  He was older, and he wore t-shirts of bands like Slayer, Guns 'n' Roses, and Metallica.  I was a total dweeb, and a little bit scared of him.  I didn't know anything about those bands, or any other bands, or how to find out.  I certainly couldn't ask him.  I didn't even listen to music at all until high school.  Shameful!  

Unless you count the folk music and Broadway that my parents played.  (Hint: You do not.)

Mark was also into skateboarding.  Goddammit, why couldn't I be friends with him?  I wish I had got into skating then.  It was so cool.  I wish I could skate now.

This was a common sticker around my town, while I was being a complete DORK

Horror movies

I also remember the other kids talking about Hellraiser, Candyman, and Nightmare on Elm Street.  I think Freddy was cooler than Jason, because they didn't talk about Friday the 13th as much.  But it didn't matter, because I didn't get to see any of this stuff.  One night, I had a friend come for a sleepover, and we went to Video Towne and rented The Toxic Avenger.  We had one TV in the house, and it was in the living room.  We tried to watch the movie while my mother sat on the couch, doing her crossword puzzle and grumbling.  After fifteen minutes of boobs and blood, I couldn't take it any more.  "I don't think you kids should be watching this," over and over and over again.  I gave in and turned it off.  Of course, now I watch all the gore and horror movies.  Nice try, Mom!

I don't see what's so bad about a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength.  
Is it because he's from New Jersey?

My parents aren't even religious, so I don't know where all this stifling lack of permissiveness came from.  But despite their best attempts to ruin me, I somehow came out all right.  Yeah, I'm cool now.  

...kind of.
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pikachulover Posted on Jul 01, 2013 at 06:41 AM

Good article!

I missed out too. I didn't have cable either. I usually watched it at realities houses. They'd put on late 80s Nickelodeon to get me to behave. I misbehaved a lot, but if there was some new show I've never seen before. I'd behave and watch it.

I also was not allowed to watch scary movies. Only those cheesy B-movies. I didn't care after awhile since my friends at school would watch them and complain of having nightmares. I don't care for them as an adult. Although they usually have good special effects.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 19, 2013 at 09:19 AM

The site is what YOU (the user) make of it. If you have a passion and wish to see it represented then it is in your power to (and you are encouraged and rewarded for) change(ing) that.

witchphynix Posted on Jan 19, 2013 at 07:59 AM

I don't get this website, I am confused and bewildered. I'm a product of 80's high school. where's the smurfs and super powers? Or Goldar? And where is Rom?

raptor Posted on Jan 11, 2013 at 06:13 PM

I feel sorry for you missing out on so much stuff

jprc10 Posted on Jan 08, 2013 at 03:57 PM

Nice article.

AceNThaHole Posted on Dec 29, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Nice article man. I feel your pain.

shakin steak Posted on Dec 14, 2012 at 05:09 PM

Oh, I have awful pictures as well, trust me. I only wore sweatpants and t-shirts for years.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 12, 2012 at 04:02 PM

"This is my favorite autobot..." That's awesome. lol

I feel like, while still the nerd, I must have grown up being the anti-shakin steak nerd.

I had my paws into everything that had to do with cultural phenomenons of the day. I have the awful pictures to prove it.

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