My Love Letter to the 80's
It's 2017. I sit here, in front of a computer, at 2:47 in the morning. I'm slightly inebriated (but NOT drunk, mind you!). I just got through watching the 80's classic, "Night of the Creeps". Holy shit, is that a true product of it's generation. The irony is not lost on me, you know. When "Stranger Things" hit Netflix this past year it was a revelation for a generation. It opened a lot of eyes. It made me smile; it didn't open my eyes.
That utterly fantastic series captured the essence of what it was to be vitally alive in the 80's. From the set design (how perfect was that basement for a D&D game??!!!) to the "costumes" to the cars to the bicycles to the neighborhoods it was note perfect. Simply perfect.
I know, I know- every generation venerates the one before while shitting on them. It's true. Millennials show mad props to us "old timers" while singing the praises of their technological marvels. In many respects they couldn't be more right. It's pretty amazing to be able to connect to the rest of THE WHOLE WORLD they way you can nowadays. It's fucking nuts. No shit. There are so many things that people take for granted today that we thought was Science Fiction in the 80's. Read some literature of that era. Watch the TV and the movies. It's kind of laughable in hindsight.
Funny thing about hindsight, though- it makes you feel superior while helping you forget what it was like to live in the last age of wonder. Is that hyperbolic? Not really. I don't think so. Even as a kid in the 80's (I was born in May of 1979) I knew that shit was changing faster than at any other time in American history. Life was speeding by us at breakneck pace, and we were cognizant of it in a way that (arguably) no generation before us was. It was, in a word, beautiful.
We had E.T. We had Stephen King as a driving force for an entire generation in a MAJOR cultural way, changing "literature" forever. We had the slow death of baseball and the emergence of the NFL as a power player (rumblings). We had the Miracle on Ice. We had the rise of stand-up comics like Robin Williams and George Carlin to mainstream prominence. We had Ronald Reagan as the President of the United States (all politics aside he was damned entertaining and underratedly clever). We were the baddest motherfuckers on Earth, and it wasn't questioned, by and large.
We had, bar none, THE BEST DAMN DECADE OF MOVIES. EVER. NO QUESTION. Goonies, Gremlins, the Indiana Jones series, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Lost Boys, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare of Elm Street, Faces of Death, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, STAND BY ME, The Princess Bride, Top Gun, Dirty Dancing, Beetlejuice, The Shining, The Terminator, Aliens, Airplane!, The Karate Kid, Full Metal Jacket, The Outsiders, Coming to America, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc...........................
You're not really going to try and argue that, are you? I didn't think so.
We had Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage!! We had G.I. Joe and He-Man!! We had toy guns that looked exactly like the real thing, and there weren't any pussies bitching about it. We had clearly defined good guys and bad guys. The Russians were the enemies, and Rambo was our savior. We used the night sky and streetlights as an indicator for when to come home. We rode our bikes and did all manner of "dangerous" shit without a second thought. Parents let kids learn their lessons the hard way..........and it worked!
And the music? Don't even fuck with me. Our pop was the best selling shit of all time in a time where you had to go out and actually buy the ENTIRE ALBUM!!! We had Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Cyndi Lauper, & Bon Jovi. We were THE decade for incredible one-hit wonders. We had Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Metallica, Megadeth, & Anthrax!!! We had MTV when they played NOTHING BUT MUSIC!! If you're older than your late 20's then you aren't even aware that was a thing (except as a historical fact). Am I wrong?
How many of you sat up and listened to the radio with a cassette in the boombox to record your favorite songs? I did. How many of you hunkered in front of the VCR (loaded with a fresh, 6-hour, SLP tape) to record the soft-core porn on Skinimax while everyone else was asleep? I did. And don't lie.......it wasn't just me.
Am I nostalgic for the 80's? Unabashedly so. There are so many amazing things about the generation we live in now that blow my fucking mind. Still.........we were the Last Age of Innocence. There was still some mystery left in the world when we were growing up. There were things left to be discovered.
By God, it wasn't a perfect time but it was pretty damn amazing. I suppose you could say the same thing about the other generations, but I feel pretty damn privileged to have been a kid during the most formative decade in American history. We laid the groundwork.
I hope you Millennials appreciate our hard work........even though we had it way better than you little turds.