A lot of people believe that kids today are super lucky and spoiled with all of the technology that surrounds them, and they would be sort of correct because 5 year olds now have cell phones and iPods and laptops and whatever other techy devices they can get their Cheeto-infested hands on (in fact, Shannanigans was just telling me about a two year old she knows who can fully work her iPod to play Dora episodes on her own), but let me tell you all something: the technology today? Psssh. I’ve seen better. Growing up when I did was AWESOME because of all of the technology to which my generation was exposed.
Think Oregon Trail. The entire class fighting over the one Macintosh or Packard Bell in the entire school, which was rolled in on a cart for computer time, and we all lined up single file waiting for one thing: a wagon headed west.
Ok, so this picture may need some explanation. Here it is:
From left to right are the kids I remember from this class:
Michael, who thought he was my boyfriend because he would follow me around the playground at recess and sit by me at lunch (which I thought was cool because he would share his fruit roll ups with me).
Jerome, who was most likely my boyfriend because he had light-up sneakers and a bad ass haircut with the Nike “Swoosh” symbol shaved into the back.
Kayla, who peed her pants in front of the entire class one day.
Aaaaand then there’s me, who could be found wearing one red shoe and one blue shoe because I wanted to be just like Punky Brewster, and also because I had absolutely no fashion sense. In fact, if you asked me what the word “fashion” meant, I probably would have told you that it was what you did when you didn’t have the right tool for a job… you’d “fashion” a new one. I guess that’s what you get when you like to play in the garage with your Daddy.
Plus, I had bigger things to worry about than keeping up with the early 90’s trends anyway, like chasing the cute boys around the playground and teaching the girls that “C-r-a-y-o-l-a” is not how you spell the word “crayon” (which, my dearest friends, was supposed to be my “initiation question” into the most kick ass girl gang around in the third grade, but I, even at this young and innocent age, have always been a stickler for grammar and promptly informed the leader of said “gang” that she was dumb and should have been held back because she didn’t know the difference between a noun and a proper noun. Guess who became the new leader? Moi. That’s right. And my new recruits had to complete an obstacle course involving multiple cartwheels. Yay for physical fitness, am I right? Or maybe I just liked how doing a bunch of cartwheels in a row made me feel so dizzy…)
Back to the original topic…
Technically speaking, Oregon Trail was my shit. There was something magical about virtually packing an Amish wagon full of supplies and strapping it to some oxen, and then watching it slowly move from the right side of the computer screen to the left, which made each of our hearts pound with green and black pixilated excitement.
Good luck surviving that.
“Ohhhh… but if I bring the banker I get more money to spend” (said aloud in my whiny child voice, which I do so well).
Then there was Nintendo. My mom bought me a used SuperNintendo with a shitload of games that is still one of my favorite toys of my childhood. Why I ever sold that baby for a PS2, I'll never understand. I mean, really. Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt, simple car racing without having to be a part of some underground and completely illegal business involving murder and grand theft auto, baseball where all the players look the same, and the best part: four easy to remember buttons. Plus, that thing never broke! If ever there was a problem, all I had to do was blow on it and everything was fixed! With these newfangled gaming systems they tell me I have to spend as much money to fix it as I do to buy a new one.
Then there were the crazy fads that we all loved so dearly for about two minutes:
TalkGirl Recorders, which I looooooved to leave turned on in my desk and see if I could catch boys talking about me when I wasn’t listening. I don’t think I ever really heard anything when I played it back.
GigaPets, which were fun for all of Christmas break, until we had to go back to school and weren’t allowed to play with them during class so my GigaPets repeatedly died. A small child can only take so much virtual pet-death before they become frustrated with starting over and promptly leave the stupid thing somewhere and forget about it (until 10-15 years later when they decide to write a blog about it… I miss you, Poopsie).
And, of course, there was Zack Morris and his sexy cell phone. That has “amazing technology” written all over it.
Hmm… what else was there?
Not Furbys. Those things are creepy!
Oh, and I almost forgot one more thing about my childhood: playing outside was cool.