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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Born around 1970? Here's stuff I know about you...

Posted on January 16, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Yesterday was our return trip from Alabama which meant another 10 hour grueler in the car. Thank the Jobs for my iPod, which provided a nonstop supply of music for our travels. When you’ve got nearly 9000 songs to randomize from, there is always something new and interesting to listen to. (Though I’ve started noticing some strain from the driver side tweeter which, now heard, is impossible for me to unhear. Grrr!) So, about 2 hours into the ride, a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers came on called “Road Trippin.”

 

The lyrics were so appropriate for my day/journey, that I thought I’d share:

 

“Road trippin' with my two favorite allies. Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies. It's time to leave this town. It's time to steal away. Let's go get lost. Anywhere in the USA. Let's go get lost...”

 

When you are using my spiteful GPS, it is quite possible to end up getting lost – or at least significantly detoured – and end up nearly anywhere.

 

Anyhow, on to the story part of today’s missive. So, on long drives, as I’m sitting there in my near vegetative, trance-like driving state, I attain a certain Zen. I’m watching the long road unspool out before me, I’m noting the other cars around me, I’m hearing the music from the iPod – including that damn tweeter strain – and the chatter going on between my two favorite allies, Dana and Lauryn , but my mind is…wandering. Long drives are really some of the best times for me to come up with ideas – many worthless, a few interesting, and occasionally something brilliant. (PS: I’m not saying this is one of the brilliant ones, by the way.)

 

So, while I’m driving yesterday, I started mind-wandering about the shared consciousness that people in my particular age group share. There was something unifying and generationally bonding about growing up – spending your teens – in the 80s. Sure, you know a lot about me from reading this, but I think I know a lot about you as well. I was born in 1970 – you can to the math... – and if you were a male (and in some cases a female) born plus or minus a couple of years from there, I already know a LOT about you. And it doesn’t matter if you’re from Alabama, Alaska or Abilene; whether people saw you in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions, as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess or a criminal; being born in/about 1970 has bonded us like multi-tuplets separated at birth. Sure, I don’t know your favorite color, or the name of your first crush or all of your secret shames, or even what you look like. But that doesn’t matter. Here are some things I DO know about you:

 

Twice in your life, you have wished that you could be Matthew Broderick. First was after you saw War Games. His triple threat of computer hacking mastery, outsmarting the WOPR and scoring Ally Sheedy made him a legend. Second was after you saw Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. His master of EVERYTHING, knowledge of French food and owning snooty maitre d’s, Ferraris and float singing and scoring Mia Sara made him a God.

 

You walked out of Top Gun thinking you had just seen one of the coolest movies ever. (This would fade with time, though you still remember it fondly.) You’ve used the “I have a need; a need for speed” line and thought that watching four sweaty, shirtless (well three shirtless and Goose), oiled-up guys playing beach volleyball to the anthem “Playing with the boys” was totally cool and not the least bit the homo-gay.

 

You can remember the first time you saw Star Wars. And it was awesome. You can remember standing in a line that stretched around the theater for a couple of hours to see Jedi. And, verily, it too was awesome.

 

If I say, “I had a crush on Winnie Cooper,” you’ll know who I’m talking about. And probably agree.

 

You’ll remember where you were when you heard that President Reagan was shot. You’ll remember what you were doing when you heard that the Space Shuttle blew up. And you probably watched it happen while you were at school.

 

When you hear the opening guitar lick from Rush’s “Limelight,” you’ll temporarily stop what you’re doing and likely be powerless from being able to keep yourself from saying, “Oh, man! I love this song!”

 

The first piece of technology you owned was probably a Sony Walkman. And you always had some spare double-A’s on hand.

 

You’ve saved a computer file to an audio cassette. You’ve used an ACTUAL floppy disk. And you probably remember what Load “*”, 8, 1 means.

 

You had a poster in your room of a sports car. Probably a Lamborghini Countach. Probably a red or black one. Or a DeLorean. You know, in stainless steel.

 

You not only know what Pong is, you’ve played it. For hours.

 

When I say, “I like New Wave music” you don’t need me to explain what New Wave is or that it hasn’t been “new” for over 20 years or what kind of music it describes.

 

You know what a “Beat It jacket” looks like. And you probably had a kid in your school that had one. (If it was you, that’s OK. You can admit it; you’re amongst friends here.)

 

You probably felt like you lost a bit of yourself the day that John Hughes died.

 

You had a temporary, Olympic-games-of-84 crush on Mary-Lou Retton. And when she flashed her smile at the camera, you smiled back.

 

At some point, you stayed up late to listen to Dr. Demento on the radio. And you still appreciate Weird Al’s unique brand of genius.

 

You can remember when MTV first started broadcasting. And the “M” actually meant they played music and it was cool. And you can remember looking at the schedule to see when the Thriller video would be playing again. And waiting to watch it for the umpteenth time.

 

You can remember when “going to the record store” meant going to a place that *actually* sold records.

 

You have actually contemplated what it would be like to have the Force and have thought about using your Force powers on people. Or owning a lightsaber. Or, more likely, both.

 

You haven't thought about her in years, but given the chance, you would have married Tatum O’Neal straight out of The Bad News Bears. She was the perfect Tom Boy; ultra cute, could throw a curve ball that broke two feet and encapsulated everything that you thought a girl should be...when you were 6.

 

You know better than to make Jaws jokes before going swimming in the ocean.

 

If I said “Yow! That’s not fair, givin’ a guy a shot down there...” or “So I unpacked my adjectives...” or “Conjuncion Junction, what’s your function” you’d know exactly what I was talking about. It’s also possible that you watched TV an entire Saturday morning waiting for them to recite the Preamble.

 

You have tried to drink a raw egg while humming, “Getting strong now...”

 

You have snuck out of bed to watch The Benny Hill Show. You didn’t entirely understand why it was funny, but it was on after midnight, you weren’t supposed to be watching it, and sometimes people got their clothes ripped off. So it was awesome.

 

There was a time when the greatest night out you could possibly imagine would have been an evening at Chuck E Cheese with a 30-free-tokens-with-large-pizza-purchase coupon.

 

You’ve had a crush on a girl that drove a VW.

 

Whether he’s your favorite or not, when you hear “James Bond,” your mind immediately flashes to an image of Roger Moore.

 

You have played a game that involves dice and some form of Hit Points.

 

There was a time when you would have gladly given a kidney in exchange for a summer at Space Camp.

 

Music is an unbelievably imporant part of your life and can instantly transport you fully and completely back to specific moments in your life. There are times when you'll hear a song that is so painfully nostalgic, you think you might cry.

 

There was a period in your life where the height of literary excellence involved Choosing Your Own Adventure. Turn to page 32 if you want to explore the Cave of Time or Turn to page 83 if you want to take a Journey Under the Sea.

 

You took a metal lunch box to school that either had Star Wars, a super hero or Even Knievel on it. With a matching thermos inside.

 

You appreciate that Steve Austin was the original bad ass. They could rebuild him. They had the technology. They had the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin WAS that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster...

 

Your dream vacation at one point might have included visiting an island where you are greeted by a midget and impeccably mannered host in matching white suits reminding his staff, “Smiles, everyone...smiles!”

 

You have practiced The Crane technique. And waxed-on, waxed-off.

 

You have made someone an "Ultimate Mix Tape" that was able to fully express thoughts, feelings and emotions that you were otherwise unable to say for yourself.

 

So, am I right? Do I know you as well as I thought? Comments, people, comments...

Categories: January 2011

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