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Ode to the Nineties

Joey Dywer '13, Contributor

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Whether you can consciously remember your childhood or not, the 1990s was a great time to be alive, culturally. This, in my opinion, was when many of the late greats existed, in music, in television, and in the world. Sure there were the normal doubts and troubles that plague the modern world today, war, disease, poverty among only a few major issues, but overall, for wealthier and affluent countries, such as the United States, the 1990s was what we would call a “gold mine.” Some of the greatest inventions had been mere sketches on blackboards, that’s right, BLACKBOARDS. Despite the punishment of cleaning off the erasers after a poor performance/behavior in the classroom (to which I was subject to for multiple reasons in my rabble-rousing days), blackboards always have brought back a nostalgic sense to my mind. Whenever I see chalk, I imagine the days when hopscotch dominated entire neighborhoods and kids did not drive cars, they walked and biked everywhere.

The “Double-O” kids, (or whatever they call themselves) are completely spoiled in my opinion. Back in the day, whether it was because my upbringing was different or not, I had a small amount of toys to play with. The usual repertoire for my neighborhood consisted of four pieces of chalk (if we were lucky), a jump rope, a RUBBER red kick ball (none of this plastic stuff), and something that we’d like to call “imagination” (ironic that the clip is from the 00’s). This younger half of our generation, in my opinion, is absolutely tarnishing the idea of a childhood, where one connects with the outside world, makes new friends, colors (the kindergarten curriculum, if you will).

What little money and material possessions we had used to define us. Now, you seem to always be “out of the loop” if you DON’T own everything companies such as Apple are shoving down our throats. These products, do not get me wrong, are very helpful resources. I understand the capabilities of the iPad, and how at one touch I can have thousands of books and web addresses at my disposal….not to mention Facebook, Twitter, ESPN Fantasy Football, and ten quadrillion other distractions. But what upsets me the most is how although we possess and can easily attain technology that can connect us to people on the other side of the planet, the latter half of our generation is becoming increasingly dis-connected, rather than what is advertised. It seems that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, who value people as simply a “friend” or a “follower” seem to be deteriorating our society. I hear freshmen, sophomores, and even the upperclassmen still asking “How many friends do you have? How many followers do you have? How many views on your Tumblr, Four-Square, (insert other social networking site here).” Frankly, I’m sick of it. If we only treat these people with the amount of respect Facebook and Twitter views them as, an internet connection, then that’s all that they’ll ever be.

Instead, I propose that we must learn to live without this technology, and get back to the basics. You find friends by doing activities outside of your own home. You used to be able to make friends by sharing crayons, telling jokes, participating in similar sports/co-curriculars, and even just by striking up some friendly banter with that random person in the back of the classroom. Some of my best friends I never would have met had it not been for me DOING things.

This is why I want to return to the 90s. I only wish to go back to the days where the Internet was just something grown-ups used to do work, and the summer days that kids just used to go outside and play until the street lights came on. I miss the days when we all used to have funny nursery rhymes, where we played tackle football, where “Hey Arnold!,” “Rugrats,” “KABLAM!” and “Rocket Power” was primetime television. Oh, the nostalgia! How I miss the 90s!

The problem with future generations is that they’ll never experience the comedy gold that we experienced in movies like PIXAR’s “Toy Story,” they will never know who Tupac or the Notorious B.I.G. was, they will never be able to comprehend what a cassette tape is, and they sure as hell will never understand what it meant to play Nintendo 64. The days when Mario was hopelessly trying to save Princess Peach, the days when four square dominated our playgrounds, the days where milk came in the small cardboard cartons, and smashing them over your head like a fraternity pledge does in the movie “Animal House” proved your dominance, were all aspects of our childhood that you will look back and say “Those were the glory days.”

We always hear the stereotypical grandparent who hollers, “When I was a kid, a nickel would buy me a loaf of bread, two gallons of milk, a movie ticket…(obscene amount of other miscellaneous objects), and we just used to talk to each other through two tin cans and a string.” At first, I just shrugged and chuckled suggestions such as these off. But as we grow older and are becoming more dependent on technology, has anyone even stopped and said, “Let’s just go back?” I personally wish to do so.

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Ode to the Nineties