I loved the 90s even though I never owned a Nintendo Gameboy. My best friend did and I have some memories of a vague 8-bit version of Mario chasing after mushrooms. I dreamt in geometric Tetris blocks once in a blue moon, only in hope. You see, I was never a gamer child because my parents were against it. We didn’t even have a computer in the house until I was about 14, not that we minded much.
But now, I see the side effects to that kind of upbringing. For starters, I go gaga over any technological gadget out there. Granted, pretty much every one does, but my problem goes a step further: I obsess. As I also obsess about the fact that in an alternate universe, I might have been a gamer. So I bought myself a Wii console, because now I pretty much make up the rules of what I can and cannot buy. And just when I was about to give up on it — you can play wii resort and wii party so many times on your own, after all — I discovered Monkey Island. And World of Goo. And and and. And just when I had started to give up on my latent gamer persona theory, BAM! I am now a no-life, addicted fiend.
I’m starting to have my doubts. My parents knew something after all…
It’s not every day that I reminisce of forgotten decades, let alone past centuries, but this flashback is courtesy of the bar below my house that’s currently dishing out tunes that make me feel like I’m in a Now That’s What I Call Music 32 prank I’m not aware of. The repertoire has included such classics as a butchered version of Alanis’ of You Oughta Know and Cher’s tone-deaf version of Walking in Memphis; I’m suddenly a pimply teenager again with a broken sound system rocking to the tunes and dare I say I’m feeling nostalgic.
A quick glance at photos of me at the time confirm that there is no reason to miss the early years of dressing like a boy with oversized t-shirts and shoes that I would rather die than wear today. It’s clear upon re-inspection that awkward arms dangling uncomfortably do little by way of distracting from my big frizzy hair. Were there no hair products at the time? A quick look at the cast of 90210 confirms that the world chose to boycott good looks in the 90s — with the exception of Luke Perry whose waxy do and forehead wrinkles still reeks absolute coolness.
I remember my 3 CD hi-fi as a sacred shrine of trite music, later superseded by my green discman. Ask a kid today about having a hi-fi and wait for the “Don’t you mean wi-fi?” At first, I used to cringe upon the realization that all the kids I teach were born well into the 90s and have no recollection of the decade. Dr Martens might as well be an obscure doctor, not a shoe brand; Screech is most definitely a verb, not a character from Saved By the Bell. Spice who? Why yes, Tamagotchi is probably the new sushi restaurant for advanced pop culture teenagers.
It used to make me feel old, but now I just accept it. Besides, I’m on the lucky side of life and tonight proves it. The music is entirely too loud, but I’m not going to phone in a complaint to the police; I’m just going to sit back and sing along to Meat Loaf’s I’d Lie for you (And that’s the truth) because boy oh boy, that’s what I call music!