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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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Reply Kirsten
12:06 AM on January 17, 2011 
Actually, I've thought of Tatum O'Neal fairly recently because she was married to John McEnroe. And you know what McEnroe means to me.

Also... on the music/nostalgia/tears tip, you got me. But lots of this stuff is pretty boyish. Or maybe there's just an age gap in play.
Reply miahrrhea
6:08 AM on January 20, 2011 
Thank you. You have essentialy summed up my life up till now...I just recently was able to get Mary Stewart Mastersons image out of my mind...failed! And the amount of time that I have watched the "Money for noth'n and the chicks are free" video...Stings down-fall? Long live Dire Straights! By the by...wasnt that the first video played on MTV?
Reply miahrrhea
6:22 AM on January 20, 2011 
You need to tell me how to put a picture to my miahrrhea silhouette. Been trying to figure it out, but with no success. Also, I belive I now have you on my Facebook account, but not sure.
Reply John Sciacca
9:48 AM on January 20, 2011 
miahrrhea says...
Long live Dire Straights! By the by...wasnt that the first video played on MTV?

Pretty sure the FIRST video on MTV was The Buggles "Video Killed the Radio Star." Oh Nina Blackwood and Martha wouldn't bury us in reality programming!
Reply Bill Donovan
11:24 AM on January 20, 2011 
That pretty much nails it, I also find myself sucked back to the past when the 80?s channel on satellite radio has all the old VJ?s on. And yes it was the bungles. I also have fond memories of Alyssa Milano in Commando.
Reply John Sciacca
1:18 PM on January 20, 2011 
Bill Donovan says...
I also have fond memories of Alyssa Milano in Commando.

You could have pretty much just left it at "I also have fond memories of Alyssa Milano" and nailed it for me. I nearly put something about "You watched Who's the Boss because of Alyssa Milano..." but went with Winnie Cooper instead. I also loved Ari Meyers from "Kate and Allie".....
Reply Joe Paone
1:58 PM on January 20, 2011 
Yes, I am 40. Born in April 1970!

Strained driver-side tweeter: Check (in my old Saturn).

Matthew Broderick: Check...although I identified way more with Cameron in FBDO.

Top Gun: Negative. The fact that I never saw this movie or ?Christmas Story? is a source of endless amusement among my peers.

Star Wars: Hell yes, although the new movies ruined the whole thing for me as an adult.

Winnie Cooper: Check.

Reagan, the space shuttle: Double check. Reagan at my house, space shuttle in school. As a Pennsylvanian, another seminal moment was R. Budd Dwyer, the state treasurer, committing suicide at a press conference. Deeply affected everyone I knew.

?Limelight?: Check. Much to my wife?s chagrin.

Walkman: Check.

Computer file to cassette: I skipped right over the Vic-20 to the Commodore 64, which had a gigantic external floppy drive. And I messed around with BASIC programming and primitive BBSes.

Sports car: Negative. Lots of posters of sports players, though!

Pong: But of course. Then Intellivision.

New Wave: Check. Although a lot of it made me run screaming to classic rock at the time. Now I appreciate the good New Wave stuff fully.

Beat It Jacket: The MJ look, right? I was partial to Members Only and army jackets.

John Hughes? death: I still don?t feel he is appreciated enough. Such a sad day when we all learned of his passing.

Mary Lou Retton: America?s sweetheart. Way out of my league! Hey, how about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue!

Dr. Demento: Sadly, he didn?t have a Philadelphia affiliate! But Weird Al ruled.

MTV: I didn?t see MTV until 1987! Believe it or not, Philadelphia didn?t have cable until then. Tiny little company called Comcast showed up at that point. I made up for it by watching NBC?s ?Friday Night Videos? (which had taken my favorite show, SCTV, off the air) and a local UHF show called ?Video Rock? whose theme song was ?I Want Candy? by Bow Wow Wow.

Record stores: I STILL go to these places.

The Force: I preferred to become the Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno-style.

Tatum O?Neal: Total pre-teen dream girl. Totally. Later, Mary Stuart Masterson?s drummer character Watts in Hughes? ?Some Kind of Wonderful?.

Jaws: Freaked everyone out at the beach.


Raw egg: I did this once. My parents freaked out.

Benny Hill: I never found it funny, but I watched it for the buxom women getting their clothes ripped off. That ?Thames? thing at the beginning is so evocative.

Chuck E. Cheese: Even then, I knew to stay away from that place!

VW: That is eerie. I thought I was the only one.

Roger Moore: I remember thinking, this guy and these movies aren?t as great as everyone thinks. Later, I realized they were talking about the Sean Connery movies.

Hit Points: Is that D&D? I never got into it? the people I knew who were into it were so deep into it that it felt like an impenetrable culture.

Space Camp: Totally.

Music and nostalgia: Some of the stupidest songs elicit the deepest emotions, still.

Choose Your Own Adventure: I loved these and I still have some of them!!!

Metal Lunch Box: Star Wars, Six Million Dollar Man and Super Friends, all the way. Thermos included. With lime Hi-C in it.

Steve Austin: See above. I also have the action figure.

Fantasy Island: I loved that show and its universe baffled and intrigued me.

The Crane, wax-on, wax-off: Karate Kid didn?t a big impact on me for whatever reason.

Mix tapes: Spent SO much time on those. It?s not the same doing digital versions of these. I miss the handcrafted love I put into them.
Reply [email protected]
6:49 PM on January 20, 2011 
In two days from now, I can remember where you were and what you were doing and then the journey began.
Reply Barrie McCorkle
5:28 PM on February 8, 2011 
You've pretty much nailed it. Here are a couple more. You've been so immersed in "eye of the tiger" that you could of beat up anyone. You know the origination of "daisy dukes" and know why they are still called that to this day (OMG).
Reply John Sciacca
5:35 PM on February 8, 2011 
Barrie McCorkle says...
You know the origination of "daisy dukes" and know why they are still called that to this day (OMG).

I used to spend Friday nights with my grandmother and we would go into a back bedroom with a bowl of Cheetos and watch the powerhouse duo of Dukes of Hazard and Dallas, with Saturday evenings reserved for Fantasy Island. Ahh, twas a simpler, kinder, gentler time...
Reply Jodie
7:15 PM on February 8, 2011 
You just gave me my smile for the afternoon, John!
Reply Jeremy Sternhagen
11:53 PM on March 15, 2011 
Guilty. On all accounts except Benny Hill. My late night indulgence was Caroline Schlitt/Gilbert Gottfried .. Can you name that show?
Reply Jack
12:42 AM on August 17, 2013 
I think the best thing about 70s and 80s was food actually tasted goooood.
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