Past To The Future
11.11.2002 by , every Monday.
Recently, I found myself up in my attic, going through some old things of mine.
Actually, I could probably have phrased that better. The term “found myself” is really best used in horror and suspense novels:
“Bernie found himself standing over another dead hooker. He didn't remember how he got there, but he knew the cops would have a lot of questions about the bloody stapler in his hand.”
Recently, I was in my attic, going through some of my childhood relics. Things it seems I had played with only yesterday, thick with dust and faded from age. Oddly, though, that wasn't what was making me feel old. It was finding my old “He-Man” doll- er- Action Figures.
I came to a realization as I stood there, looking into He-Man's three eyes. (The third eye was really just a hole from where Skeletor had driven a nail into his head near the end of his career.) And that realization was that “retro” had finally caught up to me.
Retro has always been a large part of society. Archaeologists have recently deciphered hieroglyphics in several tombs on the Valley of the Kings that depict a sudden wave of “Sumeria-mania” sweeping their society, sparking a wave of cuneiform classes and dressing their cats up as Sumerian gods, among other things. Soon after that, they were invaded.
Retro was common in Europe, as well. Nostalgia was common in the Middle Ages:
Peasant 1: Remember twenty years ago, when only half the town died of the plague?
Peasant 3: Those were the days. Now help me throw Peasant 2's rat-gnawed corpse onto the cart.
And in the 1700's:
Frenchman 1: Zounds, Frenchman Two! Remember zee twenty years ago, when our land, she had zee monarch?
Frenchman 2: Oui, Frenchman 1. Zen, we cut off his head.
Frenchman 1: Let us remember thees by making zee commemorative plates.
Frenchman 2: Zen, we shall never bathe again.
Frenchman 3: When did we get thees ridiculous accents?
It is worth noting here that Europe was frequently invaded.
Finally, we inevitably come to America, or as we Americans like to call it, “The only nation that matters.” Retro has been big here since about the sixties, when the whiny selfish egocentric brats known to themselves as “the baby boomers” got old enough to be nostalgic. My only consolation is that in ten years they'll be going into homes, and maybe some sane people can take over.
Boomer 1: Remember when I went to Woodstock?
Boomer 2: No. I just met you.
Boomer 1: Hey, we're talking about me here!
And now, the twenty-year cycle of retro has caught up to a time that I can remember, and it creeps me the hell out. Favorites from my childhood like He-Man, Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Jem (I was a troubled child) are all being reborn, usually courtesy of one of the grown-up kids who loved the original. And of course, there is no sign of this stopping. In twenty years, the early 2000s will be a hot property. Get ready for these classics:
Pokemon: The Thirtysomething Years
Harry Potter Throws Out His Back
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to pick through the ashes of my childhood.