All month long we’ve been looking back at the 80’s here on Mega Dads. Remembering the games and the culture that shaped our childhoods. And while it’s fun to look back on the good old days of our youth for the sake of nostalgia, it’s also a way for us to travel back in time. Even if it’s for just a few moments.
Adult life is full of things to worry about. Will I be able to make rent next month? Does Gertrude from accounting like my new haircut? What’s up with this weird mole on my neck? But when you’re a kid you don’t know all of the ways in which the universe is conspiring against you. Growing up in the 80’s my biggest concerns were things like: Do I have enough quarters to beat the Ninja Turtles game at the arcade? Will I be able to get ALL the Tiger Force G.I.Joe figures? Will I oversleep and miss the new episode of Captain Power! And going back to those things that you loved growing up can make you feel like a kid again.
If I play a game like Super Mario Bros. today, I’m instantly brought back to standing in the aisles of our neighborhood video store. I can picture the layout of the store exactly. I can see the games section near the front of the store, the sports section up the steps where we would rent old Wrestlemania videos, and the horror section next to it where we would try and convince our mom that Ghoulies wasn’t really that scary and we were old enough to see it (which totally worked). That building was bulldozed years ago but I can see it clear as day in my mind.
When I hear a song like The Final Countdown or Talk Dirty to Me, I’m instantly sitting on the floor of Adam’s bedroom with him. Trying to “edit” together a cassette tape from the songs that we managed to record off of the radio. Trying to trim the beginning of the song so that we cut out the DJ talking over the beginning of it. And trying to time it just right to squeeze every minute of recording time from each side of the cassette, then getting upset when we ran out of tape RIGHT before the song ended.
And when I see a show on TV like The Dukes of Hazzard I remember my Dad, lying on the couch in the Sun Room (probably in his underwear) as we kids sat on the floor next to him as close as we could get to the screen. Waiting for the General Lee to do it’s next big stunt and wondering if Boss Hogg would ever catch those damn Duke boys. There weren’t as many memories of my Dad after that so those are some of my most precious ones.
As I approach my 40’s (oh dear god) those memories become a little fuzzier and a little more distant, but the ones that remain and are still vivid are priceless. They’re windows into another time when things were innocent and simple and I really didn’t give a crap about things like gas prices.But even though those care free days may be gone for me, I can relive them through the eyes of my kids. Watching them worry about things like what to be for Halloween or who gets to pick the next cartoon on Netflix. Watching them in the same way that I suppose my Mom and Dad watched me.