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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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« Notable Moments in Exceptional Parenting, part 64 | Main | Happy 2009! Ow. »
Monday
Jan052009

Prepare to be shocked, youngsters.

Here’s how old I am:

I remember when Banana Republic sold nothing but faux-safari clothing.

In college, my boyfriend was a computer science major, and I witnessed a rudimentary form of instant messaging between him and another student, someone not even in the room. I thought it was some kind of black magic.

I grew up believing that Charles Nelson Reilly and Paul Lynde were skirt-chasing bachelors.

My first job out of college? I used a manual typewriter. Which may be why I quit after one and a half days.

The television I had growing up was made out of rock, and it was powered by a pterosaur.

Your turn.

Reader Comments (254)

I learned to type on a manual typewriter. My second grade teacher thought the bicentennial celebrations were a moment in history that we absolutely shouldn't miss.I loved Match Game! And Charles Nelson Reilly was the most interesting guy on it!
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentera
My mother making this gelatine solid thing in a tray that she then used to make carbon copies of her Girls Brigade (scouts?) newsletters.

My first boss banning computer mice as he believed they were only used for games.

Remember when the only people who wore ear bud things were listening to transitor radios either to keep up with the cricket or because they were trying to drown out the voices in their heads.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather G
We had a party line.

Our first VCR weighed 100 pounds and looked like a cassette player on 'roids, and you could only record a show while you watched it.

Wizard of Oz was only on once a year.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
I'm so old, I used put my name on a sign-in sheet at my high school's only computer just to play 15 minutes of "Hunt the Wumpus." And it was awesome.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian
Back then, Banana Republic didn't have storefronts. Catalog only.

I was trying to explain an IBM Selectric to my 6-yr-old daughter the other day. Specifically, how excited we were that we finally had electric typewriters.

In my earlier days as a production artist (for newspapers and magazines), there were no computers. Stuff was printed out of a typositor, waxed and the galley was pasted onto mechanical boards (which we were paid to create). Photostats of the boards had to be shot for the printers.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercartoongoddess
I remember the day we got cable as the greatest day of my childhood and proceeded to watch Grease 252 times over the next two weeks.

Also, I remember someone showing me email in college and I told them it would never take off as a form of communication because the addresses were too long.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBig Mama
This is great. I remember the controversy surrounding Walkman - how it impeded social interaction and what was this world coming to, anyhow?

I saw Star Wars in the theater, also.

My friend's mother rented a reel-to-reel movie projector to show us a movie at her birthday slumber party.

I thought I was lucky because I had a phone extension in my room.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersuburbancorrespondent
hee. I'm so old I WORKED at Banana Republic when they sold faux safari junk!I'm also so old that when I worked on my high school newspaper (yeah look that one up kids!) we still had to actually CUT (with an exacto knife) and PASTE (with GLUE) copy. Yes kids that's right that's why it's called cut and paste. :)
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertulip
I just knew Rock Hudson was a swaggering bachelor... who probably went to wild bachelor type parties with the likes of Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reily.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSher
We owned an Apple II+. I think we paid over $2000 for it.

I watched MTV (back when they played only videos) for over twelve hours straight one day simply in hopes of seeing a Michael Nesmith video again. Michael Nesmith! I know.

I watched The Nashville Network nightly because it was one of the few cable channels we got. Urgh.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterE
I was the only kid in my 6th grade class to own a digital watch. It got me the plum job of pushing the button that rang the recess bells.

It played twelve different songs. I loved that damn thing.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave
I was 15 when I saw the Beatles-yea, the Fab 4 in downtown Houston,Tx. at the coliseum I believe. My bf's father took us and dropped us off and picked us up when it was over. girls, were screamin' their asses off. It was great.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwanderlusting
I remember when I wanted to make copies of anything, I had to type or print on those double sheets with the purple stuff in between, and they had to be copied on "ditto" machines." (My dad was a school principal . . . hours of weekend fun.)

I also remember those sticker labels you could make by "punching" the letters and they would come out on red tape with raised white letters.

But when you wrote about the faux safari stuff at Banana Republic, it made me think of the short lived Coconut Joe with really tacky safari prints and neon shirts!
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLasha
in college, this was before the internet and before facebook, we had an actual paper book called a face book! IT'S TRUE!
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentershirky
Okay, the Charles Nelson Reilly & Paul Lynde thing is hilarious, b/c I was just telling my husband that I grew up having NO idea they could possibly be gay. NO CLUE. As for mine, a friend's father was one of the inventors of the first compact discs. I refused to believe him when he told me his dad said they would replace our beloved albums, 45s, and cassette tapes.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaza
My son just got an iPod for Christmas. He stared in open-mouthed wonder as I described my first walkman. Remember how they were so heavy that when you tried to attach them to your shorts to go rollerskating (not rollerblading), they'd pull your pants down or just fall off? And they were always skipping. But they were So Cool! Music you could take with you...
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmail From The Embassy
I rocked at Pong.

I was outraged when BR put COLOR in their safari t-shirt line. SO lame.

I had jelly bracelets, but my mom said no to jelly shoes.

When I came home from high school, I'd tune in to see if they were playing that brand-new "Bad Medicine" video.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPretty Jane
I remember GETTING our first TV, after months of walking to a neighbour's to watch theirs on Saturday nights (even though they weren't really friends).

I remember when The Sound of Music first came out.

Our car didn't even have wind-up windows, just a little glued-on knob on the glass that you used to push it up and down.

And if you think that makes ME sound old, my husband can remember taking a stone hot water bottle to bed!



January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPam in NZ
I loved Pong! I remember when there were Looney Tunes on Saturday mornings. And rollerskates for Saturday afternoons.

Anyone else remember Swatches? Captain Kangaroo? Romper Room?

I am so old that my first typewriter was manual, and my first "word processor" was made by Brother, weighed a ton, and used typewriter ribbons to print. But you could delete things!

I told me two year old that I had just "hung up" the phone...and then realized that she has never seen a wall phone that hangs up! No wonder she looked confused. It's a mobile phone world, baby!
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShaay
Didn't Banana Republic at that time also have safari-like decor? It was weird.

I remember using payphones all the time and memorizing a collect call number so I could call home if I didn't have change on me.

I remember walking around with a comb in the back pocket of my jeans.

Potato chips at my elementary school were 15 cents.

I remember cheering for McGovern against Nixon outside the ballot box as my mom voted.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen
I am a graphic designer who learned who to cut and paste type in college.

Nuff said.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAimee Greeblemonkey
I remember playing outside all day long, in the fields across the street, and only having to check in when the street lights came on. When I was 8.

I remember my first tape walkman cost $80 and was the best gift I ever got to that point.

I remember roller skating rinks and coke in a bottle.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterall things BD
Wow this is awesome.

For my 6th birthday, I had a roller skating party at the roller rink. There was a disco ball and we did the hokey pokey. I got a green sparkly slap bracelet which was OMG SO COOL.

I had jelly shoes, and spandex shorts, and a skort, and multiple tunics/ leggings of assorted rainbow colors. Scrunchies galore.

Also had to beg and plead for call waiting... but mainly because my mom was and is still anti-tech. We only ever got two TV channels, NBC and PBS, which threw a wrench in my pop-culture awareness throughout the 80s and 90s. I hear I didn't miss much though :)

(25 years old)
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermfk
We used to crank call people on our rotary dial phone. This was before *69, you whippersnappers.

My most exciting purchase at about age 10 was a copy of Billy Joel's record album (yes, vinyl!) "Glass Houses"

When I worked as a travel writer I had to use tear sheets, which were basically the old edition of the book torn up and put on big pieces of paper, which I then reworked with all sorts of cool editing codes. BY HAND. WITH A PEN.

Then the next year I worked as an editor for the same travel guide and got to work on a MacIntosh Plus! Whoo-hoo!

The year after that, that travel guidebook was no more! I am the former employee of a defunct publication. How's that for old. Now get off my lawn.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermichele
we paid $700 for our first microwave, then took it hope and cooked a rubbery egg in a coffee cup. Pure magic!
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermaleesha

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