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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
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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)

Our VCR cost over $1000 and there was only one place in the city to rent movies.

MTV and MuchMusic only played MUSIC VIDEOS!

Cartoons were only broadcast on Saturday mornings.

Ketchup chips cost me my weekly allowance of 25 cents.

We took our lunch to school in a metal pail with a hankerchief over the top to protect the food.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterProcrastamom
I remember having the first 2400 baud modem (that's 2.4K) on my dorm floor.

I remember the difference between VHF and UHF.

I remember cutting color by hand at my summer job at a newspaper, because the brown toasters we were using couldn't handle color separations.

I remember when Macs were brown toasters. And they were cool.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
120 MinutesFriday Night VideosPonchosHuey Lewis and the News
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllison
I had to learn shorthand in High School.Manual typewriters, carbon paper, rotary phones, having to go to the arcade to play video games, . . . good times!
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia
We had a CB. Breaker one nine, breaker one nine, anybody got a copy?
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKG
i remember forenza (the clothes not the car) and my bag cellphone from the early 90s. feathered hair, jelly shoes, orange shag carpet (oh, that rocked!), toys that were completely unsafe yet way-fun, tupperware, huge cars with no child seats (sitting on the middle console with the driver's extended arm as a "seatbelt"), whole milk and regular cheese slices, "price is right" in the background, sweat and hot concrete and bicycles without helmets or kneepads, no fear at all of neighbors or the darkness, locusts and humidity and streetlights indicating dinnertime.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRzDrms
I wore a 'Gunny Sack' dress to my BAT MITZVAH. And thought I was soooo beautiful in it, too.

When I told my Dad I wanted to see Star Wars (in the theater), he said, "Who would want to watch a movie with a walking/talking rug in it?" I think he was referring to Chewbaca.

Dittos were in, but Jordache was COOL. I loved Chemin De Fer (sp??) jeans.

I wore Dr. Scholls (the FIRST time they were popular) and actually thought it would help my skinny ass legs get more 'shapely'.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSharon
My college bookstore sold these rigid plastic cases in which to carry around computer disks - the truly floppy floppy disks. You had to have one disk to boot the computer up and another disk on which to save your work. And we used keystrokes to do everything as in, , . Also, when I was in middle school, I had purple sox for my Donny Osmond crush and plaid ones for the Bay City Rollers. Oh, and we got an Atari for Christmas (for the TV in the rumpus room) and the only difference between "hockey" and "soccer" was the color of the background and the little rectangles that moved the "puck" or "ball" back and forth.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTheLuckyGal
I had an oversized Banana Republic t-shirt with a safari elephant on it, that I treasured. That was about a year after I treasured Bennetton rugby shirts, Bass boat shoes, and Esprit book bags.

I also remember my aunt being worried that my cousins would grow up never knowing how to tell time, because digital watches and clocks were all the rage when they were born.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLori
You may hate me for this!

I am so old I remember wearing stirrup pants and walking on the stirrups so they would break and be thrown out. (I was six)

I remember going to my first computer class in kindergarten

I remember stretch armstrong when it first came out(I was a child)

I realize I dont even recollect many of the things you are discussing!
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercassie
I'm so old...

Our first microwave was the same size as a television set. It came with a cookbook that had directions for cooking entire meals in the colossal microwave.

I had a folder with a picture of Michael Jackson wearing a yellow sweater vest.

I was there for the first incarnation of Cabbage Patch Kids and Care Bears.

I had to pay long distance charges to talk to my boyfriend during college.

Our video library consisted of movies recorded off television (commercials and all) because movies on VHS were not affordable.

We watched commercials.

I witnessed the mini van replace the station wagon as the family vehicle.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna in Portland
I remember that you'd bet a busy signal when you called someone and they were already on the phone (later, computer too)(now it just annoys me).

I also remember when trucks didn't beep when they backed up.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarabeth
oh, and Rick Schroeder was ricky
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarabeth
Okay, I remember: when our computer had 64K of memory and that was a CRAZY amount of memory! The computer had no hard drive!

I taped songs I liked off the radio, and when I say "off the radio" I mean I held a cassette recorder up to the radio and pressed record.

My parents had a record player that could hold up to four or five records, stacked on top of eachother, so you could listen to nearly two whole hours of music without having to get up and flip the record!

Someone has probably said this already but, I remember when MTV played ONLY music videos, what a concept!

Two words: rotary phones.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
Someone actually had to answer the "home phone", or you had to call them back later. Busy signals on the phone. There were only a few shows on TV in *color*. Spiral perms. Bouncing up and down in the station wagon because there were no seat belts or car seats. David Cassidy and The Monkees. Transistor radios. Turntables. The milkman coming into the house and putting milk (in glass bottles) into the fridge. Running a tab at the corner grocery. Walking to and from kindergarten alone. Going home for lunch at school. Gumby and Pokey. Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in with Kate Hudson's mom. Pierced ears were only for slutty girls. Getting paid a dollar an hour for babysitting and feeling rich. Plastic pants for babies in white diapers, diapers held on with big safety pins. Being amazed by Velcro. I am so old I need to be put to bed, preferably by nine p.m.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiane
My maryjane shoes were closed with a buttonhook when I was 6. When I was a junior in high school, MTV was "Video Jukebox" in between movies on the new cable HBO channel. 25 years ago my (now widowed) mother was SHOCKED by unmarried couples living together, and now she's living with her boyfriend.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertami
i worked as an answering board operator, plugging squwirly(copyright) cords into orifices.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjess
I'm so old my first proper fantasy was about being in a three-way with Hawkeye Pierce and Potsy Weber. This would be a first-run three-way, not syndicated.

Later on, there was a Peachee with "Journey" and "Don't Stop Believin" written in the triangle letters of ROCK. James Jeans, Normandy Rose...and people are wearing what, now? Levi's? Pegged? This must be the future! Let me in. Let me and my leg o' mutton sleeves in.

Still later, I secretly wondered if it was actually okay to wear a Banana Republic t-shirt not to a safari, but to college. Would the Banana Republic people know that I was fronting my safari lifestyle? Strangely, I didn't wonder if it was okay to perm my hair, but not my bangs. I felt intuitively that it was.

These early microwaves, these typewriters and purple dittos, these cassette recorders held next to the radio...yes. I was there with you. If there was only one set of footprints, it was because I was carrying you. Me or Nina Blackwood.
January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTina Rowley
I can remember when my teachers made "dittos" of worksheets. They were printed in purplish ink and had a very disctinct smell.

When my parents had the occasional dinner-party, my special treat to bribe me into staying in my room was that they'd bring the TV in and let me watch it. (The BLACK AND WHITE tv!) Whoo-hoo!!!!

My brother and I argued over who had to get up to turn the TV dial to another station.

I was madly in love with Bo Duke, and I know who shot JR.

I had Michael Jackson's Thriller, Boy George and the Culture Club, and Footloose albums -- all on vinyl.

I made mix tapes by recording songs off the radio. It was hard not to get the DJ's voice in there and I was always running across the room to push the record button when my favorite song came on.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
At age 12-14 my parents would send me to the corner store to buy cigarettes for them. They would send me with a $10 and I would come back with a CARTON of Winstons... AND CHANGE.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdr. d.
I remember getting our first microwave and using it for the first time as a family. When it beeped to indicate that it was finished my mom was so excited, "Look! It says END on there when it's done. It's so smart!"

I took a word processor to college - not the computer application, the stand-alone machine.

The library card catalog was comprised of actual cards.

The family home videos from my childhood are on 8mm and have no sound.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie
I don't think I've bought anything at Banana Republic since the faux-safari days. They used to have some random military surplus, too, and I bought a very cute cropped army jacket. An Eisenhower jacket, maybe? I liked random XXS-sized military gear. New Banana Republic is just boring.

I also remember watching the premiere of MTV as a stand-alone cable channel... on a DATE.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSummer
-My parents bought my sister and I a small black and white T.V. for our birthdays when I was ten. We got four channels (once in a while, we could get a fuzzy Canadian channel in if the weather was clear).-I, too had Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in vinyl. And Lionel Ritchie, and Melissa Manchester, too.-When I started driving, gas was 63 cents a gallon, and my first car took leaded gas and only had an AM radio. I desperately wished it had a cassette player.-Cable finally came to our area when I was in 8th grade, and we only got about 20 channels, but it was AWESOME.-One of my friends in college drove a car with an eight track player. And I remember those ads for hokey albums on TV where you could order an album, a cassette tape, or an eight track.-We did a skit in high school modeled on the Ginsu Knives commercials on TV.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
I also remember where I was when Reagan was shot.

I remember a compilation record called "Songbird" that I just had to have!

I remember my dad giving my mom a microwave for Christmas one year, and he made him take it back 'cause she thought it was too expensive for something that she would never use! Plus - the thing took up about 16 feet of counter space in the kitchen.

I remember being mad that my mother wouldn't let me go see "Flashdance" when it came out. Although fairly tame by today's standards, so not appropriate for a 10 year old! I can't believe I even bothered to ask her if I could go!
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie
On our microwave (are we all obsessed with microwaves, or what?), you set the time with a dial. The display was not even digital.

I used to set aside a entire afternoon to make a mix tape.

I wore a white turtleneck with a Champion sweatshirt pretty much every day of seventh grade.

My husband saved up his money for months to buy his own VCR when he was 15. He had to get his parents to drive him to the big department store downtown (Lechmere) to get it. It lasted until just a few months ago.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjenfromri

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