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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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Let's Panic

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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)

my aunt taught an insanely popular class as an accredited BOB ROSS teacher from the official Bob Ross school of painting. she's never going to live that down. heh.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamie
- Our first VCR had a wired remote.

- Our first microwave had no buttons or digital display; just a timer dial that you would turn to the appropriate (you hoped) time setting. (Nothing ever, ever, ever was heated up deeper than 1/4 of an inch below the surface.)

- I bought my first personal computer in 1994: a Macintosh Performa 475 with a 150MB hard drive. (No, not 150 megs of RAM, children; 150 megs of total storage space ... most of which was eaten up by Applications and System Software. No worries, though, because you could just store any excess data on a 1MB 3.5" floppy disc.)

- Our first family computer was a Texas Instruments keyboard that hooked up to the television set and, as far as I recall, allowed you to do nothing more than type white words on the blue background, purely for the joy and amazement of typing words on your television screen.

- Wii? Wii??? We had Atari: Asteroids, Space Invaders, and last, but definitely not least ... Tank. (I loved the level that allowed you to manually curve the 10-pixel-square "canonball" around corners.)

God, I'll be thinking up more stuff like that for days now.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaddy Scratches
I remember...

...when People Magazine was the ONLY source for celebrity news and photos.

...losing my combination cassette tape/radio for a day was the worst punishment imaginable.

.....wanting to be one of the Solid Gold Dancers when I grew up. Or maybe one of the 20-Minute Workout girls, if the Solid Gold thing didn't pan out for me.



January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
I'm so old, I remember being walked home from school by my great aunt and having to hurry because she could not miss her Barnabus (sp?) Collins on Dark Shadows! I used to hide behind the couch and watch because he scared the daylights out of me.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbevskid1
I used to go next door to my grandparents' house to watch MTV, since they had one of those giant 12 feet wide satellite dishes. You actually had to tune it to the satellite location, too--couldn't just pick a channel!
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDarra
Oh, one more...I'm so old that I remember watching Solid Gold, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, Wolfman Jack on the Midnight Special, and Friday Night Videos as they originally aired! And was thrilled with all of them. It was no surprise to my mom when I became a music journalist in college...
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbevskid1
My first five years or so of office work, pantyhose were required, if you wore a skirt. And when I worked in London, secretaries in trousers were frowned upon.

When I was a kid, if someone wasn't home when you called, you had to call them back later.

And you could only get money out of the bank when the bank was open.

(I swear to god I'm only forty.)
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPandechion
I'm so old that my best friend in elementary school had a party line for their phone. She had to wait for other people to get off the line so she could call me to discuss earth shoes and gauchos. Thank goodness they switched to a regular line before we started collecting Forenza sweaters in all colors!
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFinn Reeds
Banana Republic? All I remember is Banana Seats.

TVs had "tubes" and radios had "transistors." Dad could fix them both!

At school it was a Real Treat when we got to watch a "filmstrip" in class.

Our Thermos® bottles had glass liners - better check your milk before drinking if you had dropped that baby.

Platform shoes... Bell bottoms... Gaucho pants... Good God!



January 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter~annie
Hunt the Wumpus! Yes!!!

Every year, Beloit College in Wisconsin publishes a list of facts about their incoming freshman class, as a way for professors to understand the world the students grew up in and therefore relate to them. http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2012.php
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiesl
I actually know how to use a mimeograph machine--and will forever recognize the smell of that magical purple ink!

My Saturday mornings were spent with shows like "The Smurfs" but also "The Gummi Bears." I also enjoyed "Small Wonder" and the ridiculously short-lived "Swan's Crossing." And I still think of Melissa Joan Hart as that girl from "Clarissa Explains It All"!
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKendra
I'm so old that when I was growing up, I had many, many 45's lying around my room, and none of them were guns.

I remember when MTV went on the air for the first time.

Gas was $.79/gallon and cigarettes were $.85/pack.

There was a smoking section at my high school, and if you were 16 and had your parent's permission, you could smoke. AT SCHOOL.

Prairie skirts were the height of fashion. Especially if they were made by Gunne Sax.

Those were the days...
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline
When I was a kid, we had a black and white TV set that only got three network stations and two UHF stations (if you were lucky). The tuning knob had fallen off, so my dad had attached a pair of vise-grip pliers to the stub so you could change the channel.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Jane
AtariRabbit EarsSoda delivered on a truckMy grandmother's hi-fi system, which consisted of an 8-track tape deck, a record player and an am AND fm receiver was a big as a sofa.



January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith
OK -

in junior high school I took a typing class and used an electric typewriter. Only half the kids in that class got to use the electrics though because they were too expensive to stock 30 of them at the school.

we were one of the first families on the street to get a microwave. It cost nearly a thousand dollars and the only thing we ever used it for was to melt cheese on tortillas.

my dad went out one night for a bag of potato chips and came back with this new invention called a VCR. He used his dad's inheritance to buy it.

a few months later, he spent the other half of the inheritance to purchase our very first home computer, a TRS-80 from Radio Shack. The TRS-80 computer is now on display in the Smithsonian institute.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNG
1. My mother would not let me watch Charlies Angels because they didn't wear bras and ran....a lot.

2. I shopped at Koala Blue.

3. I cried when Simon LeBon got married.

4. I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark in a movie theater with my friends. It was a PG movie. I felt so adult.

5. You were cool if you wore a Swatch watch, a Champion sweatshirt (inside out), leggings, floppy socks and Saico high tops.

There are more, but that will do for now.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTina
I remember many many calico prarie skirts and braided hair to go with them, roller-skating to Journey every Saturday afternoon wearing as much neon as possible, being in total awe of the giant microwave's power, Rick Springfield on vinyl, spending my long-saved-up allowance on my first of the latest thing: a cassette tape--The Police Syncronicity (sp?). I remember Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret being the biggest controversary in the school, seeing Star Wars at the drive-in, and years later, watching 120 minutes and videotaping it once we finally got a VCR.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlurky mommy
I remember....getting a color TV, and it was such a BIG DEAL, that my mom woke us up at night when they brought it home. I remember getting a calculator that cost a hundred bocks for 8th grade grad., that had an adapter you had to use with it that was as big as a desk phone. (oh...and remember stationery desk phones). I remember having to stand and take your phone call right there, cuz you couldn't move around with a phone call. Everything had to stop when you had a call. I remember the scandal and horror of see-through shirts. I remember everyone roller skating becuz CHER did it. I remember 3 channels, not counting the public/educational channel. I remember all shows stopping at 11PM or so, and the Indianhead logo coming on to that high pitched sound. And, finally, I remember a microwave coming home and my 72 yr old grandmother being too scared and distrusting to eat food that cooked without heat and in 30 seconds. HAHA. Now, that was fun.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteralex
When I was a kid, there were ashtrays in the waiting area of the emergency room. They were installed on the arms of the sofas! Smoking! In the hospital!

My parents were the worst fuddy duddies ever. They would insist that everyone wear seat belts in their cars, and children were not allowed in the same room as someone smoking.

They didn't smoke, but we had ashtrays and their friends commonly smoked in our house. Can you imagine? Someone lighting up in YOUR house, where you don't smoke and where your children live?
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjendajen
I remember when Coke didn't have to be called "Coke Classic." I remember watching back to back episodes of He-Man and She-Ra right after school. I remember tight-rolling (a.k.a. pegging, pin-rolling) my jeans.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFrazier
Okay, I'm not that old (almost a decade and a half) but when I was kid? PLUTO! was a PLANET!
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmma
Well, unless you're too young for the game Pong to actually play not just in the local pizza parlorm but also on your very own TV in your very own living room, I think we're around the same age!
I'm so old my family's house didn't have MTV till I was in college.

I'm so old I too, remember how odd Banana Republic was in those days.

I'm so old I remember really wanting rainbow suspenders a la Mork.

I'm so old I grew up with a black and white tv until I was in grade school (one remembers the upgrade) and then, when in high school (and still) we were the only ones with just one tv.

Finally, I didn't really use email until my senior year of college. And it was only PINE based. I hated it until interfaces changed and AOL became in vogue. Lordy, those were the days of not killing time online.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarie
I remember Olivia Newton John's song Physical song and was young enough to believe she was talking about exercise because of the video.

You could "feed a family of 4 for $5" at McDonalds.

I think milk in my elementary school was something like 7 cents.
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
I remember when video games were pieces of furniture, like, um TABLETOP PONG.

My parents paid $89 for The Dark Crystal on VHS for my brother's birthday.

Dr. Scholl's were my favorite shoes. Second favorite: Corkies.

I filled out my college application on paper! And mailed it in! With a stamp!
January 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermadge

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