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Nickelodeon Game Shows
It didn’t matter if it was Guts, Double Dare, or Legends of the Creepy Talking Statue of My Nightmares, the idea of the “physical challenge” was implanted into the minds of this generation at an extremely young age. We saw ourselves as nimble Blue Barracuda’s curb stomping temple guards as the defeated Purple Parrots wept at our feet. We imagined Mark Summers cheering us on as we dipped our hands blissfully into a paper mache nose full of potentially radioactive neon green goo. We climbed a devastating plastic mountain riddled with fog machines and jagged metal. Our youthful minds thrived on the idea of an athletic challenge just waiting to be overcome.
Flash forward to the children of today. Their dreams are no longer to bungee jump over a pit of sticky green mucus. The children of today are content with a crisp new Xbox 360 game and 8 consecutive daylight hours to spend playing it. Needless to say, our generation got it right.
These game shows were an over-the-top spectacle of peak middle school athletic performance. Because we dreamed of pure competition and physically dominating opponents instead of locating every single pigeon in Grand Theft Auto 4, we developed a mindset bent on the pursuit of excellence.
While the children of today sport their 7th place ribbons proudly, we remember the days of our youth when we saw a clear-cut winner and a loser each time we turned on the TV. We know that when life brings us to a proverbial Shrine of the Silver Monkey, we will rise to the challenge and assemble that motherfucker in record time.
Dial Up Internet
There was a time not long ago when the Internet was not the lightning speed wealth of information, news, and lewd pornography that we know today. It was mostly just porno back then. It was a simpler time, a time when the world relied on AOL keywords and extra phone lines to access the information superhighway at a retarded snail’s pace. Not only were the loading times as slow as an elderly Asian woman at the wheel, the login process was also excruciating. After enduring ten painstaking minutes of high-pitched noises that could only have come from a sexually assaulted beluga whale, you were finally on the web and could visit one of the three relevant websites that existed in these near-prehistoric times (Milf Hunter, 4 Life, ya’ll).
So how did this ancient form of Internet access prepare us for our modern day collegiate hijinks? We are the generation that the Internet has affected most of all. Never before has an entire nation of students had the ability to learn literally anything that has ever happened in an instant. Where an entire 28 volume set of encyclopedias once stood now sit keyboards and mice ready to tell you anything from Axl Rose’s high school mascot to the proper techniques for synthesizing LSD.
As we all know, the Internet is an amazing and limitless entity. But the youth of tomorrow will never realize the true beauty because they’ve never felt the soul draining agony of “surfing” the Internet with a 56k dial-up connection. Back then you didn’t actually “surf” the web. You sat on a raft and floated through the lazy river of Hotmails and horribly photoshopped naked Britney Spears pictures. While no one really knows the form the ever-changing interwebs might take in the future, we as survivors of the dial-up era will always recognize the technological miracle mankind has accomplished, and silently cheer with delight each time we find a useful citation on a Wikipedia page. What was once a barren wasteland with few useful stops, like the early wild west but with pedophiles instead of hostile Indians, is now a bustling metropolis of smut, knowledge, humor, and Craigslist casual encounters. Isn’t technology great?
The 90’s were a unique and confusing era for many as the success and general badassery of the 80’s (one of the greatest decades in human history) was replaced by enough grungy mediocrity to burn through a pair of JNCO jean shorts like acid. While the 90’s didn’t have much (read: anything) going for it, one blockbuster film stood above the muck to solidify itself as the highest grossing film of all time, James Cameron’s Titanic.
Titanic told the romantic story of two star crossed lovers destined to blah blah blah and then blah blah blah, he draws her tits, dies, and then a Celine Dion song comes on. Even trying to summarize the plot makes me want to fall into a deep and incurable coma. This movie was so miserably long and drawn out, that not one BUT TWO VHS tapes were required to foster James Cameron’s award winning steamy turd.
“So what did a shitty movie teach me about life, Mr. FratsLike? This sucks, go back to making lists,” You must be saying to yourself. I’ll tell you my friend. Titanic, as horrible and cheesy as it was, prepared us for one of the most unfortunate truths in life. As our ears bled in rhythm to the wailing moans of Celine Dion doing her best masturbating banshee impression, true enlightenment came to our young and supple minds. Sometimes in life you’re going to have to sit through three and a half hours of bullshit just to see a pair of tits.
Fruit Stripe Gum
Imagine that you have somehow miraculously gone back in time to return to your 9 year-old body. Sprint to the nearest grocery store and get lost in the excitement you feel scanning the limitless wall of candy lining the checkout line.
Suddenly, a tiny winking zebra, set on a backdrop of color and happiness, catches your eye. Your mom begrudgingly agrees to let you make the purchase and minutes later you are the proud owner of eight fresh slices of the one and only Fruit Stripe gum. You place the first pink rectangle on your tongue with delight as your mouth begins to explode with artificial fruit insanity. You chew and chew, each bite adding a new delicacy to the flavor orgasm slowly overtaking your brain. And then out of nowhere there is nothing; emptiness. The untamable flavor that mere seconds ago was short-circuiting your senses disappeared faster than Lebron James’ hairline. All that remains is a wad of flavorless putty rolling gently in your gums, providing literally no satisfaction of any kind.
In our modern world, there are many “Fruit Stripes” out there. They are the people who look great on paper or give an amazing first impression, but after time slowly deteriorate into the realm of complete worthlessness. Always make sure to take that fourth or fifth “chew” of a person to determine if they have lasting appeal, or deserve to be spat out at the first available opportunity.
“Gotta Catch ‘em All.” Through the years of our youth this catchy phrase could be found on video games, trading cards, movies, television, and even happy meal toys. Pokémon completely took the late 90’s world by storm, and if you didn’t at least dabble in the craze as a child you were probably the skid-marked kid that no one wanted to sit next to on the bus. While many thought that Pokémon was just a fun time-wasting distraction, they clearly didn’t see the deeper metaphor for life that the designers included in their tiny red and blue Gameboy cartridges.
For those that are 11, or were hidden under a boulder through most of their childhood, the original Pokémon game presented players with a simple choice: one of three tiny creatures to begin their video game journey. Little did we know as children that our choice of Pokémon would serve as a testament to our personalities forever.
In our dog eat dog capitalist society, it all comes down to one simple comparison. In this world when one faces a problem there are two types of people: some are Charmanders and some are Bulbasaurs (nobody cares about the shitty little turtle).
Charmanders are the kinds of people that can see a difficult scenario, but understand the potential gains and fight through adversity to achieve them. Like the poor little fire dinosaur for which they are named, Charmanders may struggle at first as they attempt to understand the best scenario for long term success. The Brocks and Mistys of the world will laugh as they struggle, but in due time their wings will bloom and true achievement becomes theirs for the taking.
On the other hand, we have the Bulbasaurs. Bulbasaurs see a problem, find the easiest and most immediate solution, and stick with it regardless of what the eventual consequences may be. While they may appear more intelligent from the onset with their initial success, their lack of foresight will become their ultimate demise. Bulbasaurs are often associated with powerful language such as “burn-out” or “underachieving piece of shit,” accusations that they clearly deserve.
While the Charmanders of the world will blossom and grow into giant badass fire
dragons, the Bulbasaurs will only become hideous flowery frog creatures, as their pursuits fail time and time again. Don’t be a Bulbasaur, my friends, because everyone knows there isn’t a rare candy cheat in the game of life.