MEMORY AVENUE: Fads of my Youth

Hi, Lego Maniacs!

In coming up with subjects for posts, I feel a certain pressure to be topical. The blogosphere is such a zeitgeist-y place, and sometimes it seems like the only appropriate things to write about are things that are happening right

Hey! You’re in the news today!

Hey! You’re in the news today!

now, like J.K. Rowling writing a grown-up book that we all secretly hope will suck so she has to go back to Hogwarts with her tail between her legs, or DMX saying mean things about that Canadian child actor who played the wheelchair kid on "Degrassi."

But what if today I want to write about, say, pogs? I'd probably at least have to come up with some lame tie-in to make pogs seem relevant to February 23rd, 2012. Something like, "Hey guys! So, I don't know if you heard, but it's National Pogs Day..."

But, Dear Reader, here's the real deal: for me, every day is National Pogs Day. For, you see, Dear Reader, I am nostalgic. 

I live in the past and I love it. I love the past even more than I loved the past when it was the present. I love the past and today I feel like talking about pogs and other such fads, okay?

OKAY. SO TODAY'S TOPIC IS FADS. LET'S DO THIS. THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITES...

Pogs - 1st grade 

I still have all of my pogs (I keep them in my Pekkle drawstring bag), and every once in a while I bust them out to remind myself how totally slammin' the early/mid-90's were. It's an incredibly representative collection -- I have Goosebumpspogs, Garbage Pail Kids pogs, Big Help pogs, and, bossest of all, a Tommy from Power Rangers slammer! Is that not the most 90s thing you've ever heard of, except for maybe this video of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Girls Gymnastics Team doing the Macarena?

On the other hand, I understand why the fad died out. Pogs is a totally boring game, as one might expect from the ancient Hawaiian tradition of slamming milk caps together, which is what Pogs actually is.

A big purple scapegoat

A big purple scapegoat

Barney Bashing - 1st grade

This fad is unique in that it's not so much a fad as a still-prevalent phenomenon. You see, unlike Pet Rocks or draft card-burning, Barney Bashing never went out of style -- it's even alive and well now, some twenty years after the show first came out. To be a first grader is to hate on Barney (and if you are a sexist first grader, to hate on Baby Bop). It's just a way of life.

Trust me. I've been a summer camp counselor for the past several years, and the one thing every single group of little kids has had in common, something they even share with six-year old me, is that we all know the lyrics to the following song:

Tic Tac Toe, three in a row/ Barney got shot by G.I. Joe/ He went to the doctor and the doctor said/ "Whoop! Barney's deeaaad, Whoop! Barney's deeaaad."

I cannot explain why there is Barney Bashing. I only know that there is Barney Bashing. Maybe it will one day be supplanted by Bieber Bashing, but probably not.

Because, come on. Barney sucks.

Beanie Babies - 2nd grade

A little purple TREASURE

A little purple TREASURE

Sometimes I think about obese moms bludgeoning each other in McDonald's drive-thru lines in order to be the first to get The Teenie Beanie version of Chops the Lamb and I think to myself: why did I want the same thing they wanted?

But I did. I wanted Beanie Babies so hard. Enough to fill like fourpillowcases that still hide shamefully in some

corner of my house. Enough to join the Official Ty Warner Fan Club. Enough to make my parents buy the Princess Diana bear that capitalized off of her death in seemingly gratuitous fashion.

And I'd do it again, Mom and Dad. I'd do it again...

Jump Rope - 3rd grade 

I'm pretty sure this happens at like every elementary school in the nation. Some awesome jump rope troupe comes and does an assembly wherein they do all sorts of neat-o tricks and then for two weeks every kid at school wants a jump rope and they spend all recess jump roping until they realize they've been conned and that jump ropes are boring and so then the kids go back to their usual pastimes of kickball and tag games with homophobic names. Happens like clockwork.

Yo-Yos - 4th grade

The Yo-Yo craze at my school was completely borne of another craze: Pokemon on UPN every weekday at 6 am. The geniuses that program commercials for kids realized that they could fool all of us Pikachu-lovers into thinking that Yo-Yos were the hot new thing (as if 1999 were 1959), and boy were they right.

The Hot Shot...the Fireball...The Yo-Yo with a brain that returns automatically...

Of course, it had to be a Yomega yo-yo. I recall my Dad thinking he was all "with it" and getting me a Duncan Butterfly and I recall not speaking to him for a while, because...would you?

Girls are gross! Except Misty…

Girls are gross! Except Misty…

Pokemon cards - 4th grade

My friend Sam traded his entire collection for a naked Misty card that they only printed in Japan. So tight.

Milky pens - 5th grade

These were special gel pens that only showed up if you also bought a black pad that you could write on them with. I think they were a prime example of "If popular kids decide to make something stupid popular for no reason, will the other kids be dumb enough to buy it?"

The answer, as always, is ye$$$$$.

Hot Cheetos with Cream Cheese - 7th grade

Same corollary as before, only this time with food. POPULAR KIDS WILL DO ANYTHING TO RUIN THE LIVES OF US PLEBE KIDS.

Oakland Raider gear - 9th grade

The Raiders are tough and tough is cool and people like to wear cool stuff. In my freshman year of high school, the administration, fearing the rampant gang activity that would surely arise should kids be allowed to wear the jerseys of this one particular NFL team, banned all Raider stuff on campus.

The Raider gear-lovers responded one day by all ditching class at the same time, and then, right as the lunch period ended, storming the school in unison, hundreds upon hundreds of students clad in silver and black.

At graduation that June, the principal praised these kids for their ingenuity.

I was never sure what lesson I was supposed to get from all this.

Four Loko - senior year of college

The end of the world is nigh.