COLUMN: Why did they ever get rid of...?
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 23:10
It’s time to start a new monthly special I like to call, “Why Did They Ever Get Rid of…”
In essence, it is a verbal time capsule of all things that once were a grand part of our society, lost their way around our everyday life for one reason or another and, with any hope, should find their way back to our grasp — if not simply out of our parents’ garage.
Why did they ever get rid of the windbreaker? Not since the advent of the raincoat had a third-layer torso covering ever found such guarded specificity. Generally cad in teal and dark pink, these poly-mixture’d icons saved us from all levels of gale-force trauma, all the while making Californians think they had what it took to brave sub-zero conditions. Yet, like the fanny pack of old, the ‘breaker slowly merged out of style as the diabolical hoodie era set in. Though great for pick-up football warm-ups and going with all pairs of jeans, the hoodie was never a match for a light rainstorm with some semblance of breeze. No, that honor fell on our oft-wrinkled comrade, and we admonish its return.
Why did they ever get rid of milky pens? They may not have been the preferable scribing tool for my sense of bravado but, man, did they come with my kind of stationery. Nothing said “teenager in 2001” quite like passing notes on black paper. It was like a do-it-yourself Lite Brite. Every milky pen-accompanied note was a whirlwind on bizzaro reality, where not even standard writing implements had rules. The best thing about the milky pen, black paper era: they trained all us adolescent dudes the art of how to appear like we’re listening to girls without actually listening to them. All of that creamy, indiscernible ink coupled with the fact all girls wrote the letter “S” tilted chronically to the side: Nobody — and I mean nobody — had any clue what those notes said, but enough response of “That sucks,” “I know, right?” and any notable comment about “Total Request Live” made you look like the mass communicator. It was the tool we all needed to get by.
Why did they ever get rid of the Ronco Food Dehydrator? Ever been in a pinch for beef jerky? That was never a problem when you could manufacture it at home in endless droves with one simple step. I’d say the same about dried peaches, but we all know those looked far too much like baby bottle nipples to ever be considered food.
Why did they ever get rid of mass program-interrupting coverage of high-speed chases on local news channels? We all needed a boost that reminded us that no matter where we were in life, our lives were certainly better than whoever was in that green Honda Civic being chased by every police vehicle from here to Laramie, Wyo. Little victories, people.
Finally, why did they ever get rid of Velcro tennis-ball-catching paddles? You know the ones. You strap them to your hands, grab a friend and let the magic happen. Anyone who had a sense of dual agility, teamwork, cunning or simply couldn’t afford a baseball mitt knew the pleasure of nabbing a long toss to the paddle like a suction cup. They even made them in giant-wall form for humans. We had a Velcro revolution on our hands — I mean literally on our hands. One day, the Velcro paddle will bring its way back to prominence. But until then, it’s a life of RPG video games, crushing candy — which I hear is a thing — exploits, actually having to be athletic or sitting at a laptop and writing a weekly column, just wishing for the past to become the future.
Got a “Why Did They Ever Get Rid of…” item for Steve for next month? Send an email to Steve.Schwartzman@aggiemail.usu.edu or tweet him at @SchwarTZteve and it just may make it into a column.