BIO     CALENDAR     MEDIA     COLLEGE     STORE     BOOK STEVE     BLOG     PODCAST     SUBREDDIT    

FREE ALBUM DOWNLOAD
Get your copy of "Dark Side of the Room" now
"Laughs" Live! Shows:
Detroit, MI      Chicago, IL      Phoenix, AZ      Charlotte, NC      Washington, DC     
Dayton, OH      Chicago, IL      Houston, TX      Dallas, TX     


The Column

When The Hogan Family Was Still Valerie
11/17/02

There’s an e-mail that most of you have seen a hundred times that explains what it means to be a child of the 80s. And while it is clever and well-written (the original one, at least), it does not apply to anyone my age. See, we are not children of the 80s. We are children desperately trying to remember the 80s.

We look back on Voltron fondly, though we don’t recall it well enough to realize that it was just an animated version of the Power Rangers, created by the same entertainment company. We hold fast to the life lessons we learned from Punky Brewster even though we can’t really remember the plot of any episode. And we constantly quote Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller and Princess Bride despite not having been old enough to see any of them in the theatre and those movies having all come out in 1985 or later.

A child of the 80s needs to have lived through the entire decade, which anyone younger than 23 didn’t do. But since most of us don’t remember much before kindergarten, I’m going to up that age to 27 and say that anyone younger than that who associates themselves with growing up in the 80s is a big faker.

I don’t remember listening to Toto, other than seeing them recently on a commercial for hits of the 80s. Very few of my female friends owned leg warmers, and those that did got them as hand-me-downs from their older sisters. And though I watched Knight Rider and A-Team and Dukes of Hazzard, all were after they stopped making new episodes. Because when those shows aired originally, I was in bed before prime time.

Who shot J.R.? I have no idea, because I was two at the time. What was I doing during the fight for the Falkland Islands? Teething. And to me, Corbin Bernsen is not a vain lawyer from Los Angeles, rather Billy Dorn, a veteran third baseman with the Cleveland Indians. I first saw Major League in 1992. That’s right around when I grew up.

For someone my age (23, for those not keeping track) to claim that they grew up in the 80s is like a kid from Long Island saying he’s from New York City. Sure, he was raised close to New York City. His fondest childhood memories might have even happened in New York City. But the differences between the Long Island Railroad and the subway are almost as big as the differences between Madonna and, well, Madonna.

I was technically born in the seventies, having a birthday in the last few months of 1979. But I still don’t pretend to know what was going on around me until 1986. That’s when my Mets won the World Series, and I was just old enough to understand that it was cool. But watching a few baseball games was all the pop culture I had.

Most current freshmen in college were born in 1984 (gasp!), making them six when the decade changed. And the 80s, pop-culturally, really stopped around 1988. 1989 was just a transitional year, featuring things like C&C Music Factory - not exactly Boy George. Think of a four-year-old that you know. Are they watching movies and buying their own clothes and going to concerts and developing an acute sense of pop culture? No. They are playing on swings and coloring outside the lines and wearing whatever their parents give them and learning how to read, just like we were. And hopefully when they grow up, these kids will not pretend to be children of the nineties, having lived there for just two years.

Yes, I loved Thundercats. I had a passion for the Back to the Future series. And I was a whiz with a snap bracelet. But this does not make me a child of the 80s. This makes me a child of the late 80s and early 90s.

I once met someone who told me they were from New York, and I asked them what part. They replied, “Greenwich.” They didn’t mean Greenwich Village – rather Greenwich, Connecticut which is “just a half hour outside the city.” But there’s no ignoring that it’s in a different state. Much like the state anyone my age was in when anything resembling the 80s actually happened.

Maybe it’s easy for me to criticize Connecticut Yankees who pretend they’re New York Yankees because I grew up in Queens. But if my story were different, I wouldn’t lie about where I was from – I’d be proud of my heritage, whatever it was. Even Jersey.

So cast off Family Ties in favor of Saved By the Bell. Forget Atari, we had Nintendo. And Rambo? Well, everyone had Rambo because they made way too many of those movies. But you get my point. We are not children of the 80s. And it’s about damn time we admitted it.

Right after I forward that e-mail, of course.

Archives
*Kings vs. Sports Illustrated
*Paris Hilton is No Mother Theresa
*Putting the "Fan" in "Fanatic"
*Thinking Man: Happy New Year
*Jewzapalooza
*I'm Listening
*Punky Brewster Scares Me
*Don't Get Smart With Me
*Checking Out a Check Up
*Yeah, Thanks
*Steve Hofstetter is Your Friend
*Post Halloween Wrap-Up
*My Letter to Me
*The Night the Heat Went Off
*Turn That Crap Off
*You Might Be a Redhead If
*To My Future Children
*Shine Your Shoes, Mista?
*Flying Forward
*DotCom Dating Dish
*Paging Paige Page
*Watch While You Eat
*You Have Got to Be Kidding Me
*Come Home, Rachel I. K'Benjamin
*Get Out Of My Bathroom
*Subway Going Under
*Driving Forces
*Singles Anonymous
*Know When to Fold Em
*The Mirth of America
*Also Known As
*Smooth Criminal
*What That Mass Email Really Said
*Dude, Where's Your Car?
*Thinking Man: Can't We All
*You Might Be a Redneck
*A Nice Hawaiian Punch
*100,000 Friends
*Mine is Bigger Than Yours
*Good Answer
*T Stands for Terrible
*I Love You Guys
*Mitch, All Gone
*Birth of a Hate Mail Archive
*Never Do Today What...Ooh, Shiny
*Can You Hear Me Now?
*Fast Food, Slow Digestion
*Homeland Security, Eh?
*Quality Training Purposes
*The Show Went On
*Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
*Putting My Foot Down
*Breaking the Chain Mail
*Happy Valmochrismaweenygiving
*Mr. Clean's Illegitimate Brother
*The Quest For 10,000 Friends
*Forgetting Paris
*Magnetically Challenged
*New Year's at the Barefoot Boogie
*Instant Carma's Gonna Get Me
*The Biggest Loser
*Steve vs. Kentucky
*Gone in a Flash
*How to Destroy Your Car
*Ghouls, Goblins, and Candidates
*My Freedom From Your Freedom
*Drive Unto Others
*Please Don't See This Movie
*I Love The Clip Shows
*Column of Atonement
*Happy Anniversary, Sugarhill
*Life, 9/11, and the Interstate
*Your Band Sucks
*Spending Wisely
*The Blind Dating the Blind
*Grilled Cheese With a Side of Hip Hop
*The Drive to 25
*Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God.
*Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House
*Seacrest! Out!
*Harder Than You Think
*Glad To Be Here
*Thought for Food
*Feeding the Meter
*She's Ready For Her Close Up
*Paging John Hughes
*Excusing America's Gas Problem
*Extra, Extra, Extra Long Time
*The Finals Countdown
*Your Friends and Mine
*The Future Mrs. Bueller
*Toasting Not Toasting
*A Tall Order
*Snaking Your Engine
*My Hair is the Color of Tomato Soup
*The Solace System
*You Say Potato
*It’s Getting Less Cold in Here
*This is Not a Virus
*Pitchers and Catchers
*Another Night Not at the Movies
*Higher and Higher
*To Write A Wrong
*They Call it Super for a Reason
*Imagine All the People
*Lost Wages, Nevada
*This Just In
*Why Are All My Stands Red?
*For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
*Silent One Day Sale, Holy One Day Sale
*I Want To Be That Guy
*Felicity Doesn't Always Mean Happiness
*That Time of Year
*My Cranberry Sauce Looks like a Can
*The Legend of Fat Dead Steve
*Two Beldings in One Building
*Happy Halloween From Happy Valley
*Three Stations and Nothing On
*15 Shots of Nostalgia
*Here's To the Dancing Guy
*Teaching an Old Dog New Sticks
*If You Could Choose Just One Dumb Question...
*Obligatory Pun on The Word Tired
*I've Grown Accustomed to Your Wet Nose
*What Do You Want For Your Birthday?
*What a Long, Strange Trip
*Open Letter to My UPS Man
*That Better Be Your Foot
*The Abandoned Lot is Always Greener
*Putting Down the Pieces
*Take One Down, Pass It Around
*Here, You Throw This Away
*Being Green at the Box Office
*Who Wears Short Shorts?
*America is an Okay Place to Be
*You Can't Stop the Rain
*Don't Feed the Alpha Males
*Don’t Sweat It
*The Special Plate Blues
*You Deserve It
*The Return to Popcopy
*They're Real, and They're Spectacular
*Keeping Your Prom Misses
*Guerillas in Our Midst
*That Weird No Bread Holiday
*The Ballad of the Buttless
*Something About Being Twenty-Something
*Have You Seen My Cell Phone?
*War, Huh, Yeah, What Is It Good For?
*Leggo My Ego
*I'm a Spazz, You're a Spazz
*Can I Please Keep My Pants?
*Engaged in Conversation
*Welcome to PopCopy
*Hold Me Closer, Tiny Bathroom
*My Two-Bedroom Furbee
*All’s Fare in Love and Daytona
*Open? Shut Them
*I Am Everyday Pimple
*Here Comes the Judge Show
*When, Praytell, Were The Days of Auld Lang Syne?
*What Are You Up To This Weekend?
*The Waiting is the Hardest Part
*A Night Not at the Movies
*Funny, You Don’t Look Flu-ish
*Does This Baby Come With Airbags?
*When The Hogan Family Was Still Valerie
*Blue (Haired) Tuesday
*In Loco Parents
*Moving Is Like A Vaccuum: It Sucks
*Thou Shalt Not Save the World and Get the Girl
*Like Oil and Stuff That Hates Oil
*How to Get Hatemail
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*It Happens to the Best of Us
*Talking To A Piece of Junk Mail
*When You Can’t See the Forest for the Trees
*ICFS Disorder and Celebrity Kid Growth
*Electricity and Other Things They Cut Off
*When Pigeons Fly
*Goodbye, New York, Goodbye
*La La La-la La La, Sing a Happy Song
*What To Do at Work Besides Work
*Why is This Column Different From All Others?