The older I get, the more vulnerable I am to nostalgia. That’s not a groundbreaking or unique sentiment by any means, but while I always expected it to happen, I have also been a little bit blindsided by how strongly the predilection has advanced recently. And that’s coming from someone for whom nostalgia has always been a weakness. I’m gonna give myself permission to quote myself here from that linked piece:
Nostalgia is the world’s greatest PR firm, and it keeps itself limber and efficient. While reality in its old age nurses a broken hip, nostalgia attends pool exercise classes and only keeps getting stronger. The older you get, the more memories you accumulate, and the more practice nostalgia gets at its PR act.
Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve spent a year in lockdown, in an unprecedented and stressful state of uncertainty and social isolation, but I’ve felt that PR firm working in overdrive over the past 12 months or so. It manifests not just in moments of bullsh*t intrusive wistfulness, but also in jumping all over any nostalgia-tinted Twitter or Reddit thread.
And there, friends, that’s it! We have our segue!
Here we have our Twitter prompt:
What’s the most random thing from the 80s or 90s you can’t really describe to kids today cuz it just wouldn’t make sense?— DJ Big Jacks (@BigJacks) May 10, 2021
And here the nostalgia-evoking responses:
Wite-Out.— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) May 11, 2021
If you wanted to find out the answer to a factual question you went to the library.— (((Malacandra))) (@Malacandra) May 10, 2021
And you found books on little cards… pic.twitter.com/cTyihASqkl
When the internet came on a CD….I tried to explain this to my students and they looked at me like I was crazy 😂😂😂— dj0nes (@dj0nes) May 10, 2021
If your parents forgot to pick you up somewhere, sometimes you just had to wait there - for however long it took them to remember. You just had to wait.— Molia Dumbleton (@MoliaDumbleton) May 11, 2021
How credit card payments were processed, and why the numbers, your name, and the card’s expiration are raised pic.twitter.com/OwfREAICSk— mamapre (@mamapre3) May 11, 2021
The joy of seeing this in the classroom pic.twitter.com/agj7TxSFdh— Scott Farver (@sdfarver) May 11, 2021
Half the cartoon/tv shows are more like fever dreams than real shows. pic.twitter.com/CJkGbsFhvj— DarkShadowyStringPuller (@darkshadows1600) May 10, 2021
This was our cable box in 83 and BET came on after 4 pm because the channel was shared with another channel. pic.twitter.com/YiOepN8fWF— Someguynamedralf (@reddy4daworld1) May 10, 2021
Some kid asked me why people say "hang up the phone"…because you used to have to hang the phone up to end a call, dammit!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Bernadette Bojingles (@understandthis) May 10, 2021
Skip it’s…— Kaeli VanFossen (@KaeliVanfossen) May 10, 2021
It’s like a hula hoop for your ankle but you jump over the rope with a ball and… oh never mind. 🤷🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/i1875peQMX
The concept of UHF, which required rabbit ears or an external antenna to pull in the grainy image. Also using the Fine Tune wheel behind the channel knob.— NJGrandpa69 (@NGrandpa69) May 11, 2021
JFC I'm old 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/F8BoSba0el
You could kind of just walk into a place and get a job.— Garrett Gilchrist (@TygerbugGarrett) May 11, 2021
You know, like Boomer parents always say you can do, but which hasn't been true since 2002.
Doing a research paper back in like 1997. Paying $0.10 a page to make copies from a reference book because you couldn't check those out. Waiting for a free computer to type up said research paper.— Katrina (@Trinaville) May 10, 2021
So many hours in the library.
Sitting next to your stereo for hours with two fingers resting on "play" and "record," so you can start recording the song you want on your mix tape the INSTANT it starts playing.— Van Morgan (@vanmorg3) May 11, 2021
Not random exactly, but the fact that is missed a specific TV show episode when it aired, you might never get the chance to see it again. Appointment viewing, or program that VCR baby 😆— G Rhino (@iginlafire) May 10, 2021
I got the KEESH and dernunDERNUN backwards apparently, but I was pretty damn close for not having heard it in decades.https://t.co/MPTebNRTXo— Max™ (@MaxThyme) May 11, 2021
Checking the newspaper or calling Moviefone for showtimes.— KstandsforKAY (@themonicakay) May 10, 2021
Driving without GPS or MapQuest, just muscle memory, or someone telling you to turn at one place or another.
Waiting a year before you could rent/own the awesome movie that you just saw in the theater. (also just the concept of renting, I guess). 🙃— 𝙆𝙚𝙫𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙤𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙧 (@Dionysus_Jones) May 10, 2021
Calling home collect if you didn’t have any change for the pay phone. Instead of saying your name you said “Pickmeupatschooloutside” and hung up before the call actually went through. 😂— It’s Whatever (@Goper91) May 10, 2021
Having to take film from a camera to a shop to get them developed.. and it’s only at that point you found out what the pictures looked like !— Nev Homer (@nevhomer) May 10, 2021
Your music that you're listening to at home suddenly slowing down and you have to sprint across the room to save the cassette that is now being chewed up in the tape player…and needing a pencil to sort it out.— johngeorge1977 (@johngeorge1977) May 10, 2021
TV ended. at 3am, that was it. it just became static.— Anne Ominous (@rustoleumlove) May 10, 2021
Not random but remembering everyone’s phone number. Home. Parents work number. Friends. I still remember the first home # from when I was 4.— Thunderlicious (@cpettway79) May 10, 2021
Also, having to type a term paper on a word processor and then convert the file to Word Perfect so you could take it to the lab and get it printed on a dot matrix or ball printer before you turned it in.— scribblegurl (@scribblegurl) May 10, 2021
My 8 y o daughter complained about no WiFi once and I told her there was no WiFi when I was growing up. She thought for a moment and said that was impossible bc how would we get on the Internet! I told her to brace herself! 🤣— Heather Shamsai (@HeatherShamsai) May 11, 2021
Coiling your finger around the curly telephone wire.— 💬 (@shakedubonbon) May 10, 2021
Leaving the phone off the hook so you can go to another room and then running to hang it back up so you can finish your call from your new location.
In the 80s, suitcases either didn't have wheels built into them, or the wheels were on the long side & you had to pull it with a leash, and it would always fall over. Instead, we strapped our suitcases to little foldable metal luggage caddies with wheels.— Allison Torres Burtka (@atburtka) May 10, 2021
Getting stuck behind somebody writing a check. That literally could turn a quick shopping trip into cool 30 minute wait.— I'm Your Huckleberry (@MissBleuFour) May 10, 2021
Taking the bus to the mall with my friends with $0 money. No cell phones, no bus money to even get home. But we still went, then goto the mall for 7-8 hours and scramble enough money to share a whopper lmao. Good times— KAMAKACCI JUICE Super-Connector (@Kamakacci_Juice) May 10, 2021
Maybe more of a 70s thing, but the fact that TV networks gave you almost nothing new over the summer was amazing. MLB on ABC and NBC, if it was an Olympic year, the occasional special - that was all the "new" programming until September.— Nathan Tidwell (@NateTidwell86) May 10, 2021
Pneumatic tubes in office towers to get documents from one floor to another. Always thought I’d lose a hand one day.— Joni MacFarlane (@CNP_MacFarlane) May 11, 2021
Having to wait for what seemed like forever to see what show was airing next on a network if you did not luck into catching the TV Guide Channel at the right moment. https://t.co/PD4Qck6f4K— Korey Bowers Black (@BowersKorey) May 10, 2021
That it required HOURS to get your word processor or Commodore-64 or whatever to turn on. Then to print whatever you wrote in green on a black background took MORE HOURS to get fed to the dot-matrix printer. Then a screeching sound deafened you for EVEN MORE HOURS as it printed— Lauren Wolfe (@Wolfe321) May 11, 2021
Nickelodeon’s obsession with Green Slime— 🌈🖖🏻🐈⬛Joshua🛸🦄📜 (@mr_sosotris) May 10, 2021
Having to do research with encyclopedias….— Anthony Corsi (@big_tweeze) May 10, 2021
How those big linebacker-style shoulder pads in women's dresses actually made it easier to hold onto the corded phone receiver while you wrote down some notes with pen and paper— Annieinaustin (@Annieinaustin) May 10, 2021
I told my kids we used to get a magazine every week that was just lists of everything that was on every tv station, at every hour of the day and night and they legit thought I was making that up.— Werewolf Bar Kochba (@dickius) May 11, 2021
TV. My kid does not get that you just watched…what was on.— Crash Test Meg, Head Advice Crone (@MegNumbers) May 11, 2021
Waiting for hours for a certain video in the early days of MTV.— scribblegurl (@scribblegurl) May 10, 2021
For that matter, the early days of MTV.
They’ll never get the thrill of going to Blockbuster on a Friday night with the fam and waiting by the intake bin for the new release to be returned so you can grab it like it’s a big bag of diamonds and victoriously take it home with a stash of microwave popcorn for the night.— PC Cast (@pccastauthor) May 11, 2021
Cutting and pasting articles and photos for newspaper layout. With actual scissors and actual glue— Lauren Wolfe (@Wolfe321) May 11, 2021
Making sure you always had a dime so you could go to a pay phone to call your home answering machine to check messages.— Red 💉💉 (@Redpainter1) May 10, 2021
Feeding pieces of paper into a machine to make replicas of those pieces of paper come out of another machine in a different location.— Kim Wexler's Ponytail (@MadisonKittay) May 11, 2021
Everything happening here: https://t.co/IdrSh30aC3— Conversing (@WithOceans) May 11, 2021
Having family/friends see you off on a flight at your gate— 𝙺𝚗𝚒𝚝𝚝𝚊𝙿𝚑𝙳 (@knittaphd) May 11, 2021
Movies over 2hrs usually had to be broken up into 2 VHS tapes. Just as the Titanic hit the iceberg the screen went to black and you had to get off the couch, take out the tape, put the second one in (rewind it if you forgot to the last time you watched) and then start again— Liesl Kundert (@LieslKundert) May 11, 2021
Microsoft Encarta pic.twitter.com/ILUhjWR5TR— Zach (@Zach_W_H) May 11, 2021
Taking a gamble on a CD and spending $17 on the strength of the first single.— Noel Dávila (@NoelDavila) May 11, 2021
Context: What cost $17 in 1996 would cost $28.51 in 2020. (Source: westegg)
The password systems necessary for video games with any sort of story arch before battery backup made Zelda possible. pic.twitter.com/XJo0BCtS0P— RIDDΛR CΛRPO 🇸🇪🇫🇮🇮🇳🇮🇹🇺🇸 (@RiddarCarpo) May 11, 2021
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