The kids of 1985 were pleading with their parents to get a 50-foot phone cord so they could maybe reach the bathroom — or garage, if they were really lucky.
Every time I see one of my kids doing research for a school project, I like to remind them:
“You know. I had to go to the library. Like, I had to physically go there and find a book in the card catalog. Then I had to go find it on a shelf. Then I had to read it. And if I wanted to quote it, I had to write the quote with a pencil on paper. I had to note all the book’s pertinent info: Title, Author, Publisher, Date, location of quote. And then I still had to write the paper. It basically took me a year.”
That was real.
You haven’t known struggle until you’ve had to navigate the Dewey Decimal System.
The Internet is arguably the most transforming invention we will see in our lifetime, but there are so many other awesome, under-appreciated developments that we didn’t even know we needed.
Or maybe not-so-awesome after all? Are the advances worth the trade-offs?
You be the judge:
1. Dry shampoo
AWESOME: No longer is every non-wash day a ponytail day.
Dry shampoo is, hands down, the single most important hair-related invention ever. (Flat irons come in at a close second.)
I used to iron my hair with AN ACTUAL IRON. Like the kind for clothes.
This shit is basically miraculous. Like, here comes Jesus from heaven with hair cleansing that doesn’t involve any water at all.
Also in the hair category…
I mean, this is my hair in 1991:
This is my hair now:
Need I say more?
NOT-SO-AWESOME: Too much dry shampoo and you just look like you have lice. Too much anti-frizz? You look like you don’t have a shower.
2. Razors with more than one blade.
AWESOME: Okay, I don’t know what the real difference is between razors with one blade and razors with three blades.
But my legs know.
If only the three-blade razor existed in 1982, I probably wouldn’t have the 3-inch shin scar I got from the classic blue Bic. GBLESS you Gilette.
NOT-SO-AWESOME: Razors that cost exactly ONE JILLION DOLLARS.
AWESOME: This is tied in with the creation of the Internet, but merits a special mention.
In 1984, if you wanted porn, you had to buy a magazine or sneak into your parents' room and search for the stash of Playboy without being caught.
Movies? Forget it. No way you were getting in the back room of Video Zone. Your only real option was Cinemax After Dark, which you didn’t actually have.
BUT if you squinted your eyes just so and tilted your head at a 37 degree angle you could almost see a person in those zig-zaggy lines. Either way, there was sound, which was all you could really ask for.
Now? My kids can watch porn IN CLASS if they want to.
NOT-SO-AWESOME: Uh... my kids can watch porn in class if they want to.
4. Cell Phones.
AWESOME: Duh. Let me just remind you, the kids of 1985 were pleading with their parents to get a 50-foot phone cord so they could maybe reach the bathroom — or garage, if they were really lucky. Then there was the busy signal, sharing the phone with parents/siblings, and risking someone silently eavesdropping on you. It was all bad.
If you were lucky enough to have a cordless phone, yay you.
Until the battery died…
You can't exactly charge a cordless phone when you’re on it.
SO, YAY CELL PHONES! You can literally talk anywhere with NO CORD.
NOT-SO-AWESOME: You can literally NEVER BE ALONE.
AWESOME: Do you have any idea how much Calculus I could have done with a double Frappe on board? SO MUCH Calculus.
I mean, we had Jolt Cola, but that caffeine was a joke compared to a shot of espresso.
NOT-SO-AWESOME: Heart palpitations.
6. The Facebook
AWESOME: Can you even with the ability to locate anyone? You can find your boyfriend from senior year! You can know he works at 7-11. That he has a wife — and kids(!!). Where he lives!
NOT-SO-AWESOME: Cue inappropriate messages from Boyfriend From Senior Year. (Nope. Still don't want to marry you.)
AWESOME: Finally, a shoe you can wear ANYWHERE. Water? Yes! Kitchen? Yes! Hospital? Yes.
They are so bright and so foamy. Remember when all we had was sneakers?
NOT-SO-AWESOME: Having to see people wear Crocs.
8. Bonus: Snapchat
AWESOME: dick pics!
NOT-SO-AWESOME: unsolicited dick pics :'(