Yesterday I posted that I have recently been informed that my 30th High School Reunion is coming up. Not sure how it seems like so long ago and just yesterday.
I was a teenager in the 1980s and for that, I am thankful on many levels: For my music (The Ramones, The Clash, David Bowie, and even some Thompson Twins and INXS, etc.) my movies (anything John Hughes), my malls, my MTV, my 1975 VW Van, and of course- some friends I made along the way. (Jo, Becky, Charlene, Jeff, Lisa, Fred to name a few. All who through the miracle of Facebook I still get an occasional update)
I am also thankful for what we did not have back in the day — modern-day conveniences that would have gotten me into even deeper trouble than I was usually in.
I gotta admit, I didn’t give my parents the easiest time. I wasn’t bad, like Juvie bad, but I wasn’t especially good. For example, I would sneak out of the house to meet up with my friends by sneaking out the sliding glass door, creeping around the house, then start my car that was badly in need of a new muffler. I got caught changing my report card grades, I was in a couple fender benders, got pulled over on more than one occasion and may have had a few drinks under age.
Plain and simple, I was pretty bad… at being bad.
With today’s technology there’s no way I would have ever gotten away with anything.
Back in the ’80s, our version of texting was called “note passing.” Friends passed notes back and forth all the time; we passed notes with girls, other guys, anyone just to pass the time. Notes about the party Friday night because Fred’s parents would be out of town, notes about who you would take or “would you go with me?”
Today with texting, I would have been SCREWED. My parents would have known everything from who was going out with who to who was drunk and sloppy the night before and who was buying the beer. Given my style and complete inability to cover my tracks, Mom would have totally put the kibosh on my life.
Again with the technology! If I had GPS in my car to track my every move, I guess I would have thought it was Knight Ridercool and kind of creepy. So much for the old, “You tell your parents you’re spending the night at my house and I’ll tell my parents I’m spending the night at yours,” or “We’re going to Rocky Horror, see you around 2:30 a.m.” when in reality, I was on the beach with my friends entertaining a group of French exchange students.
3. Driver’s license
Here’s a random one: In NY in the mid-80’s, we took Driver’s Education in school. Driver’s Ed was taught by the Shop Teacher. They were nice enough guys but I think we spent most of our time driving around down doing errands for them.
There were no photos on licenses so all you ever had to do was borrow someone’s license whose description was at least CLOSE to yours. Hair color, eye color, height and weight. Mine was Jerome Casey. I think he was 28!
4. Report cards.
I had a friend who taught me how easy it was to change “F” into “B” with two little precise pen moves. “D”s could also be manipulated into less convincing “B”s. I loved English and History class, but I was not the best student, and had issues in anything math or science-related. Oh, and foreign languages, too… not so good. Not a problem!
Report cards were mailed to the house. At no other time of the year did I take any sort of interest in the mail, but come report card time, I was like a spy on a covert mission — operation intercept report card. I became obsessed with getting the mail, asking what was in the mail and wondering had the mail come yet and I missed it?
Today, parents can go online and closely monitor their children’s progress. They can email the guidance counselors, see test scores, homework assignments and yes, report card grades. Technology.
Every once and a while my son will come across a photo of me, Rockin’ the Mullet. Always painful.
Even though I got in my fair share of trouble and made many fashion “statements” I look back with such love on my big, fat ’80s upbringing. I’m hopelessly nostalgic and thankful that today’s technology did not exist, leading me to be on a lifetime of permanent double restriction with no phone or TV privileges.
And I have to admit… I’m kinda grateful that I can check out my sons’ report card grades online and sneak peeks at his text messages.
Thank you, technology.