Thursday, October 30, 2008

We are the Children of the Eighties

A friend of mine gave me this poem when we graduated high school. For some reason, I've held on to it all these years. I am now facing simultaneously, and for the first time; my thirties, a serious career and fatherhood. The poem is a sort of call to action, a who are we, and where are we going. I wonder if the author, who has escaped into anonymity, is proud of what we have made of our times. We eighties children are prone, over the next ten years, to take over everything. The Baby Boomers are retiring in droves and more and more it will be left to us to run things. Are we up to it?

We are the Children of the eighties.
We are not the first "lost generation," nor are we today's lost generation;
In fact, we think we know just where we stand-
Or are discovering it as we speak.

We are the ones who gave Malibu Barbie crew cuts with Safety Scissors that never really cut.
We collected Garbage Pail Kids and Cabbage Patch Kids and My Little Ponies,
and Hot Wheels and He-Man action figures and thought She-Ra looked just a little bit
Like I would when I was a woman.

Big Wheels and Bicycles with streamers were the way to go,
and sidewalk chalk was all you needed to build a city.
Imagination was the key.
It made the Ewok Treehouse big enough for you to be Luke
and the kitchen table and an old sheet dark enough to be a tent in the forest
You world was the backyard and it was all you needed.

WIth yout pink portable tape player, Debbie Gibson sang backup to you,
and everyone wanted a skirt like The Material Girl and a Glove like Michael Jackson's
Today, we are the ones who sing along with Bruce Springsteen and The Bangles perfectly,
and have no idea why.

We recite lines with the Ghostbusters and still look to the Goonies for a great adventure.
We flip through T.V. stations and stop at The A Team, and Knight Rider and Fame
and laugh with the Cosby Show and Family Ties and Punky Brewster
and "what you talkin bout Willis?"
We hold strong affections for The Muppets, and the Gummy Bears,
and why did they take The Smurfs off the air?

After School Specials were only about cigarettes and step-families,
The Pokka-Dot Door was nothing like Barney,
and aren't the Power Rangers just Voltron reincarnated?
We are the ones who still read Nancy Drew, and the Hardy BoysThe Bobbsey Twins,
Beverly Clearly and Judy Blume, Richard Scary and the Electric Company.

Friendship bracelets were ties you coudn't break, and friendship pins went on shoes,
preferably hightop Velcro Reebox - and peeged jeans were in,
as were Units Belts, and layered socks and jean jackets and jams
and charm necklaces and side ponytails and rat's tails.
Rave was a girl's best friend; braces with collored rubber made youcool.

The backdoor was always open and Mom servedonly red Kool-Aid to the neighborhood kids-
never drank new-Coke.
Entertainment was cheap and lasted for hours.
All you needed to be Princess was high-heels and an apron;
the Sit'n'Spin always made you dizzy, but never made you stop;
Pogoballs were dangerous weapons
and Chinese jump ropes never failed to trip someone.

In your Underoos you were Wonder Woman, or Spider Man or R2D2
and in your treehouse you were king.
In the eighties, nothing waswrong.

Did you know the president was Shot? Star Wars was not only a movie.
Did you ever play in a bomb shelter? Did you see the Challenger explode,
or feed the homeless man?
We forgot Vietnam and watched Tiananman Squair on CNN
and bought pieces of the Berlin Wall. AIDS was not the number one killer.

We didn't start the fire Billy Joel. In the eighties we redifined the dream, and those years defined us.
We are the generation in between strife and facing strife, and not turning our backs.
The eighties have made us idealistic,
But it's that idealism that will push us and be passed on to our children -
The first children of the twenty-first century.
Never forget: We are the children of the eighties.

I hope that I haven't just stollen anyone's intelectual property. Wow what an anti-eighties idea. If you know the author of this please let me know so that I may give her (I presume) credit.

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