Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Plus Ten 

In celebration of ten years: In January 1996, I moved out of my childhood home and began classes as a UC-Santa Barbara Gaucho. There were many difficult adjustments: living in a tiny dorm room with an aloof roommate, being denied my biggest addiction (television) because the dorm's TV kept getting wrecked. Having to walk down the hall to use the bathroom and several hundred feet to get a meal.

Still, after a lifetime of wanting and waiting to get out of the house, there were plenty of new things to be thankful for: living in a dorm that was less than one hundred feet from the beach, being able to come and go without even so much as notifying anybody, being in an intellectual environment far more stimulating than the one I was in before (this is even with the shenanigans of a dorm full of spoiled college kids).

Among those nifty new things was that mysterious Internet. "Get email," one friend in particular said. "Ha, just what I need. Another method that people can bug me. Please." Still, I went ahead and signed up for the free University email, and after promptly forgetting my password and having to ask Computer Services for a new one, I plunged into the online world.

It's funny; I still don't know who I initially figured out how to use Netscape and email. Nobody showed me, I just somehow figured it out.

Needless to say, I found the Internet was perfectly acceptable. That whole email thing was sort of useful, too.

On that note, here is a reprint of the first email I received, an appropriately cheesy and oversent forward, the first of what would be many. I certain most of you are very familiar with this one, but I will repost for the sake of posterity, and for those who somehow missed it:

Children of the Eighties, continued . . .

We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first "lost
generation" nor 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
played with Lego Building Blocks when they were just building blocks and
gave Malibu Barbie crewcuts 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. Your world was the
backyard and it was all you needed. With your pink portable
tape player, Debbie Gibson sang back up 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
Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, Beverly Clearly and Judy Blume, Richard Scary and the
Electric Company. Friendship bracelets were ties you couldn't break and
friendship pins went on shoes - preferably hightop Velcro Reebox - and
pegged jeans were in, as were Units belts and layered socks and jean
jackets and jams and charm necklaces and side pony tails and just
tails. Rave was a girl's best friend; braces with colored rubberbands
made you cool. The backdoor was always open and Mom served only red
Kool-Aid to the neighborhood kids- never drank New Coke. Entertainment
was cheap and lasted for hours. All you needed to be a 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 was wrong. 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's Square on CNN and bought pieces of the
Berlin Wall at the store. AIDS was not the number one killer in the
United States. We didn't start the fire, Billy Joel. In the Eighties, we
redefined the American Dream, and those years defined us. We are the
generation in between strife and facing strife and not turning our backs. The
Eighties may 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.

if this is familiar, you are one of us... pass it on to all the others

Jesus you still have that? (sorry. I KNOW I'm the one that sent it :) )

DAMN, though.

Also, let us not forget the charming dorm moment when your neighbor came in to ask you for towels.... ;)
Hmmm, I had forgotten about that one. If the towels were for what I think I remember they were for, ewww!
I know I'm a bit late in posting this (catching up on my Internet reading, finally)...

I'm glad you did choose UCSB, because it's how we met :) I kept all the e-mails people sent me whil I was there, so don't feel strange about that...I still have the first snowball fight you ever sent me.
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