Saturday, July 08, 2006


I say this as I lay my head upon my formerly jelly-bracelet covered arm: I am getting older.

Not old. OldER. The fact that I still contend with zits on a regular basis does not negate the reality that a nieghbor's child, whom I am absolutely sure was born about five years ago, just started an internship with GE.

There are certain virtues, however, to being older. You acquire a particular kind of wisdom. You gaze back upon the vast expanse of your life and certain aspects of it are placed in a unique perspective that leads you to discover that you acted, in your youth, like a complete and total loser. For instance, it has occurred to me that:

•The New Kids on the Block were not, perhaps, the musical geniuses I once perceived them to be.

Here were five young men, currently employed at a Wal-Mart near you, who rose to stardom on the following lyric:





This is not to say, however, that the New Kids did not devote themselves to artistic growth throughout their stellar three-year reign on the cover of that sublime journalistic masterpiece, “Bop”. In their most recent album, “Step By Step”, the New Kids participate in admirable consciousness-raising by asking us,

“How could you play me

Like a champ, a tramp, a cramp

Girl you did me worse than a food stamp.”

To the New Kid’s credit, this courageous musical stance has deeply affected the way I conduct my adulthood interpersonal relationships. “One of the things I love about Mary Beth,” my friends are always saying, “is that she never does me worse than a food stamp.”

•Upon further review, poofing my bangs to heights where they required flashing airplane warning lights was not particularly flattering.

Never was this more apparent to me than in college, when I helped DJ an 80’s music event for a campus radio station. Spinning the greatest hits of Richard Marx, however, (both of them) meant I had to dress the part. This entailed entering into major curling iron negotiations with my hair, which, in a fit of self-defense, adamantly forbade me to poof it. “You and I have already discussed this issue,” said my bangs as they stubbornly refused to tease skyward. “We’ve BEEN through this. We agreed this is not a good thing. BACK AWAY FROM THE PICK.”

•In retrospect, it may have been a waste of money to attempt to smell like Debbie Gibson.

Once, long ago, I received for Christmas a tiny spray bottle. Inside this bottle was a neon pink fluid, and floating within this fluid was a plastic flourescent lightning bolt. This fluid was: Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth” Perfume.

Miss Gibson, for those of you who are currently $15.00 richer than the person who purchased this for me, was a musical entertainer whose work approached the quality of, but was not quite as exquisite as, that of the New Kids on the Block’s. The Gibson scent “Electric Youth” was inspired by the Gibson song “Electric Youth”, which announced that the teenagers of America were, quote, “Zappin’ it to ya.”

If my rapidly ageing olfactory senses serve me correctly, if both Miss Gibson’s song and scent accurately reflected my generation, we zapped it to ya smelling like inexpensive prostitutes. The overpowering odor of “Electric Youth” could be detected from several miles away and quite possibly contributed to the 80’s greatest bulk of hole-growth in the ozone layer.

•Arraying ourselves in entirely neon may not, styisitically, have been the best way to go.

I am told that the top career route for my generation is geriatrics-- training ourselves to care for the even-older-than-WE-are Baby Boomers. I predict that the big-money field for our children will be optometry, specifically cornea replacement surgery. It will be a necessary part of life for our generation after so many years of exposure to fluorescent clothing.

I myself at one time had a wardrobe that enabled me to impersonate the following:

-Chernobyl resident

-Cyndi Lauper’s hair

-The sun

Our sole source of comfort, my fellow aging breakdancers, is that with growing older comes the ability to buy alcohol. So join me for a margarita and a rerun of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the episode in which the Duke boys are falsely accused of a crime and several car chases ensue. We may reach a state where we can forget that “Punky Brewster” ever existed!

Otherwise, as Michael Jackson grows more gender and racially confused by the day, simply be thankful that you’re closer to natural death than you ever were before.

building this city at:


Josh The Pilot said...

I love you Mary Beth because you don't do me worse than a food stamp. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, does anyone remember that episode of CHiPs where after participating in a roller-disco sequence, Ponch and John then with huge Pepsodent smiles gleaming, gave each other a big thumbs up?

Oh wait, that was all of them.

Lynn M said...

I had the same epiphany last night, while waiting in line for Pirates of the Caribbean 2. I realized that it takes the span of years to realize that such teenage behaviour as

- constantly cramming and elbowing with your cutest e-va purse the lady waiting in line in front of you cannot be excused away by claiming you have some kind of hyperactivity disorder

- screaming shrill-ly at near airplane-engine decibles when your very bestest best girlfriend in the whole wide world and her twenty seven other bestest best friends join you to cut in front of the other 300 people waiting in line behind you is not charming

- driving a daddy-funded red Mazda RX-8 with blue neon underlighting and pulling up in front of the movie theater to get the very best parking spot might seem like the uber-coolest thing in the world to show off to your buddies, someday you'll realize it's just a sign of a future mid-life crisis in the making

- mostly, despite the fact that I know I must have been a teenager at some point in my life, I'm certain I was never so completely ridiculous in my whole life.

No way. Not me. Despite what my mom says. She lies.

Emchi said...

Oh dear god... it's another flashback.. had a lot of those lately thanks to my aunt, and an old picture album I got back following my mothers death... my acid jacket. I say acid, because well I think you need to be on it to contemplate wearing such a monstrosity... flourescent padded jacket, with just about every flourescent colour on it... matched with yellow neon socks. I kid you not, I looked a fool.

Of course there is also the New Kids on the Block... Why did I like them so? Now can you remember little Joey Joe singing little drummer boy on the Christmas Album... if so, can you tell me why I now can. Now for the cheese... Keep "hangin' tough" doing it "step by step" (yes, you can slap me now)

Anonymous said...

Oh, emchi, honey, my boyfriend Donnie sang "Little Drummer Boy." Because, you see, in the four seconds of their concerts when they actually played instruments, his was drums. I think Joey-Joe did "Funky Funky X-Mas."

eternaldamnation said...

I would hold my head up high and say, I was NOT a New Kids fan, but then I remember that I was totally "2 legit 2 quit" and I can still do the hand dance moves to prove it.

eternaldamnation said...

Which was MC Hammer, which was quite possibly worse.

Josh The Pilot said...

Hey, the Hammer was awesome!

erica said...

my girlfriends and I all got together and decided which "NKOTB" member was betrothed to whom. I got paired with Donnie because we're both blonde haired/blue eyed. We'd have beautiful children. Very scary : )

Rick said...

I don't even want to think about my teenage years. I was was, without a doubt some kind of uber-nerd. Wait a minute, I still am. I'm doomed.

We didn't have NKOTB in my day but we had Donny Osmnd, Bobby Sherman, David and Shaun Cassidy. They made NKOTB possible.

my kidz mom said...

My triple threat: quiana, a bad perm, and disco. Git down wicho bad sef!

Pam said...

Jon was my NKOTB of choice -- I go for the quiet, sensitive guys.

What's freaking me out is that the 80's fashions are striking back. Walking through Sears last week, I saw a display which paired blue jean shorts with leggings -- leggings which were embelished with lace around the ankles. Very "Clarissa Explains it All." On the same day, at Old Navy, I came very close to purchasing the most florescent pink shirt I've seen since 8th grade.

Carrie said...

I can proudly say that I never sported the mile-high bangs, nor was I ever particularly infatuated with any of the New Kids on the Block. I did, however, own a lovely assortment of neon-colored "t-shirt slides," because nothing says fashion like creating a limp tail of cotton to dangle next to one's hip. I also rolled my jeans to the point of almost losing circulation in my ankles and feet. The best, however, were the oversized plastic frames on my various pairs of glasses, since I was cursed with rotten eyesight starting at age eight.

SassyQuack said...

Oh MB, I'm sorry to have to inform you that in fact, Donnie was MY boyfriend.

Last week, I was happy-and mildly horrified-to discover that it is possible to relive all of the most important SUPER COOL pop culture moments of my youth via YouTube.

Grammar Queen- I too have witnessed the travesty that is Leggings Redux. It is very important that we all band together to put a stop to this before it can spread further!

Zappin it to ya.

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