6 Things Our Kids Will Never Know About

Record PlayerA recent conversation with a coworker gave me the idea for this blog. The conversation started out as most Monday morning conversations do, “What did you do this weekend?” This led me to respond with, “I found a box of cassette tapes and I sat around listening to them.” In which my young (I’d guess 20ish) coworker responded with, “what’s that?”

How does someone, presumably, only 10 years younger than me not know what cassette tapes are? At first I wanted to cry, but then I decided to just write about it. In doing so, I came up with a list of things that my daughter (and yet to be conceived other children) will probably never know about.

8 Track PlayerRecords / 8 tracks/ Cassettes

I have at various times had fairly decent record and cassette tape collections. The highlight of my record collection was a pristine copy of “The Beatles” (commonly known as “The White Album”). I was proud of my Smiths/Morrissey record collection that I amassed prior to Ebay’s inception. That was a hell of a feat that could probably be accomplished within minutes via Ebay today.

I’ll confess. I barely remember 8 tracks. My uncle had a Toyota Cressida that had an 8 track player back around 1986, but didn’t own any actual 8 track tapes. I did buy a box of 8 tracks at 1st Monday a few years back and then I spent the rest of the day trying to find an 8 track player to no avail. I ended up selling the 8 tracks on Ebay. Considering that the entire box of 20 or so 8 tracks cost me $5 and I made over $300 after fees and shipping, I’d say that I was probably better off having not found anything to play them on.

My tape collection had many highlights, for their time. I had all of the late 80’s/early 90’s rap and R&B tapes. Including, but not limited to: Third Bass, Big Daddy Kane, Bobby Brown (which I traded INXS’ “Kick” for), and Bell Biv Devoe (Ironically, I traded a Poison tape for a tape with the song “Poison” on it.) My favorite of all of my tapes was the Beastie Boys’ “Licensed to Ill” that Heath Herman* (name changed) and I ended up splitting the cost of. The idea was that we would share the tape and alternate weeks. Needless to say, I dubbed him a copy and he got to live with that. We were never really friends after that. I blame it on him. He wanted us to buy Salt N Pepa’s “Hot, Cool, & Vicious”.

Beta MaxLaser Disc8mm / BetaMax / Laser Disks

I never owned any of these. Most of them were made obsolete before they ever became affordable for my mom to buy. Actually, laser disks had a time when they were incredibly affordable. It was after Sony stopped making laser disk players. Sound Warehouse (the music chain in most malls throughout the 80’s and 90’s) had tons of the disks that they couldn’t give away. The most prized laser disks were the various “movies” put out by Playboy. My favorite was “Wet n Wild 4”. I tried to buy it 3 different times. The sales clerks would never go for it. Not that it mattered, I didn’t own a laser disk player to watch it.

***Special Note*** VHS isn’t that far off. Pretty soon, VHS tapes will be relegated solely to the 25 cent bins at thrift stores and swap meets. They will be right next to the HD-DVD’s that nobody can play on their BluRay players.

LikmaidFruit Flavored Candy that Doesn’t have Blue-Raspberry

It used to be that there were 3 fruit candy flavors: cherry, grape, and banana. That was it. Occasionally, the candy manufacturers gave us mixed fruit, but we all knew it was just cherry and grape mixed together. We didn’t have blue-raspberry. On that note, what is blue-raspberry? Blue-raspberries don’t grow naturally in the wild. It’s not a combination of blue berry and raspberry or a milder blackberry. This is the worst candy flavor ever. It sucks and it’s only good for turning your tongue and teeth a lovely shade of blue. At least when cherry turned your tongue red, it looked fairly normal.

AtariNintendoAtari / Nintendo

When I was in the 4th grade (1987-1988), Atari was on it’s way out and Nintendo was just starting to declare it’s video game dominance. I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but Atari was making a big push with their $50 crapbox. I begged my mother for one, because I didn’t think we could afford the $100 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). I even wrote Santa a letter explaining why I wanted an Atari, even though Steven Hipple’s* (name not changed) NES was much, much better. In a twist of sweet irony, I ended up getting a NES from Santa. This ultimately led to what will now, and forever, be known as the “Super Mario Brothers 2 Betrayal”. It was the 5th grade equivalent of the U.S. Civil War and its effects still linger. It was one of the contributing factors of why I didn’t go to my 10 year high school reunion.

$2 Bill $2 Bills

After a funny incident at Starbuck’s over me trying to pass a “fake” $2 bill, I have realized that people under 25 yrs old don’t know what they are. Ok, let me rephrase that: If you are under 25 and have never worked as a “dancer”, you *probably* don’t know what a $2 bill is. The same goes for the half dollar coins. That is unless your grandmother has given you one from the stockpile that grandmothers keep in their purse. I don’t give the penny much longer either. Slowly, lesser used monetary denominations are being phased out and will soon be relegated to the realm of collectors and dumbasses that place too much value on currency that is becoming more and more worthless every day.

This reminds me of when I was bartending a few years back. I was chatting with my early afternoon crowd between the Jeopardy and the Double Jeopardy rounds (This was back when Jeopardy came on at 3pm on WFAA). We were discussing the newest state quarter. I think it was Michigan, but don’t quote me on that. A “gentleman” who had already had a few shots yells out, “HEY! Can you imagine how much a collection of all 50 state quarters is going to be worth?” In which I promptly, and pompously, responded “YEAH! $12.50!”

Robin WilliamsEddie MurphyA Funny Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy

Maybe I’m just getting old and my memory is starting to fade, but I’m pretty sure that both Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy used to be funny. I can remember watching stand-up specials of Williams and Murphy from the early 80’s. Sure, I spent most of the time with my index fingers inserted into my ears, at my parent’s request. Lucky for me, I still have enough of my memories that I am able to remember that these two guys were, at one time, funny

My poor daughter only knows both of them as the guys that were in such craptastic movies as RV and NORBIT. Luckily, she is young enough to still find that crap funny.

Maybe one day after she turns 21, we’ll break out my VHS dubs of Eddie Murphy’s RAW and Robin Williams’ A NIGHT AT THE MET. Both are legendary.

© 2008 – 2009, Nicholas Johnson. All rights reserved.


  1. says

    I still have my old cassette tapes. I made alot of my own home grown tapes with me being a DJ and having my own talk show. I guess I was born to be a podcaster in some right. I am only 20 and I firmly remember Cassettes. I guess I was a late adopter of the wonders of the CD when it came out. I still remember the skill needed in rewinding and fast forwarding cassettes to find the song you wanted.

    I have several $2 dollar bills in storage and my parents gave me them in change the other day and I gave it back after informing them the vending machines will no longer take the 2 dollar bill.

    We gave most of our commercially produced VHS tapes away to charity the weekend Blue Ray was declared the winner even though we no longer owned a working VCR. They made the VCRs so crappy in the end. You needed to buy one when they were still competing against the new more expensive DVD player to find one that was worth the money.

  2. says

    Great article.
    I constantly sit my kiddos down and compare what we had when we were growing up, with what they have (and don’t). Every time a “new” song comes our or a “new” movie, that I know is remake of something from my generation, I order it, play it or find a YouTube posting on the Internet and share it with my kiddos. I don’t think its a nuisance like our grandparents were with the old “when we were kids we had to walk through snow to get to school” stuff, but more of a history lesson of what life was like for Daddy when I was a kid.

    It’s a great way to share ideas for creativity with my kids and a fun way for them to laugh with Dad….
    And if they don’t listen, I treat them like nerds, take their lunch money, buy a new boom box where I can break-dance outside, before popping in the digitally re-mastered copy of “Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo” and enjoy a delicious box of Captain Crunch all to myself!!!!

  3. Jessie (Little) Sharp says

    This was great! I laughed through the whole thing. You are a very good writer and story-teller.
    I tell my students some sidenotes while I am lecturing, like “Anyone…anyone… from Ferris Beuller’s Day off” and no one laughs. This shows that either I am not funny or that movie was before their time. Each year I know they are getting younger (which means I am getting older) because they look like they should be in high school – not college.

    Great story. :)

  4. Katherine says

    How does a 20 year old not know what cassette tapes are? I’m 18 and I grew up with them. I always joke with my friends about how things have changed so quickly because when I was 6, I wanted a Walkman that played cassettes, and this year my 5 year old cousin asked for an Ipod for Christmas.

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