Childhood and Getting Old

An unhealthy obsession with the best years of our lives.
April 03, 2007
As a child of the eighties, I was witness to a golden age of cartoons, as most of you were. It's funny how our grandparents and the old folks always say that life in their time was so much simpler. People were nicer and the world was new and free of the evils of today. Unfortunately, they were wrong and I've finally realized that. It's sheer lunacy to try and say that things were so different back then. Really, I think that it's not that things were so different back then, but that our perception of reality during childhood is what leaves that lasting impression in our minds for years to come, of a good world and a more pleasant time.

I was born in '78 and it's been a long road to the present time "in this foul year of our Lord" 2007. I remember getting up at the crack of dawn, the sun barely starting to cast a pink and orange glow over the landscape, and quietly creeping through the house to watch cartoons on Saturday morning. The best mornings were the ones when you were able to catch the network sign on. That early morning montage of scenes of America and the American flag that guaranteed you had not missed a single cartoon yet for the day. Careful fingers desperately tried to turn those enormous dials on the old TV without getting that deafening KUNK KUNK that would surely wake your mother and end up with you being sent back to bed with a "Are you crazy? It's 5:30 in the morning? Go back to sleep!"

I have a great memory when it comes to my earliest years and I can vividly recall my childhood back to the tender age of three. Of course, these days I can't tell you what I did yesterday or who I talked to at work, but my precious childhood memories are completely intact - which has led to an almost unhealthy obsession with the "best years of my life". And why not? What with shows like the Wuzzles, the Snorks, He-Man, Superfriends and a plethora of others. The rich variety of brilliant colors and memorable theme songs created a blissful web of total entertainment for young impressionable minds. Even the commercials hold a special place in my heart, as they should. These were the toy ads and cereal jingles that, to a kid, were like special news bulletins that kept you informed on current events. Had it not been for all those commercials, how would we have known about the cool new toys the other children were discussing on the playground? How else would you have known to buy Corn Pops for that Octopus shaped sticky wall walker, or the decoder rings in the box of Capn' Crunch? These were the current events that mattered to us.

The new Saturday morning cartoons have gotten a bad rap from a lot of those in our generation. "They don't draw them like they used to. There's too much computer animation. The themes aren't innocent anymore and today's kids aren't allowed to be kids." Hogwash, we may not enjoy these new creations (and we shouldn't as we're all quite a bit older now), but I'm sure they inspire the same wonder and amazement in today's kids as the old cartoons did for us. It's sad, but we have to come to the realization that we are the old folks now. We're the ones complaining about how much better things used to be and how the world has gone to hell. Things haven't changed at all. We have.

I encourage all of you retro-junkies to check out all the new DVD titles that have come out, as of lately, with old episodes of our favorites. The Spiderman boxed sets, the He-Man episode collections, whatever your poison, they have all been resurrected on DVD and now finally we can all relive the best time in our lives. After-all, does life ever really get better than it was when you were a kid? 'Nuff said.
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