Okay, first off, let me tell you that this is my first ever article for Retro Junk. I'm sure it won't be up to everyone's standards, but I love writing and figured this would be a fun way to write something...you know...fun!
I was born in 1979, so according to my calculator that means that I went to school from 1985 to 1997. When I look back at my school years, something I fondly remember are all those snow days and sick days I got to take off. I live in New England, which of course means that the winters were actually that; winter! We had snow storms just like in the movies! And because of that we got off school quite frequently. Not only that but since I was one of those annoying kids who got straight A's without needing to study (I'm sorry, that's just how it was!), combined with the fact that I was good at playing sick, I was able to pull off pretending to be sick pretty frequently, without hurting my grades, as well so I could stay home!
Granted, just the idea of not being home was thrilling enough, but what really made these days so exciting was the way you could spend the day like no other regular day! So which one ended up being better? Well lets examine them in more depth.
Starting with...SNOW DAYS!
Very rarely would a snow day catch you by suprise. Granted you never knew for sure until that morning, but thanks to the weather report, most kids had a pretty good feeling that school would be cancelled if a storm was predicted. In fact, most snow days of my youth really started the night before, with me arguing with my mom that school would DEFINATELY be cancelled the next day and that I could stay up until 10 playing Final Fantasy, and it would be no problem.
Of course there were plenty of times when it didn't snow and we had to go to school. Or it did snow, but it did it early enough for the roads to be cleared, or not enough to trigger a snow day. Those days sucked. But when you actually had a no school snow day things were interesting.
To begin with, if the snow was bad enough (or if they couldn't spring for a babysitter) one or more of your parents ended up staying home with you.
Pro: Your mom stays home and makes you hot chocolate, you'll probably get something yummy like mac and cheese for lunch, and you get to spend quality time with your parents.
Con: Your dad doesn't let you sleep in and instead gets you out of bed at 5:30 to help shovel the driveway and clean off the cars (and then mom will yell at you for getting the floor all yucky with the snow). You can't spend the whole day outside playing in the snow because they're afraid you'll get frostbite. And you HAVE to spend quality time with your parents.
But still there's plenty of fun to be had on a snow day. I for one loved to use the snow as an excuse to spend the day playing NES or my SNES in later years.
Ah yes, the golden days of Nintendo. I can distinctly remember having spent almost an entire snow day playing Crystalis (I am pretty sure I played it all the way through). My NES and SNES got so much use on snow days I can't even begin to tell you. I can even remember convincing my mom to drive me out to the video store so that I could rent a couple of games. I'm sure she wanted to go and rent herself some movies too, since she probably enjoyed the excuse to stay home from work almost as much as we did staying home from school.
But like everything else, there are good things and bad things about spending your day playing video games:
Pro: You get to play video games...for the whole day...and your parents can't tell you to go outside and play because there's a blizzard out there!
Con: Assuming your parents actually let you get away with playing video games all day, you also might suffer from video game fatigue, that general nauseous feeling you get from staring at the tv all day. Then there's the problem of loser's compulsion, where you refuse to be beat by a game (particuarly since you have all day to beat it), so you retry the same level over and over and over and over and over, each time getting stuck or killed or whatever but REFUSING TO GIVE UP. Which results in you being in a foul arse mood.
This was always particuarly problematic for me while facing Frank and Igor in Castlevania. I think I've only ever beat them once, and that was back when I used to play video games all the time. Now I'm lucky if I can even make it to them with enough health to take one hit.
Your other fun diversion inside while on a snow day would probably be trashy daytime tv. If you're lucky enough to have your own tv, you can watch whatever you want (remember when Nickelodeon would alter their programming on obvious snow days so that they'd play awesome stuff on snow days, instead of the typical preschool geared shows and weird stuff nobody ever watched?). But even if you weren't you still probably got to watch something fun like game shows, because frankly there is nothing on tv during weekdays (true now as it was then!). One of my personal favorites was "Press Your Luck" as seen above. I can't even tell you how much fun I had watching those trashy game shows!
Pros: You get to watch all the tv you want.
Cons: But there's nothing on tv, unless Nick is playing something cool, or you can deal with game shows. Plus its highly likely that dear old mom or dad will commandeer the remote and you had to watch soap operas or "Golf's Greatest Birdies" or some crazy crap.
Snow days always started off like a dream, no school, an entire day of playing video games or watching tv stretched before you, but all the video game related aggrivation, crappy tv, and cabin fever ended up getting the best of any happy family and by the end of it...
Yikes! Stay tuned for part 2: Sick Days