Call me the Halloween Scrooge—I just don’t find any fun in this day and think it’s absurd that it’s even a “holiday.” I haven’t been a Scrooge all my life and I have no religious objections to the day. I just don’t enjoy Halloween. Maybe it’s because I hate orange and black or that the costumes are uncomfortable and leave me freezing my ass off. This is what I remember of Halloween growing up. “Remember” being the key word here because in a recent search to discover the roots of my Halloween scroogeness, I came to realize I have NO photos of me as a kid with any Halloween costume—and neither does my brother! This is a tragedy in today’s shutterbug culture! (Of course, not an Easter or Christmas passed without a photo by the Christmas tree or the blooming azalea bush.)
As an adult, I tried to make up some ground and dressed up for college street parties. Apparently, cameras were more accessible in the 90’s than the 70’s and 80’s, so all was not lost and I have some memories of my attempts of Halloween dressing up. But at some point, my Halloween Scrooge-persona emerged and I said, “Goodbye” to costumes, parties and even the candy. This moment, I attribute to a “red rice” incident my senior year. You figure it out!
A wise friend recently told me, “You’re smarter than 98% of the general population.”She tells me this after I continually bitch about how stupid people are. I just don’t remember people being so dumb 10 or 15 years ago. These people are all around us. They’re the Customer Service Rep at Target who makes you call three people in India to solve a problem that can easily be handled in 5 minutes. It’s the cashier at The Giant who only knows paper or plastic and freaks out when you have your own bag.
I complain a lot about these people being stupid, but maybe they have an excuse. Maybe they came up in a poor education system and didn’t have all the resources I did growing up.This is unfortunate and I’ve accepted that as the US has grown, the ability to provide a sound education for everyone has been diminished. Now, I’m not going all political and I’m not making excuses. It’s just a fact.
That aside, the dumbest of the dumb are actually those who walk the halls of corporate America.Many of these have advanced degrees and I’m not knocking the degree. I have one too! What makes them dumb is their insecurity to be themselves. They go around repeating words like “synergy,” “value-add,” “bandwidth” and “alignment” which they think because someone with a bigger degree from a better school said it will in turn make them sound that smart too. It’s a vicious circle where no one wins because there’s always going to be someone smarter than you.
For most of my life, I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by very smart people. In school, I socialized with the ‘higher-level’ kids and in my professional life I’ve had to work on projects with Harvard Business grads and PhD scientists from MIT; this for a girl who had to cheat in Chemistry to get a D. See, I’ve always known that I wasn’t the smartest and I just didn’t let it bother me. I accepted my limitations in math and science and just gravitated to what I did best. To me, that’s being smart: do what you do best, be yourself and just ignore the rest.Do this and you’ll be smarter than 98% of the population too!
My SWGHS class reunion was last October, but at the time I was so deep in the Big Red Engine craziness I really didn’t have time to think about what life was like back in 1990. Tonight, as I was working out I noticed an old Purple Rain video was on and it got me thinking about what movies, tv shows, songs, etc. were all the rage in 1990, the year the Class of 1990 said good-bye to lockers, pep rallies and Friday night football.
So for the Class of 1990, these are for you.
Movie of the Year: Driving Miss Daisy (Never did see that one. Somehow watching an old woman get driven around didn’t appeal to me then or now.)
Best Comedy: Murphy Brown (This show inspired me that if I never married, I could still have a kid on my own. I guess this could still happen. I think I’d rather have a kid than a husband anyway! )
Best Drama: LA Law (Yep, didn’t watch this. I knew then and I know now that lawyers just aren’t for me.)
Song of the Year: Wind Beneath My Wings (Must be the worst song ever. Every time I hear this song, I cringe and turn the station. I’m convinced all copies should be destroyed along with every Shaina Twain song.)
NCAA Champion: UNLV over Duke (Probably, the best thing that happened that year)
Trivia: Milli Vannili admits to lip-synching. (I don’t care who sang it, I still love “Blame it on the Rain”)
Cost of a stamp: .25
So as I look back, I would say it was a lack-luster year and one I’d just soon forget. The only thing that really mattered back then was getting the heck out of the house and finding someone to buy the beer.
My Saturday morning started with an early morning showing of the 1994 Gen X classic, Reality Bites. Fifteen years later, the movie still strikes a chord and makes me wonder if we ever got over our quest for nirvana in a world ruled by Baby Boomers?
Looking around at my friends, it seems we’ve grown up. After all, we’ve moved out of sharing an apartment and rent with friends, to sharing a mortgage with a spouse. We’ve traded the Big Gulp for Chardonnay and microbrews. And we’ve moved from The Gap to jobs with companies that provide benefits to our families and pay us enough well enough to send our kids to private school. On the surface, reality doesn’t look so bad anymore. Or does it?
Today’s reality equals mortgages, child care, car payments, alimony, child support and sucky jobs. We may have grown up, but the realities fifteen years later just have a higher price tag than that of Lelaina’s $400 phone bill to the Psychic Friends’ Network.
We’re conflicted. Lelaina’s father tells her, “The problem with your generation is there’s no work ethic,” while in the same breath he tells her to “use her ingenuity.” Okay, so we find jobs that pay us well for our knowledge and skills and it pays for the stuff that our parents and society tell us we’re suppose to have, all the while the ‘establishment’ is killing our sense of creativity, and the ingenious spirit that propels us to move forward.
Troy’s fired from 11 jobs, but all he wants to do anyway is play music. He refuses to sell out, even when everyone’s telling him to get up before noon and get a job. In hindsight, he’s a trailblazer and we all really want to be like Troy, refusing to sell our soul to the establishment. His courage to pursue his passion, something that his rival, Michael, the up-tight, Saab driving, movie producer does not have is still inspiring today. After all, an entire industry devoted to finding your passion has proliferated since Troy and Lelaina fought to buck the established rules of 9 to 5 created by our parents.
Vickie’s proud of being a Manager at The Gap. She lives for the moment and for that moment she’s content with the intricacies of folding t-shirts and jeans all day, even when she’s tortured with the thoughts of dying with AIDS. Maybe the fear of dying of AIDS diminished as we married, but the thoughts of lay-offs, failure, and missed opportunities continue to haunt us. No matter what the world sees on the outside, we’re always tortured with something.
So maybe we have larger paychecks and larger responsibilities, and maybe we’re no longer in “the winter of discontent.” But in the end, we still know that reality still bites.
Sometimes when my evil twin and angelic twin collide they do not always play fairly. Today, my angelic twin was cleaning out old photos and having difficulty throwing away such precious faces from the past. And then my evil twin appeared and said, why not scan and make a post of it. Now I did spare some of them for future posts when the two forces will inevitably collide again, but today, I was taken in by the huge Mr. T influence of gold necklaces, which all those dear friends who were kind enough to give me their school photo are proudly displaying.