Things My Kids Won't Know

I'm Kev. This is a list of things I did that my kids will never experience.

25. The Awesome HBO Intro

I know I usually start these posts off with a story, but in this case, it would be silly if I didn’t cut right to the chase.

If you are familiar with the awesome HBO intro, feel free to skip ahead. If you’re not, or if you just want to watch it again, click here. Ignore that static part. That’s new. We don’t like that.

Did you watch it? Good. That’s pretty much the greatest thing that ever happened. Now gather ‘round, while I regale you with amusing anecdotes from my past that you may or may not also remember.

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24. BMG

Kids love when you offer them things through magazines. It doesn’t matter how bad the deal is or how big of a scam it is. Young people, with their sweet dispositions and laughable naivety, will go all-in with literally any attempt at selling them something.

This was a lot more prevalent in the 50s, with grand offerings of decoder rings, x-ray glasses and sea monkeys. Each of them was a bigger pile of trash than the one before it, but kids wanted to believe, so they did.

When I was growing up, the offers had changed but their power was just as great. If you flipped through any magazine published in the 80s, it was impossible to get through it without landing on a full page ad that took advantage of our MTV obsession by promoting what could only be described as the deal of the century. A dozen cassettes (and later on, CDs) for just…one…penny.

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23. Passing Notes

Kids are pretty innovative, but they’re also very stupid. They’ll come up with some amazing ways to cheat on tests and then ruin it by being so obvious about it.

My generation’s genius move was transcribing entire tests on a scientific calculator and then handing it off to someone else. Of course, when half the kids in the class are passing around calculators during a history exam, the teachers caught on and our master plan was foiled.

Painstakingly writing text on a scientific calculator was as technologically advanced as it got for us. All other means of communication were done the old fashioned way: by scribbling on a piece of loose leaf, folding it up, and hand-delivering it to its recipient. These days, it seems like that process is rivaled in oldness only by the Pony Express.

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22. Smoking Indoors

Everyone knows jeans don’t get dirty.

You can seriously wear them like 200 to 250 times in a row before you have to consider a toss to the laundry basket. And even then, you don’t need to wash them. It’s just a kind of nice way to treat them after almost a year’s worth of dedication.

The only thing that screwed this equation up is when you would hang out at a smoky bar. When you got home, everything reeked. Your jeans, your shirts, and your hair. It was awful.

I don’t smoke, but even my friends who did smoke hated leaving a bar while still smelling like one.

Thankfully, New Jersey and many other states banned smoking while you were inside a bar. It was one of the last places left that you were allowed to smoke indoors. Thirty years ago, though, you could smoke just about anywhere. And it seems ridiculous now to have ever been able to smoke in some of those places.

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21. Cereal Commercials

It was only a few posts ago when I expressed my disgust at the so-called “obesity epidemic” and how it’s ruining everything for kids these days. But with Christmas right around the corner, I was reminded of one of the most egregious fallouts of the problem.

Back in 2007, the government started to toy around with the idea of passing a law that would limit advertising “unhealthy” products to kids. The list of unhealthy products was obviously lengthy, but one category stood tall above the rest: cereal.

Cereal commercials were the light beer ads of childhood. They were plentiful, they were unique, and some of them were awesome. One such commercial stood tall above the rest. Even without the picture above, I’m sure you’d know what I was talking about. It’s no secret. The legendary Fruity Pebbles Christmas Commercial has already been documented here and on many other places throughout the web for being the greatest thing that ever happened, ever.

And it’s that fact that makes my blood start to boil.

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20. The Full-Time Game Show Host

I know this blog is called “Things My Kids Won’t Know”, but I am hopeful that there is one thing they will know: on Monday through Friday, from 11AM to 12PM, you can count on CBS to deliver the best hour in television you can possibly see.

Sadly though, they will never experience the thrill of seeing Bob Barker host it.

This isn’t meant to be a knock on Drew Carey. “The Price is Right” is great because it’s fun, and Drew does a fine job steering the ship. But Bob was a showman, one of the last of a dying breed. He wasn’t famous for doing anything other than being a game show host. And he owned that role.

In a time when so many people gain fame for doing nothing, Bob was doing something. Sure, he wasn’t winning Oscars or helping underprivileged children in the Sudan, but he was a master of his craft. He fully embraced his medium and provided hours of entertainment and escape to millions of people.

And while Bob is certainly at the forefront of incredible game show hosts, it would be a travesty not to recognize the others that have brought just as much joy into our lives.

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19. *69

Caller ID used to be a big deal. Now your phone just does it. Asking someone if their phone has “caller ID” would be like asking them if it rang.

Before they were “smart”, phones used to live in a very confusing and complicated world. Instead of making the actual hardware better, phone companies just came up with different offerings to work around the shortcomings.

For example, for the low, low price of 75 cents a use, you too could experience the magic known as *69.

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18. Having Less than 40 TV Channels

There are some things in life that, for whatever reason, you just don’t forget. I’ll always remember that when I was growing up, Nickelodeon was on channel 33 and MTV was on channel 36.

MTV was one of the last channels you’d see before venturing into the barren wasteland of the 40s. Once you got to channel 42, there was only static. Heck, the TV itself only supported 46 channels.

Of course, this was long before the days of the cable box. Yes young readers, back then, the cable ran directly into the TV. When cable expanded to 70 channels, that’s when things got tricky.

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17. McDonaldland

I might have mentioned this before, but my sister and I each had only one birthday party growing up. Sure, we had our family over every year, but we both only had one real party. You know what I’m talking about - the one that’s at some awesome place where you could invite your friends from school.

Mine was at a bowling alley. I can’t remember if it’s because that’s what I really wanted or if it’s because that’s where my parents told me I was going. It was OK. My sister’s party, however, was at the mecca of 80s birthday entertainment - McDonald’s.

Having a birthday party at McDonald’s was amazing for many reasons, but the main reason was the cake. The cake itself was nothing too memorable, but on top of the cake sat a collection of McDonaldland characters that were made out of sugar. Ronald, Grimace, Birdie, the Hamburglar - they were all there, impeccably represented in delectable candy form.

When you were the birthday boy or girl, that beautiful sugary delicacy was all yours. Unless you were my sister, of course.

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16. Movies That Didn’t Have Commercials Before Them

Product placement never bothered me. I find it adds to the realism of a movie. If the line, “Fuller, go easy on the Pepsi,” had been replaced with the mention of a generic carbonated beverage, it just wouldn’t be the same.

And you can’t talk about the forced inclusion of products in films without bringing up the awesome “meta” scene in the original Wayne’s World movie. 30 Rock and countless others have done it since, but that part is the OG.

I’ll give an eye roll if the products are not organic to the scene, and if their use isn’t funny, and if it’s an otherwise dramatic moment, but for the most part I accept it and don’t notice it. It’s a part of moviemaking and whatever, it’s fine.

But commercials before the movie? Well…that’s a different story altogether.

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