I explained to Maribou that, for a while there, many of us in the 90’s would randomly yell out “NEW YORK CITY?!” That led to discussions of in-jokes that me and my friends had, and that led to discussions and rememberings of what it was like to be young and in college or young and just out of college and the various dynamics that existed at the time… the biggest fer instance was the whole “how often do we see our friends?” thing. In college, friends would knock on the door and you’d listen to an album with them. You’d go to a friend’s room and read a book on their couch instead your couch because, hey, their couch catches the sunlight better.

I remembered the time that my contract at Global Conglomerate ended and said “let’s drive to the Grand Canyon!” and we did. I remembered the other time that my other contract at International Amalgamation ended and we said “let’s drive to Las Vegas!” and we did.

The whole dynamic of when I made less than 16 bucks an hour and she made just over minimum wage and how it felt like we always had money in our pockets and free time to do stuff like “drive to another time zone” (just because we felt like it) and had a life where we were spending time with friends… to now where we have to pretty much schedule everything (EVERYTHING) two weeks in advance, to where everything is budgeted, and to where it feels like we never see our friends… the ones we used to have come over and sit on our couch while we listened to albums and discussed the books we read… how we see them so rarely anymore.

Then, of course, the big question:

Would you go back to that?


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. I’d go back to that if it was contingent on piles and piles of filthy, dirty, money.

    Otherwise, no.

  2. On one level, of *COURSE* we had to hang out! We didn’t have the internet!
    On another, it was nice to have friends come over and it be a pleasant surprise.

    On another, I wonder how much of this would change if we could go back to not needing an alarm clock, the way we didn’t need one then.

  3. I still live that way except my friends are three quarters of the way across the continent but the internet keeps me connected with them. Out in New Jersey one of my friends is just down the street and we hang out when we’re doing yardwork, etc. or when we have cash I’ll drive 36 miles to visit our other friends who I wished lived much closer to us. Especially since our school system is better than their school system considering their kid is always being bullied for no good reason. Only thing is that I lack cash and someone’s gotta clean the litterboxes.

    By no means do I want to move backward. During college and afterwards I wasn’t settling down but times were rough for me. Now if we had a Clinton or Coolidge economy then I would be happier but we’re still dealing with the aftermath of poor decisions.

    Yes, no politics. Sorry.

  4. Funny that you bring this up. I have been asking my self similar questions for the past few months. I imagine this is common for those of us experiencing divorce or a comparable life-altering episode. In all fairness, I got married, purchased a home, and had a child while pursuing my undergraduate degree so the ponderings lean more toward what was missed as opposed to feeling nastalgic for the good ol’ days.

    When I went to school there was Internet, but everything was about the same as you’ve described. I think you would have loved experiencing college with the Internet, JB. Super easy access to all of the nerdy stuff you and your friends like, just imagine.

  5. Note: When Jaybird says he didn’t have the Internet in college, what he means is he didn’t have DSL.

    The woman he met on the Internet.
    In college.

    • I certainly didn’t have the internet when I was in college at away schools. I only had internet when I was living at home and going to school.

      • You never went to a computer lab? Half the ladies I picked up online were always using computer labs much to my frustration ifyouknowwhatimean.

        • The computer labs were mostly used for groups or classes in my collegiate experience. All of the dorms had free high-speed in every room when I was there a four years ago.

          • > four years ago.

            We’re talking about when computer monitors were cubes not LCD screens. High density disks instead of these fancy-pants USB fobs. Magical years when Kurt Cobain was merely suicidal rather than dead and the USA was prospering by leaps and bounds instead of mired in the 2nd Great Depression.

        • When I was away from home, the computer labs were places where the computers were hooked up to a domain controller and a printer. A dot matrix printer. The domain controller was connected to a power outlet.

          It wasn’t until I was back in the basement in Colorado Springs going to college locally that I “logged on”.

  6. Kids in the equation really throws this for a loop.

    I often long for those post-college days when I made 1/4 my current salary but could buy whatever video games I wanted and go out to eat or drink whenever I wanted, now I have to sit and figure out what sort of toddler school we can afford. On the other hand – look at that face!

    • … i never had those days?
      Jesus people!
      When i was just out of college I was serving my country… and on food stamps.

    • Public school. It’s cheap, and it’s true: statistically speaking, public vs. private’s outcomes are pretty much negligible when taking into account the user populations.

      Unless your local public school has gangs. There are always exceptions.

      • I meant whether or not we could afford to send her to something like Montessori for toddlers, which we could not without dramatic changes to the rest of our budget.

        We don’t have public schooling in Georgia until age 4 and I intend to send her there once she’s old enough. One benefit of my very-long commute is there’s a very nice public elementary school one block away, something that would be dicey if we lived in Atlanta.

        • Do you live in a rural community, Plinko? I discovered that finding quality early education in pain in my rural community.

          • No, I live in a small city (~20k or so).
            There’s a nice Montessori, but beyond that all the options are church day care (mostly Baptist). We send our daughter to a Presbyterian toddler school now but it’s far from ideal.

        • Oh, I’m a big fan of the Montessori way of doing things, almost to the point of saying that you should do it even if you can’t afford it.

  7. Would I go back to my college days? Pretty much this.

    Would I go back to not having to schedule everything?

    A lot of our scheduling is self-imposed and we like to blind ourselves to the causes. Yes, there are external pressures (When I was on third shift, it seemed impossible to make people understand that asking me to do things with them in the afternoon was equivalent to me asking them to do things at 3 in the morning.) but most of it are constructs that we build around ourselves.

    Take me. The reason that I’m coming to wrestling once a month is directly related to me easing out of video games. When you come right down to it, would it have been such a tragedy to leave a Gamefly game unplayed for a day even if it meant *gasp* keeping it an extra day?

    No. No, it wouldn’t. But, like many things, I created that scheduling pressure on myself.

    In your case, one of the big factors was Pro Wrestling. Before you and Dman discovered Pro Wrestling, we would all get together and vary up what we did on Mondays. Sometimes it was Kung-fu movies. Sometimes MST3K. Sometimes Laser Tag. etc. After y’all discovered Pro Wrestling, that just stopped. Every monday, it had to be Pro Wrestling to the exclusion of everything and, in many ways, everyone else.

    So, for those of us without kids, the question is less about turning back the clock and more about recognizing how much of our schedules are self-imposed and then breaking those notions.

  8. There’s no going back to anything in life. You can visit the place again, sure. When we were younger, each minute seemed to last longer. Now, every fifteen minutes, it’s breakfast again.

    Now that I’m past raising kids, life has changed back to something much akin to what it was before the kids. My friends are all over the world, though. The moments which bound me to them, the shared experiences are now a bit dim and wavy, like rocks seen at the bottom of a flowing stream.

    Memory is a great deceiver, not to be trusted. We look back at our peril. We are surrounded by joy, every moment of our lives. All we have to do is stop and perceive it.

    The great gardens of Kyoto, Kinkakuji, Ryouanji, the Gozan temples were built in a period of great turmoil. The Rinzai Zen sect constructed those gardens to represent paradise itself. Some of those temples were burnt during the Onin Wars but their essence remains in their reconstructions. The past cannot be recreated but a hundred gardeners are even now working in those gardens, preparing them for the coming spring. Within them, thousands of people will uncurl their fretful minds and breathe easy, as did the warlords who created them, retreating into the joys of beauty, given respite from the horrors of the outside world.

    If we often fail to perceive that joy, it is there, nonetheless, a constant and abiding force in the world upon which we may always draw at any moment.

  9. Well, when discussing this with Maribou, I found that I look back on such things with fondness and affection, I look back on them the same way that I look back on my second apartment.

    It was very nice and much nicer than my first and some very nice years were spent there.

    I wouldn’t want to go back.

    But I do drive past from time to time.

  10. Why the past seems better:

    The wife and I were just discussing this yesterday. Time is magnified for the young by the simple algebra of their existence. If you are six years old, one year is 1/6th of your /entire/ lifetime. Now look at a 60 yr old. Mentally the young simply experience /time/ differently than the old. That is also why certain events, a jilted lover, a happy roadtrip, that great party – carry such significance. One of the things you’re “remembering” is the very essence of time lived at a slower pace than you’re capable of experiencing it today. Part of your nostalgia (from the Greek nostos – to return home) is a kind of homesickness for that comfy feeling, not so far from the womb but finally free and independent (even when you were living at home as a young adult). There’s a good reason Americans have such a fixation on high school, when hormones are raging and we’re finally shedding the bonds of childhood and haven’t yet assumed the burdens of adulthood.
    The insidious problem of nostalgia (and I was reminded of this by someone’s post responding to Bob Cheeks’ fantasy past) is that the mind automatically cleanses bad experiences. You can test this for yourself (and they teach it in some martial arts). When you’ve just smashed your thumb with a hammer, immediately replay the incident in your mind. Do it again. Again. Again. The first time you’ll almost feel the pain as if it just happened (hell it /did/ just happen). The next time it goes down by 1/2, then it’s 1/8th, 1/32 and so on. Happy events don’t follow that same exponential decay curve, in fact you can replay a happy event from the past and /almost/ experience the same joy you felt when it was live. Think of some really funny experience (really think of it, go back and replay it in your mind start to finish). If it was something really funny, don’t be surprised if you laugh out loud (again) just remembering it, at the very least you should smile again.
    Well that’s enough nattering on this subject from an old soul.

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