Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kids of the 70s Got Shafted

“I always felt like I was meant to have been born in another era, another time.”
                                                            --Johnny Depp

I was walking down the hall of Thing 2's elementary school yesterday and noticed a little girl walking down the hall.  She was dressed head-to-toe in varying shades of pink from her flower-laden pink shoes all the way up to the polka-dotted pink bow fastened to her long blonde ponytail.  She had comfy pink leggings on and a pink, purple and orange backpack attached to her small frame.  She looked confident and her bouncy stride made her ponytail swing back and forth as she moved away from me down the hallway.

I started thinking about the clothes I had when I was about her age.  It would have been about 1978.  We all looked like kids from third-world countries who get all the clothes rejected from the Goodwill.  None of us looked attractive in ANY way.  Our clothes were the product of far too many drug-fueled fashion-fests of our parents' generation.  I can just see them all sitting around with tablets of LSD on their tongues, "DUDE, what we NEED is an orange paisley shirt with a collar that they could ACTUALLY FLY WITH!"

Photo courtesy of soogal on Flickr.  All 70s kids looked the same.

 We had crazy color combinations, flat shiny hair plastered to our heads, weird looking flowers and ruffles in odd places.  There was absolutely NOTHING cute about us.  Instead of confidently striding down the hall, we slithered close to the wall, hoping no one would notice our bright green knee socks and orange corduroy jumpers.   We looked like unkempt, mismatched orphans. 

I think the reason we received corporal punishment in school (remember those wooden paddles with the HOLES in them?) was because teachers and principals were trying to beat the ugly out of us.  You don't have any qualms about smashing a cockroach, right?  Kids of the 70s were the equivalent of today's cockroaches.

That brings up another very valid point.  Our clothes were not the ONLY way we got shafted.  We also received the short end of the stick in the discipline category.  Our parents were not at ALL afraid to smack us right across the mouth if we "back talked."  And they would do it in PUBLIC.  Other parents would be standing around nodding as if to say, "Oh, yeah, that ugly kid DESERVED THAT."  No one would blink an eye. 

Teachers would paddle us in classrooms and in the hallway for minor infractions such as laughing during the middle of a test.  I'll bet teachers were a lot less stressed out in those days because they had whole battalions of ugly kids on whom to take out their frustrations.

Kids of the 70s RARELY ate at restaurants.  I remember the very FIRST drive-thru in our town.  I heard tales of this amazing window and you would drive your car up to it and they would hand FOOD out the WINDOW.  Who ever heard of that?  Breakfast, lunch and dinner was SUPPOSED to be served on a cheap Formica table with metal legs (remember those?) on Corelle plates with flowers. Yes, even our dinnerware was ugly in the 70s.  We drank soda on special occasions.

We also played outside.  A lot.  In the STREET.  Our parents drank beer and (probably) smoked weed while playing cards with their friends, late into the night.  We played outside under streetlights.  Well, my friends did.  My bedtime was something stupid like 5:30pm when my parents were too tired to deal with me anymore (disclaimer:  Mom, I'm being SARCASTIC.  I KNOW I didn't really go to bed at 5:30.  Did you smoke weed though?? [KIDDING, MOM!]).  I'm sure we played outside so much and rode our bikes all over town because no 70s parent cared if an ugly kid went missing.


Maybe THAT'S the answer.  Our parents made us SO UGLY that no one else could possibly want us.  They raised us in a crazy world so that we would make better choices for their beautifully clothed grandchildren.  They wanted to grow old smiling proudly at their beautiful grandchildren and marvel at how WELL their ugly children turned out.  We're ON to you, 70s parents.  Now, we know the game.

And we remember the 70s.  Oh yes.  That's why we've decided that ALL nursing homes of the future will have orange shag carpet and Corelle.

You're welcome.  

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