10 Things Your Kid Probably Has Never Heard Of

Kids often think their parents don’t understand.  Well, it goes both ways.  Having lived longer, there are things parents know, that their kids probably never heard of….some for the better!

10. Austin Powers

I recently let my boys watch AUSTIN POWERS:  INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY and they thought it was hilarious!  Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any current movies that fill that sort of cult-comedy-niche like the Austin Powers series did.  Although much of the more “adult” humor was lost on my kids, the obvious slapstick humor wasn’t.  As with anything, allowing your kids to watch a movie like this requires some parental supervision…otherwise you may end up with your kid walking around asking people if they want to “shag now or shag later.”

9. No Tech or Low Tech

Try to explain to your kid what a rotary phone was.  It’s very difficult to do without a visual aid.  How about dial-up internet that would kick you off every time someone in the house picked up a phone on the same line?  Life without cell phones….explain how you used to have to call your friends on the family telephone (usually only one per family), make plans to meet, and then BE THERE.  There was no text messaging along the way to find out where someone was….none of that.  Digital cameras?  I don’t think so.  The closest we had to digital cameras were Polaroids; only because you were able to see the picture right away…sort of.  Digital music?  Nope…instead we had Walkmans that would eat your cassette tape if you didn’t press the buttons down firm enough or accidentally pressed two buttons at once.  GPS?  Nein!  You drove around until your found the address, hoping you didn’t wander into the wrong part of town.

image - Flickr / Robert Parviainen
image – Flickr / Robert Parviainen

8. The Real World

Long before the myriad of reality shows, there was only one, the pioneer of them all, MTV’s THE REAL WORLD.  This is the show that started it.  Seven young adults, all strangers, suddenly living in the same house….a sort of social experiment unfolding on your television.  This was groundbreaking entertainment back in 1992!  There was “Puck,” the eccentric bike messenger, who was actually evicted.  This was before the days of being voted off the island….you weren’t supposed to be evicted!  And Pedro, the cast member with AIDS.  After a few seasons of THE REAL WORLD, reality TV morphed into what it is today.

7. Clear Cola

For some reason in 1992, companies though it would be better to make things that normally weren’t clear, clear.  Pepsi came out with Crystal Pepsi; Coca-Cola tried to follow suit with Tab Clear.  Both companies said their clear products tasted the same as their regular products; much of the public thought otherwise.  I guess it just goes to show how much appearance impacts flavor perception.

6. VHS Rental and Rewinding

Before movies were available online, on demand, you actually had to go to a video rental shop, browse around, see what was and wasn’t available and rent the VHS tape.  God forbid you lost or damaged this tape, stiff penalties were imposed.  Penalties were also imposed for returning a tape late or not rewound.  Rewinding led to an entire industry of VHS tape rewinders…of which I am sure sales have since tapered.

image - Flickr / Ludo
image – Flickr / Ludo

5. Candy Buttons

Produced by Necco, these were little colored “buttons” of candy fixed to strips of paper.  These candies were everywhere when I was a kid…at elementary school parties, for sale at Little League concession stands, given as Halloween candy.  The only problem with these buttons…..they were so well adhered to the paper, kids would eat the paper just to get the candy!  Life is trade-offs.

image - Wikipedia / ChildofMidnight
image – Wikipedia / ChildofMidnight

4. Station Wagons with Rear Facing Seats

I thought my family was the only one with a station wagon with a rear facing seat installed in the back section.  I’ve since found out that we were not alone!  Hey, if you were on a budget and had a growing family, this was an option.  With a station wagon, there is a sizable space in the back, accessible via the hatchback.  As long as a seat was properly installed, you could legally throw your kids back there.  Talk about awkward moments having to stare at the driver of the car behind you, sometimes for miles!  In the current age of high-tech entertainment systems in cars, this setup is likely inconceivable to modern kids.

3. The Teachers’ Smoking Lounge

Back when my parents were kids, everyone smoked.  Parents smoked in the car, kids inside, windows rolled up.  Your doctor smoked.  Teachers smoked.  Everyone smoked.  This had waned a bit when I was a kid, but the remnants of mas public smoking survived.  There were ashtrays in enclosed shopping malls, restaurants, and yes, a separate teachers’ lounge for those who smoked!  However, by the time I was a senior in high school, the teachers’ smoking lounge was closed and teachers were forced to smoke outside at the edge of the parking lot…often along side students trying to sneak a smoke in during school hours.

2. Bad-Ass Presidents

Politics aside, it used to be that the US had some pretty bad-ass Presidents.  1986 – Lybia bombs a nightclub in Germany frequented by American GIs….Ronald Reagan sends a manned airstrike to let ‘em know he isn’t happy.  1989 – Noriega gets out of line…..George Bush Sr. orders the invasion of Panama, Noriega ends up extradited to the US to spend years in jail.  Interesting enough, Manuel Noriega recently filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, the video game company which owns CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS II, for harming his reputation!  His claim also states that he is entitled to some of the profits of this hugely successful franchise.

1. Encyclopedias

Before Google existed, when you needed information about something, you actually had to search through encyclopedias to find it.  Hard copy, heavy, bound books crammed with information, much of it outdated!  Need to know about the War of 1812, go to the encyclopedia.  Need data on igneous rocks….yup, you guessed it, the encyclopedia!  Needless to say, the amount of circulating BS was much higher in those days.  Why, you ask?  Nowadays you can instantly fact-check ANYTHING on your uberly connected phone and immediately call BS.  Before this was possible, one could offload copious amount of BS, knowing that to actually fact-check anything the other person had to take a trip to the public library. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image - Flickr / Horia Varlan
image – Flickr / Horia Varlan

This post originally appeared at Rant Sometimes.

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