Remember our late nights, staying up all night and imagining a world of impossibility. Telling jokes until coke came out of our noses, making movies with our ten pound VHS camcorder and wishing we could be Marty McFly for just one day. Looking back, I think I would have gone back to the past.
We found refuge in the great outdoors. Whether we biked, ran, played wiffle ball, swam all day in the neighbors pool or hung out eating cheap candy at the convenience store, we found adventure in those hum drum suburbs. If it was that time of the month, we could even catch a glimpse of a few breasts when the Quick Check threw out the unsold Playboy magazines. It was a different time; a better time.
As the winter hit, the first baseball cards of the season were ready us. We biked to the store, even if it was snowing to see who could get the best players. Then we would trade them away or loose them in a game of hide and seek.
It never ended there. We would stay up until all hours of the night laughing about our day. On weekends, we would sneak some Mad Dog or a 40 and hang out in the woods. Our fantasies were each others sisters or the older cheerleaders; our dreams were playing professional ball; our futures were just leaving our hometown. Our art was spray paint and a rock.
No curfew; no locked doors at night; no crime except for a domestic dispute that usually resulted in a few loose cans or close on the front lawn.
Something happened along the way. We go scared and started sleep walking through life.
I remember when I was younger and I won a race, or scored the winning basket or got an award, I celebrated those moments and cherished them. I still have a few medals to show. I didn’t have anywhere to brag about them in cyber space. The only cyber space we knew was V, Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rodgers. There was no need for gratification or jealousy of others. Maybe that is why there seemed to be less depression, gun use or suicide. What do I know? I’m just a writer reflecting on a period of time when moments mattered.
As a junior in high school, I was fortunate to be friends with the star senior on the team in cross country. We were both considered loners in a way, stretching far away from the team and doing our own spiritual prep before matches. It worked. When we had away meets, we were the kings. By kings, I mean we had the seats in the back of the bus and controlled the boom box (For the kids out there, that is a device that played tapes and radio). After every win, which there were a lot, we played We are the Champions by Queen and for three and a half minutes, there was no better feeling in the world. It was our anthem and a reminder of teamwork, dedication and the incredible feeling of victory.
My first three years, we went 31 – 2. It was something we took pride in. It didn’t hurt that our coach would play the opening of Chariots of Fire and The Final Countdown by Europe rang loud before each meet, but it was knowing that our focus and our competitive edge made us better than we could ever imagine. I don’t see much of that today in our youth.
Maybe I can’t see their faces behind their smart phones or tablets.
I haven’t seen Star Wars yet, but I recently was asked why this one is so much more successful than the previous three. There are many answers, but one that stands out is the formula. Disney has taken us back to what made the original releases so iconic. Star Wars was never just a sci-fi movie; it was a relationship movie series about good vs evil, love and brotherhood with a sci-fi back drop. That is why I will never pass an opportunity to watch A New Hope, no matter how campy the acting.
This is the core reason we never wanted our days to end. We developed relationships that stretched the limits of imagination and allowed us to go beyond reality without compromising our ability to get their on our own.
Smart phones, apps, tablets and gaming devices have taken away our ability to use all our senses and abilities and most importantly, our imagination.