The ‘80s were a simpler time. You could thwart nuclear annihilation by hiding under your desk, there were only like three varieties of tea that were readily available, and the dark truths of Colonel Sanders and the Kentucky Colonels were mostly unknown.
Then came the ‘90s, angst, and the internet. From there it was but a hop, skip, and a jump to knowing that you needed a lead desk to thwart nuclear annihilation, Sleepy Time was but one option when it came to tea, and Popeye started making moves on the colonel. Maybe that last one was a sign that the future offered as much hope as it did angst.
One such example of hope came from Frito-Lay via PepsiCo. The year was 1986. That’s when the early signs of a revolution emerged in the form of Cool Ranch Doritos. Frito-Lay, never a company given to complacency, announced to the world that ranch was to be the preeminent flavor. Though the chips skirted the subject, mostly, they did embrace the fact that the dressing that would soon become the quintessential sauce/dip/seasoning.
It was right in front of us, but we were blind to the truth, much like we were blind to the dark truths of the Kentucky Colonels. The triangular chips, and the universe, were doing us a sharp, pointy favor. They were our Agent Mulder, we just weren’t ready to accept that the truth was out there and that Kenny Loggins and Madonna were providing the soundtrack. All that was lacking was all caps.
THE YEAR WAS 1986 TOP GUN WAS TEARING UP THE BOX OFFICE MADONNA WAS TEARING UP THE AIRWAVES AND COOL RANCH DORITOS TOOK THE COUNTRY BY STORM
— JEFF NEWTON (@yonewt) February 13, 2019
Some were prescient and fought against the coming global domination. Maybe they were right or maybe they just couldn’t handle the truth.
Yeah hi, could you not?
— Karen D. Lioness (@DeadLioness) January 7, 2019
Others tried to highlight other future truths, like the rise of avocados.
*eating guac out of the container like chinese takeout*
ok lemme give you some advice
— Her Tall Boots (@fuzzlime) February 16, 2019
Not that it was all roses. The demise of gentle and not-so-gentle giants wasn’t great, though an optimist would point out that without that demise, there would be possibility for a Jurassic Park.
I'm pretty sure it was Morrissey that killed all the dinosaurs.
— antisocialsocialist (@gobmentcheese) February 21, 2019
At least we were still cool.
hanging around in the locker room with my shirt off.
— Böb Jänke: the Ayatollah of Rock N Rolla (@Bob_Janke) February 21, 2019
Blouses have been torn. Nails have been chipped. Legends have been made.
— V (@Inferno_V) February 19, 2019
And we definitely didn’t play by the rules, whether talking hiding under our desks or otherwise.
Your shalts and shalt-nots have been noted for posterity, but not necessarily for obedience, and that might be the greater insult.
— C. A. Guardiola (@C_A_Guardiola) February 21, 2019
This refusal did give us opportunity to confront authority.
You had me at “she’s the one,” but lost me at “officer.”
— кєℓℓαℓєηα (@topaz_kell) February 21, 2019
An opportunity for which we were prepared.
Because I’m an 80’s girl, and I know that there’s no problem that a makeover and a kicky dance number can’t solve.
— Yesterday Girl (@yesterdaygirly) February 7, 2019
Not just with the power of dance, but with the power of words.
I am writing a children’s book. It’s called ‘JFK and the Giant Squid’. It will be about two things children love, conspiracy theories and ocean life.
— Philosopher king (iOS 4.6) (@signalborder) February 20, 2019
It was also a golden age for television.
Game show: so you think you can outdance a panhandler
— Buddawiggi (@MarkBuckawicki) February 19, 2019
And mutants, both mammalian and reptilian.
wanna feel old? the pizza rat has entered the four noble truths & is asserting the path to the cessation of dukkha, thus halting his craving, clinging & karmic accumulations, ceasing his endless cycles of rebirth & suffering
— Sunshine Jarboly (@SunshineJarboly) February 16, 2019
Not all made it out alive, but that didn’t preclude them from making a difference.
when i become a ghost, i only plan on haunting vestibules. a whole house haunting seems excessive and exhausting.
— Your Gilded Lily (@ahatonahat) February 19, 2019
Okay, maybe all caps wasn’t the only thing that was lacking. We also didn’t have what some business types refer to as “decks.” Sure, that doesn’t make sense even in the present day, but we have to remember history if we’re going to repeat it.
If there's one thing all conspiracy theories have in common, it's that their most vocal believers are all terrible at PowerPoint.
— RunwayDan (@RunwayDan) February 18, 2019
At least alternative energy was getting a foothold.
Man, I gotta find a power source other than adrenaline.
— Burning Mom (@MomOnFire) February 18, 2019
And people had to settle their all caps differences with nobility.
I have two friends who refuse to get along. Do you think I can talk them into a duel?
— Jawbreaker (@sixfootcandy) August 23, 2016
Plus multilevel marketing wasn’t a thing.
Get your side hustle away from me, Calliope.
— Mrs. Fitz (@PFitzpa) February 17, 2019
The Ford Bronco was revolutionizing automotive transport, and not yet in an infamous way.
I’ve been named motor trend’s suv of the year for the last 8 years.
— Pasta Fazool (@chrisdowning) February 18, 2019
Though we weren’t without adversaries. Well, adversaries besides the threat of nuclear annihilation.
If you can't handle me at my poor crone trying to poison you with an apple, then you don't deserve me at my evil queen ordering the huntsman to bring me your heart in a box
— Pleather (@kitkova) February 13, 2019
We did have to worry about the feeding and bathing schedules of our pets.
It's times like these I wish I had a pet fire goblin
— Spooky RockyMountainOysters👻 (@instantghosts) February 4, 2019
Fortunately, said pets had a strategy.
It's the unidentifiable rage that makes life worth living
— Splendid Hobo (@Hobo_Splendido) February 16, 2019
They were also planting the seeds that would grow into the inspirational coffee mug industry.
Sometimes ruthless is more.
— Jimmer Cork-Bottle (@JimmerThatisAll) February 15, 2019
Just because there was an unexpected disastrous ending doesn’t mean it wasn’t the correct choice.
— Mable Gertrude (@MableGertrude) February 2, 2019
I think this one was also made into a poster. Kids today just don’t know what they’re missing, what with their screens and lack of threat of nuclear annihilation.
Whoever left that beautiful bloody knife in the snowbank next to my parking space at work… nice try.
— 🔥ghd🔥 (@GingerHotDish) February 12, 2019
To wit, again.
I'm going to take today for granted and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
— Victoria Sofia (@Ideal_Victoria) February 3, 2019
Especially since we’re talking vestibules.
I bet my ghost is going to be annoying as well.
— heather lou* (@heatherlou_) February 7, 2019
Hiding under desks wasn’t our only plan of action.
I feel like I could escape one of those net traps they drop from a tree.
— b. (@bwebster76) January 31, 2019
Especially when it came to snowbanks.
Sometimes love comes fast and free. Sometimes it shows up with a machete.
— Johnny Two Balls (@LooptyBoo) January 31, 2019
You can’t talk to me like that. I’m a stapled thumb survivor.
— Anna Grace (@graceupongracie) January 31, 2019
It was also a time in which the farm-to-table movement was taking root.
[First day as pig farmer]
Me: *hosing blood off of the plow* something about this doesn’t feel right
— Taming Fred Savage (@FredTaming) February 8, 2019
One thing that’s persisted is talks held in mid-tier hotel conference rooms.
I’m one bad breakup away from attending a Tony Robbins motivational seminar.
— Sadie Smith 2.0 (@SadieSkyNinja) February 4, 2019
An improvement? The internet and all caps.
Yelp doesn’t like short story submissions but I need to get my art out there.
— Crow Magnom (@distracted_monk) February 8, 2019
Also bedding technology has really come a long way.
I want to be able to sleep like the dude who had a horse head placed in his bed and didn’t even know it.
— Olive Gravy (@offbeatoliv) February 15, 2019
Reminiscing about pig farmers, good. About TV? Sometimes not so good.
Dammit, Fred Savage is 42. I watched the Wonder Years to be nostalgic about my childhood not to be nostalgic about Fred Savage.
— Jack Boot (@IamJackBoot) February 18, 2019
(Don’t sweat it, Fred.)
Nearly nothing is personal.
— de la soulless (@delasoulless) February 16, 2019
Another plus was that we didn’t carry pocket computers with us and document our every move.
Reach into the new dimension and grab what you can.
— Trudacious (@Trudacious) February 20, 2019
Even if we didn’t always use that power wisely.
I shout out Jeopardy! questions only after all three contestants are struck dumb. I'm always wrong but what the hell.
— foggy memory (@someonesmomma) February 19, 2019
Except when we used it really wisely.
I don’t have time for all this frivolity. Let me clear my schedule
— Tony™ 🐜🍯 (@tsm560) February 19, 2019
Another thing, we couldn’t use the internet to all caps our love for not the internet.
When they post about their love of books but you know it's their love of attention.
— Mulva74 (@mulva74) February 16, 2019
Nor did we have to stand up to digital lynch mobs. It was harder to apply for jobs, though.
actually, i’m not sorry. i’m amazing.
— The Getaway Girl (@The_GetawayGirl) February 14, 2019
If easier to play it cool.
I hope low-key is over soon because it's past high-key annoying.
— Cat From Nowhe®e (@kv8) February 19, 2019
Has anyone ever told you that you're exhausting-
but not in a good way?
— Julz&©offee (@lovejulieacafe) February 17, 2019
Especially when armed with emerging technologies.
if you do not want people to see
and talk to you, just use inviso-ray beams. you are so dumb.
— taffy bennington ◬ (@singwithTaffy) January 24, 2019
And the healing power of the ‘60s, which Baby Boomers in no way reference anymore.
threaten a kazoo rendition of KumBaYa to keep the peace
— now what (@jaimiealley) February 1, 2019
Okay, their legacy isn’t totally more awfulness.
Wish I could solve all my problems in a Kazoo-off
— Emma Campbell (@EmmaCampbellFl1) February 19, 2019
They did create some jobs.
I'm Steven Tyler's scarf manager.
— Minister of Loneliness (@_steamy_mac) February 19, 2019
And add many more teas and opportunities to relax.
Meditate like you stole it
— Reticent Turnip (@ReticentTurnip) February 18, 2019
But also they did this.
Robots: Nature's Biggest Mistake
— Gabby Hayes (@RealGabbyHayes) February 4, 2019
Except that led to but one of the exciting opportunities, not of a multilevel variety, that the modern world offers.
Of course I'll marry you, my darling Killbot.
— Insignificant Funds (@4SLars) February 15, 2019
So, all in all, it really was a magical time, even if one in which David Lee Roth thought it wise to pursue a solo career while Van Halen thought it wise to replace David Lee Roth with Sammy Hagar. Though we really can’t dismiss an idea that resulted in Diamond Dave covering “Just a Gigolo.”
In any case, we emerged from underneath our desks, conquered some things, got the internet, and learned to love the magical power of all caps. It was the precursor to disaggregation writ large, except for the PowerPoint presentations necessary for explaining disaggregation, though those sometimes incorporate all caps.
Which brings us to today and its concomitant horrors, which can usually only be explained in all caps. Somehow, we persist. Maybe it’s that we’ve learned to avoid Calliope’s side hustle, maybe it’s that we’ll look back on these days as simpler times at some point in the future when the killbots really start to assert themselves. Regardless, one thing is certain. While killbots may be able to make buggy whips, there are certain skills they’ll never learn. Like being flippant, which they really suck at.
Yeah, I’m a lodestar. What of it?
— Annie Hatfield (@HatfieldAnne) February 16, 2019