Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Today is a special day for me because it’s also my birthday. That’s right — I’m another year older, which frankly doesn’t have the same charm it used to. Once you’re past 25, getting older isn’t that great. It’s times like these when I slip into a turkey-induced coma that I begin to reminisce about days gone by and how I’ll one day pass along my legacy…
“Grandpa, tell us about the 1980’s!”
Old man Ryan Garns had been awoken by his granddaughter and grandson, ages 9 and 7, running into the living room where he was reclined in his favorite chair.
“The 1980’s?” he asked. “That was so long ago… I was only a child not much older than you two.”
“Pleeeeeeeeaaaaasssse!” the children pleaded in unison.
“Okay, okay,” said Grandpa as he downed the last of his bourbon. “Let’s see. The 1980’s… were perhaps the most significant cultural decade in American history. It was a time of great art, music and literature. A time where leg warmers, banana clips, parachute pants and Swatch watches were more widespread than Tawny Kitaen’s legs.”
“Is it true that everyone in the 80’s was a coke addict?” asked the girl.
“Oh, sure,” said Grandpa. “We all did cocaine. When I was in school we used to do lines of coke during recess that our mothers would pack for us in our Knight Rider lunch boxes.”
“Was there really a Hollywood actor for President?” asked the boy.
“You bet. His name was Ronald Reagan. And Molly Ringwald was the First Lady. They met on the set of Tango & Cash where Reagan starred opposite Tip O’Neill.”
“What were movies like in the 80’s?” asked the boy.
“The films of the 1980’s broke new ground and called for social change. Michael J. Fox, for example, paved the way for 35-year-old actors to play teenagers. Stripes was a searing indictment of the military-industrial complex. And, believe it or not, Tom Hanks was actually funny.”
“Tom Hanks?” asked the boy. “You mean he wasn’t a crying little Oscar-winning bitch-boy?”
“Not yet. That would come later.”
“What about music?” asked the girl.
“Oh, we had the best music ever conceived by man. Artists like Boy George, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett and Duran Duran all created an entire generation of sexually confused teenage boys. Bands like Poison and Winger showed the world that you could wear makeup and hairspray and still be considered butch. Then there were ZZ Top who taught us the importance of being a sharp-dressed man, even though they themselves dressed like flamboyant hillbillies.”
“What about rap?”
“We invented rap! And back then, rap wasn’t just for black people…”
The children cooed in amazement.
“That’s right,” Grandpa continued. “In fact, white people even made rap albums — and nobody laughed at them for doing so!
“Our music could penetrate the soul with even the most subtle of lyrics. When Def Leppard sang ‘Pour Some Sugar On me,’ we all knew they weren’t talking about sugar. And our music had a political conscience! After Manuel Noriega seized control of Panama, Van Halen released their hit single ‘Panama’. Take that, Noriega!
“Yeah,” sighed Grandpa. “The 80’s were a crazy time, kids. Even though we were all walking on sunshine, we were also the owners of a lonely heart. We took our broken wings and learned to fly again, but what’s your price for flight in finding Mister Right?”
“Grandpa, will there ever be another 1980’s?” asked the boy.
“I’m afraid not. Not unless we were to bend the laws of physics and disrupt the space-time continuum. You wouldn’t want to disrupt the space-time continuum, would you?”
“No,” said the boy.
“Would you?!” said Grandpa, grabbing the boy by his shirt.
“Okay, then,” Grandpa said calmly. “Now why don’t you two go make your Grandpa another Irish car bomb.”