Columns

Crystal clear look at the 90s 2016.08.10

I was going to write a column this week, truly I was. I have a bunch of notes from David’s time in the hospital for prostate surgery, and the aftermath, and planned to develop a column from that experience. Then I proofread David’s column this week and realized I’d just be duplicating stories. Besides, it was his experience so he lays claim to the material. 

However, I must point out that he was in an anesthesia fog so his memory of that time is a tad addled. Don’t believe him when he implies that I force-fed him. I just insisted he order a variety of foods figuring that by the time it came, something would seem appetizing. He’s the one who belongs to the Clean Plate Club. I kept saying, “You don’t have to eat it all, just eat what tastes good to you.” He’s the one who kept shoveling it in.

I still have a cache of material, but I under-estimated how long it was going to take to lay out the classified page (Yes, I know “For Rent” doesn’t go before “For Sale,” but it was the only way I could make it all fit.). 

I started getting a little worried around 8:30 Monday night that I wouldn’t have time to lay out pages, finish proofreading and making corrections and also write a column. 

“Did Rosie give you the message about having a column in the wings?” I texted my son-in-law Taylor. He had offered on Sunday to do some writing for this week’s paper. She hadn’t given him the message, but Taylor cranked one out in no time anyway. – Colleen

By TAYLOR BALLINGER

On Monday, I walked past a display in Meijer for Crystal Pepsi. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Perhaps you remember Crystal Pepsi. It tastes like Pepsi, but it’s clear. I still remember the commercial from 1993 with Van Halen’s “Right Now” playing in the background. Crystal Pepsi felt like the future. It felt cool. I loved it. And then, suddenly, Pepsi pulled it from the shelves. I can’t quite figure out Pepsi’s impetus for bringing it back (though I’m not complaining). Perhaps they know there are a lot of people like me, now in their 30s and feeling some nostalgia for the early 90s, who would be compelled to purchase a taste of their childhood. It worked. I bought three. 

Seeing Crystal Pepsi made me think about other things from the early 90s that I’d like to bring back.

Rec Specs

Rec Specs are those prescription goggles that athletes wore in lieu of eyeglasses. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Horace Grant, and my favorite baseball player, Chris Sabo, all made them popular. I had a pair for basketball and baseball, and when I wore them I felt indestructible, hip, and somehow more athletic. I wouldn’t mind feeling that way again.

Dunkaroos

You remember Dunkaroos, right? They were miniature, kangaroo-shaped graham crackers packaged alongside a cup of vanilla or chocolate frosting. They were the go-to snack for the kids of Silver Creek Elementary in Berea, Kentucky. I would always use a small amount of frosting on each cracker until the last two, when I would put the remaining glob between two grahams making a cookie sandwich that would give Oreos a run for their money. 

Slap Bracelets

Slap bracelets were plastic, multi-colored and multi-designed strips that that you would hold out straight and slap down onto and coil around your wrist. Few things were more satisfying than straightening out the bracelet and slapping it down over and over again. I can still remember how pleasing it sounded and felt. Though, I’m guessing my teachers would argue that the sound was anything but pleasing. 

Magic Eye Books

I haven’t seen a Magic Eye book in years, but I remember staring at them for hours on end. You’d hold the book up close to your face which forced your eyes to cross. Then, ever so slowly, as you move the book farther from your face and your eyes adjusted, a 3-D image would appear on the page. Along with Magic Eye books, I’d like to see the return of Mad Libs. I suppose most kids these days have some sort of electronic device with them while they travel. Seatback screens, iPads, and other video players, though cannot compare to the hours of fun a Mad Libs book can provide on a long road trip. 

Oregon Trail

Every time we’d go to the computer lab in elementary school I’d rush through my work so I could spend a few extra minutes fording rivers and attempting to fend off cholera. 

I’ve got the Crystal Pepsi in the fridge, and I’m sure those sweet sips will take me back in time over the next few weeks. And if anyone knows how I can get my hands on some Dunkaroos to go along with it let me know.