The 90’s: The Last Great Decade?
1. Mass surveillance wasn’t a thing
Ah, the days before massive NSA spying and TSA prodding and molesting! Though the CIA had already admitted guilt to dozens of coup attempts (I think it was 1998 they released files pertaining to the 1953 Iranian coup much to the MI6’s dismay), but for those of us who remember, there was once a time you could walk down the street and not have to worry about being spied on.
Is it really a coincidence that the internet exploded not long after 9/11? Sure, we had internet before the controlled demolition that killed thousands of Americans, but it was the old school dial-up stuff.
The internet wasn’t the phenomenon it is today where everyone and their great-grandmother have found out we’re all interconnected now at the click of a button. Yet, when the internet became popular, so did mass surveillance.
Then again, would I know about what’s going on in the world today without it? Look, the CIA and NSA can spy on me all they want. Finding me will be a little more difficult.
2. We all wanted to be the very best…. Pokémon Trainers!
Oh, the theme song still rings in my ears to this day. Well, that’s because I listen to it oftentimes during my workout. But didn’t we all picture ourselves catching an animal that resembled one of the original one-hundred and fifty pocket monsters?
Oh, and what about my dream team of Gyarados, Dragonite, Aerodactyl, Charizard, Alakazam, and Gengar? Yep, dragon, psychic, and ghost reign supreme.
But, back in the day, I think Bulbasaur was my boy because he’d easily beat Brock and Misty on the old Red and Blue versions.
I’d like to expand a little on this Pokémon stuff because weren’t video games at the time awesome, too?
I mean, from the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, which were popular in the early to mid-nineties, to the N-64 and Playstation (arguably the two best controllers ever on these consoles), to the Xbox and PS2 (oh, some memories here), didn’t video games just dominate our pastime?
Many I went to school with are in complete denial, stating our generation went outside and played.
No, no, no, no, no. Our generation was the first, the very first, to be stuck indoors playing. It wasn’t until video games got too realistic that we finally realized outside existed. And I’m happy we did. I haven’t touched a video game controller in quite some time but give me one of those old-time consoles and I’ll be on them for eight hours.
3. The NFL was still watchable, with or without the Browns
Fact: The NFL was full of controversy before the days of high-speed internet and information at the fingertips. Who could forget Michael Irvin getting arrested in Las Vegas with crack and hookers all over him while celebrating his thirtieth birthday?
What? You thought these crazy player things just started? You old-timers and baby boomers have such short memories. Chris Carter was another name that came to mind.
Anyway, the point of number three is simple: the NFL was so watchable. No concussion controversy. No awkward rule changes (I think they finally changed the catch rule for 2018), no pregame ceremonies of forced nationalism to coerce poor kids into enlisting in the military to die in some needless war overseas, or anything political. Heck, if someone hired a female coach (in any capacity), we’d just nod our heads and say, “that’s cool.”
If someone hires a female coach (in any capacity) get ready for a courage award from ESPN, an eight-figure endorsement, and your team, no matter how good or bad, getting the maximum number of primetime games. Oh, and in the offseason, think about all those talk shows you’ll be on!
Back in the 1990’s, we’d have found a female coach to be a cool thing, and nothing more. Man, society is conditioned like hell these days.
4. Opinion! Nickelodeon was the undisputed king of cartoon shows, and Universal Studios was the King of Theme Parks
Okay, Nick had its competition, but don’t sit there and tell me any show at any capacity bested Doug, the Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Real Monsters, Wild Thornberry’s, Rocket Power (late in the 90’s), and other hardcore shows.
I mean, come on. Sure, Pokémon was great, but let me tell you something, if the Rugrats held a marathon tomorrow, me and about a few million others would be “screwing” government-leeching baby boomers out of their social security because we’d be literally sitting on our asses reliving the glory days.
Side note: Have you seen what they did to Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando? Man, that place should’ve been enshrined. While I never had the opportunity to see it myself (agoraphobia sucks), the place is now a storage unit, I think?
Man, but if you remember kicking back and drinking all the pop (most in the US call this soda and our friends in Texas say cokes) after a long school day and pretending it was beer (this was long before I became a fitness nut), just seeing all the fun those kids were having at Nickelodeon studios opens the memory gates.
All the shows that were filmed there. The green slime, and everything else that went with the place. Inside, there were tributes to all the current and past shows and now, they say the only evidence of Nick ever being there are a few pics of green slime on the bathroom doors.
Sounds like the end of the Lorax. Unless…
5. Wasn’t the music just great?
Uh, this one’s a given. In fact, if I’m not jamming to symphonic metal during my awesome workout sessions, one can find me listening to the greatest hits of the 1990’s. As stated in my previous article, the 1990’s are a go-to for me to turn when I’m looking to get in that character drive.
And as also stated, I link 90’s alternative with growing up in my hometown…my real hometown. So, they go hand-in-hand. But if you look back and look at some of the greatest and most distinguishable groups like Blink-182, Nirvana, Gin Blossoms, and more, the memory floodgates open.
To this day many songs are still just as popular as they were back in the day. Some say the music from the 1980’s will never die. I say, the music from the 1990’s will never die.
6. The Monday Night Wars: When wrestling was watchable
Who can forget the Monday Night Wars?
If you’re too young to remember these and just started watching wrestling a few years ago, do yourself a favor and log onto wwe.com, where I believe they now have each episode from this historic time archived and (it’s going to take time), watch every last one of them.
Yes, it was back in the day when wrestling was entertaining and a little edgy. Okay, I was in grade school at the time and probably shouldn’t have been watching it, but it was real, real entertaining. Speaking of real, half its storylines were inspired by real-life events.
Who can forget the nWo in WCW, which fueled a WCW advantage in the Wars, only for WWE (then WWF) to respond with the most renown time in pro wrestling history: The Attitude Era.
Could you imagine if, and it’s something I’ve been saying for a while now, if they would just bring back a similar concept. I’m not saying bring the Era back, but man, if you think WWE’s big now, the roof would explode as myself and everyone around me would be tuning in weekly, as we did once upon a lost time.
7. I don’t miss being a kid, but I miss my original gym: playground equipment!
Recess was awesome. I think we all miss our original gym at one time or another. My old grade school has long since closed its doors, but the old playground, I believe, remains.
But think about it; thirty minutes of playing tackle football and praying the teachers were looking the other way.
Who can forget that?
Or, simply swinging as high as you could, climbing the mini-log cabin they had (it was kind of cool), or trying to do pullups on monkey bars. You know, I think they say that to this day, the playground workouts trump all, and rightfully so.
8. Summertime cookouts and skies full of stars
Take note, my family still loves doing these, but at one time I wasn’t so anti-social. Before the days of laptops and high-speed internet, we had pools and endless food during the dog days.
I honestly think we did this every single weekend, and sometimes weekdays. Talk about saying here’s to the good times, because nothing beat weekend pool parties, food, then at night going indoors and playing all the what is today retro games for hours on end until one literally fell asleep.
They say your subconscious mind plays on what you might miss most and will go out of its way to bring you back to another place and time. Well, this one happens to me often. And while we still do these often, perhaps every couple weeks in the summertime, they’re simply a shell of what once was.
Most of the ghosts reside in another time, where we dreamed of our fantasies, imagining we could be anything. Well, for some of us, the dreamer hath not yet been slayed then, and as for me, the dreamer still hath not been slayed until death does its part.
9. The dreamer hath not been slayed
Isn’t this what My Freedom Flame is about?
Part of my nice blog is about seeing dreams and realizing them, all in the face of political corruption. But, there was a time each of us sat in class and had dreams that didn’t involve the work we do today.
Well, most of us. Most of us never envisioned doing what we’re doing now. So, what happened?
Some people say life, others reality, and still others state they’re just simply getting good opportunities, so they stuck and never left. It’s sad, because I truly believe childhood dreams are what we’re meant to do.
I’m not saying we’re all going to chase a ball down the field, but there are usually two or three things we could’ve seen ourselves doing then that we’re not doing now for one reason or another.
Again, it’s what My Freedom Flame is all about. Sure, I’ll cover my darker topics, but at the end of the day, I’m looking for people to rediscover passion, pursue it with all they have, and get comfortable to sometimes step out of that comfort zone.
10. Personal thing: Believe it or not, I believed in global corruption since I was five and I loved every second of it!
I remember my mother telling me not to worry about things I couldn’t control, like the weather, and what then-President Bill Clinton was doing in the White House.
Well, turned out Clinton was doing more than just Monica Lewinsky. But much more than that. I worried about other countries taking us over, which I now know is the other way around. I worried about (and I was in grade school, mind you) our family’s money being taken and ending up on the streets.
Worried about a lot of things, and it turns out my five and six-year-old intuition wasn’t quite off-base.
So, why is this on the list?
To be honest, it helped shape who I am today, and this is a young version of Todd Matthews speaking out here, already aware something wasn’t quite right in the world, and that much of it was in the White House for reasons other than Clinton’s secretary.
But then again, who can blame him? The dude has to sleep next to Hillary every night.