Thursday, January 21, 2010

RETRITIS: Or My Mother Sold My Childhood Part Two

I guess instead of preparing legal action against my mother, I should maybe start concentrating on why a grown man should miss his King Kong lunchbox (1976 Dino DeLaurentis version, hold the damn laughter, please). Maybe I should deal with why I wish I still had my completely filled 1983 Topps Baseball Sticker album. I think I know why this shit is what it is. Retritis is maybe not a disease, but a feeling of longing. My love of all things retro is not necessarily a bad thing, right? Whether the era is the 1940's (antique radios and big band fliers), to the early 80's (my McDonald's Milwaukee Brewers placemat collection). I realize with obviousness that I draw joy from the objects of the past.

The retro bug takes me back to somewhat simpler times. Whether it's the era of Little Orphan Annie (where you don't have to be from that time period to grasp it's innocence), or onto my own childhood, a time largely spent watching "Mork N' Mindy", trading baseball cards, and taking in movie after movie. Retro draws up the memories of not having any debts and the only thing I needed to concern myself with was where my next pack of football cards was coming from. Most of which, I, thankfully have saved from my Mom's holocaust of resale.

All these vibes of warmth, freedom, and safety were largely destroyed by the death of my Dad, which is another story entirely. I won't drag the room down.

There's sad enough news in the fact the retritis isn't my only "looking back" disorder. Imagine having to suffer from what I like to call Retritis by Association. It's a pathetic nostalgic feeling I get when seeing something one of my older brothers and sisters had as I grew up, bu was too young myself to enjoy them. For example, Pet Rocks, 8-tracks, and glow-in-the-dark posters. It's bad enough to be nostalgic for my own childhood, let alone someone else's. It's a curse sometimes. But another story for another day.

Now that I know the cause, it doesn't help the fact that the symptoms can be inflammed by the way things are today. The old "You Don't Know What You Got 'til it's Gone" syndrome. (As I suppose exists for all generations). For example, did you know they don't really air Saturday Morning Cartoons anymore? The ones that are on are just extensions of WB or Fox Kids regular programming from during the week. Today's kids are being deprived! They do not have any Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show (my personal favorite). There is no Super Friends, no Hong Kong Phooey, No Drac Pack for them to watch while devouring overly sugarized cereals. Unless of course they watch the Cartoon Network during the right hours. There aren't even newer versions of these cartoons on Saturdays for a new generation. How Sad. And it makes me crawl even further into my retrotic cell. How can networks not run Saturday Morning Cartoons? When did this happen? It certainly flew under my radar.

Today there is no environment-wrecking foam Big Mac containers. There are no crying Indian or Smokey The Bear warning us that us, and only us can stop forest fires. No "Bud Man" cartoon character on T-shirts making beer more attractive to children. It all seems so sad these icons have been replaced and no substitute created to fill the vacuum. Advertising is now geared to adults and adults alone. With the possible exception of Christmas season, which now starts sometime in August.


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