I am proud to be a child of the nineties. There was nothing more enjoyable than walking home everyday after school and watching Arthur, Pinky and the Brain, and Rocko’s Modern Life as I listened to NSYNC during the commercial breaks and waited anxiously as the dial-up phone modem of my computer creaked and buzzed as it connected to AOL. Sometimes I get nostalgic for those days of old, especially now that I just completed my second decade. As I look back upon that period of time, with as much distance as a new twenty-something can muster, I find so much joy that I had forgotten about, which made me happy as I angst away over my future – will I get a good job, will I like myself, will I be happy? There was none of that bull crap when I was growing up. Thank God for that.
My childhood was excellent. I did get in trouble quite a bunch and was sent to the office many times in elementary school, but in spite of all of that it was pretty awesome growing up. Being a boy in the nineties and early two-thousands was pretty interesting. We had our Counter-Strike, Madden football games, and Battlefield 1942 which did worse things to my social life than my offensive newspaper articles. As it is, or as it was, I’m sure it wasn’t too different from any other decade in time, seeing that I did the same things as most boys did: blew stuff up, got into fistfights, and set large objects on fire. But what defined the era for me was not strictly something restricted to the male gender. Plenty of girls loved this relic of the nineties and early two-thousands, which for me was the highest point of human civilization. This invention was the greatest thing that we will ever produce and it will stand the test of time for millennia as our spawn spread across the spatiotemporal void that is the universe. That invention I am talking about is Pokémon.
I remember when I got my first starter pack. I was addicted immediately. I pet the soft slick cardboard in a gesticulation that resembled sexual fury. Every day I sniffed the soybean oil lacquer that made that glossy sheen around the visage of the Pokémon glow with the intensity of a million suns, whose warmth I baked in. Suffice it to say, I was a fanatic. While some people in the nineties pursued profit-making enterprises such as the Internet I pursued the one and only thing that I believed would define my existence: the Charizard card.
The day I got it was happier than when I got my first kiss. I remember it clearly. The year was 1998. The month was November. The feeling was ecstasy.
I stood outside in the frigid cold as my friend Lewis walked up to me in his trench coat. We looked around and made sure nobody saw us. He pulled it out and flashed it to me, and put it away. What a tease!
“Where are the cards?” he said in a gruff voice.
“In my coat pocket,” I said as I scrambled around through it like a junkie who was shaking in a catatonic relapse. I pulled them out and handed them to him. There went my Zapados, Blastoise, Raichu, Mewtwo, and Ivysaur. It was worth it though.
The funny thing was that I never actually played the game. I was much like the car collector who keeps around the finest of automobiles but never drives them. It didn’t matter though. Back then I had the solid reputation of being quite the aficionado.
Somewhere in middle school it became uncool to even talk about Pokémon though. My addiction followed my friends’ behaviors and moved from the innocence and ease of Pokémon to the greater pleasures that were girls. Nevertheless, I miss those days sometimes. As I sit here on a Sunday night writing this with a billion pressures on me like the gravity of Jupiter, I reminisce. Maybe we should all do as such sometimes. I find that the tides of time wash away the sandy grit of the beaches of our minds and leave the oyster shells full of the prettiest pearls of memories. So why not go open one up and gaze a while? What’s wrong with a little nostalgia now and then?