The 90's...yep you were there too...Part 1

   I'm not quite sure if I grew up in the 80's or 90's.  In the 80's I was ages 3-13.  The 90's, 13-23.  So I guess it depends on when people "grow up."  At this rate I should be all grown up somewhere between 2040 & 2050.  The 80's, or the "Decade of Excess" has been satirized and mocked to death pretty much since the clock struck midnight January 1st 1990.  And some insist on hanging onto the 1980's, if you don't believe me go to any of those Jones Beach concerts that have 2 or 3 hair metal bands on the bill.  Its an acid washed, tight rolled, mullet rocking free for all.  Yes, I have been to a Poison concert there, and the whole time I was wondering if this is how these people still dress in their everyday lives, or if its their chance to break out the Ocean Pacific shirts and Keds that comes only once a year.
   Either way, this nonsense isn't about the 80's, it's about the 90's when anyone now in their early 30's now, started to become "men" or "woman", going through that awful and unfair time of our lives that we are the ugliest we will ever be, and the most confused by what was happening to us.  It's 1990: Goodfellas loses to Dances with Fucking Five Hour Long Wolves as Best Picture (Godfather 3 was also nominated but nobody knows why), the world is subjected to Wind Beneath My Wings for the first time and it never....ever.....goes....away............ever, The Simpsons and Sienfeld debut, the Hubble Telescope goes up and waves to Milli Vinilli on their way down.  George Bush Part Un is in office
and his vice is J. Danforth Quayle ( I didn't know he could be more of a weenie until 5 minutes ago when I found out his real name is DAN-FORTH) are entering War With Saddam: Take 1.
  I'm in 8th Grade and always being the youngest in my classes since I was born in December, I was always a step behind, which compounded the awkwardness even more.  So 1990 rolls around, I'm on of the only white kids in my school (JHS 231, which was in the news this past week when a friendly class reunion ended in shootings and stabbings, I'd love to light the match that burnt that place down), and some of the worst fashion trends in the history of cloth are flying off the shelves at Jean Countrys across America.  Now if you were a REAL playboy you could also go to CODA, but that's a year or two later and we'll get to that den of shame in a bit.  Now normally I would just wear a pair of shitty jeans and a sweatshirt that had some sort of college team on it....every..day.  I started to notice some kids wearing nicer clothes, not more expensive per say, just newer, and ones without a Hanes tag on the back.  Overalls starting popping up in the hallways, along with Malcolm X t-shirts (Spike Lee's biopic had just come out) and black Bart Simpson shirts (picture the regular Simpson's t-shirts that everyone wore, except Bart was black).  Now if I walked into my school wearing either the second or third of these, I would most likely not walk out that day un-assisted and most likely not walking at all.  So I chose the overalls as my tool to keep up with the trends going on around me.  I walked into Jean Country in Green Acres, slammed my pair of light blue overalls on the counter (all the while admiring these plaid pants and shorts with a road sign on the back...we'll also get to that a bit later) and like a proud grown man always should, I stepped aside so my mother could pay for them.  The next morning I walked into school in my overalls, (I don't remember what kind of shirt I had on, but honestly what looks good with overalls?) and was extremely anxious to see what the reaction would be.  Would all the girls fall to my feet because i was a white boy who was "down?"  Would I walk in the front door and immediately be met with a shellacking of biblical proportions?  Either way I was going to be the talk of the school, or at least my class of 32 students, right?  I walked into homeroom, and in a Kevin Arnold-esque moment, I stood waiting for the moment of truth, the fawning or the beating.
   What I was met with has stayed with me to this day, because it was as humbling a moment as one can have, especially for a newly teenage boy, because the reaction I got from everyone in that class was not applause, or fawning, or a vicious ass-kicking, but complete and total....nothing.  Absolutely NOTHING?? Helllllooo!?!?!  These are JEAN COUNTRY PEOPLE!!  I don't remember if after a while I was pissed off that nobody cared, or relieved that I wasnt run out of the school because I was dressed like some hayseed who made a wrong turn in Fucktard, West Virginia and ended up in Queens.  That was my first and last attempt at being "down" in Junior High School 231.
 More to follow......


  1. Ah Jean Country...I remember guys wearing those hideous silky long-sleeved button down shirts with entirely too many colors splattered all over them with the overalls. And speaking of Milli Vinilli, isn't it amazing how 2 guys who never actually sang their own terrible music are still remembered and referenced 2 decades later? I think our priorities need to be re-examined ;)

  2. What a blast from the past! I had my first teaching job at 231 and there were definitely no white boys there in overalls (or any at all for that matter).

  3. Yea Loreen, I think I may have been the last of the mohicans in that place