Godbey: Whatever happened to being cool?

Published 10:34 am Monday, May 15, 2023

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By Jack Godbey


I was flipping through the television channels trying to find something to watch. Despite having hundreds of channels, there was nothing on of interest. I remember we only had three channels when I was growing up and I was glad to have them.

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As I was flipping through the channels, I saw music awards show, so I stopped to check it out. I am a huge music fan who can rattle off musical trivia with the best of them. Imagine my surprise when I didn’t recognize a song or artist they featured. It was then that I realized I know nothing about any music made past 1989. I was faced with the fact that, based on what these musical artists were doing, I was no longer cool. I’m not so out of touch that I go around wearing tie-dyed T-shirts and shouting lyrics of songs, but I’ll admit that I still wear my Def Leppard T-shirt from 1984 every chance I get.

Today’s so-called cool music groups have yet to learn of the level of cool that existed in the ‘80s. Until you know what it’s like having enough Aqua Net hair spray in your hair to single handily destroy the ozone layer while wearing acid-washed jeans with a Marlboro hanging out of your lips, don’t talk to me about being cool.

Just like that, I began to wonder what happened to all the cool things that used to be popular in the ‘80s but have disappeared from today’s world. For example, whatever happened to water beds? I mean, who wouldn’t want to sleep and get seasick simultaneously? Maybe the water bed was one of those things that were better in theory than in actual application. However, you were only cool if you had one, so we all dragged the water hose in the house and ran up our water bill to get it going unless you were like me and hooked it up to your neighbor’s spigot.

Whatever happened to cigarette lighters in our cars? The socket that held the lighter has now been renamed the auxiliary power outlet. I mean, who doesn’t want to smoke in their car so the interior can reek of smoke while burning those little holes in your seats? Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea after all.

Whatever happened to good bubble gum? When I was a kid, we had those hard pieces of brick known as Bazooka. You got fifteen seconds of great flavor and then were quickly left with a flavorless ball of wax in your mouth. I recall the first time I got ahold of some Freshen Up gum. You know the one that squirts liquid all over you when you bite into it. Too weird for me, and what I wouldn’t give for some wild strawberry Hubba Bubba today.

The commercials that I’m forced to watch these days are mind-numbing. All I see are commercials pushing prescription drugs. Whatever happened to cool commercials? In the 1980s, we had the California Raisins that danced and sang. We had little old ladies screaming, “Where’s the beef?” wise owls asking, “How many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop” and who can forget the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” ads? OK, that one is not so great. My point is that those commercials were interesting.

It seems that things that were considered cool in my day have been forgotten and traded in by a generation that thinks man buns are cool. I must go now; I am going to try my luck to see if I can still get ten free CDs for a penny from Columbia House. What do you think my chances are?