Look Away, Baby, Look Away

September 19, 2003

It started with a show called "I Love the 80’s", which was bad enough in itself. I lived through the 80’s, and I don’t love them any more now than I did when they were the present. Of course the show’s format doesn’t help. The idea is that either sarcastic older comedians, musicians, and actors who are down on their luck or artificially sweet-faced up-and-coming musicians and actors (they’re too young to be sarcastic, and usually not bright enough to be comedians–or musicians or actors for that matter) talk about Care Bears, Rubik’s cubes, parachute pants, and other things from the 80’s that some of us don’t want to remember.

Oddly enough they haven’t mentioned Kangaroo Shoes yet, which, for me, was one of the few good things to come out of the 80’s. Kangaroo Shoes used velcro instead of laces, so I never had to worry about my shoes getting untied. As it is my shoes come untied with about every third step, and even though I’ve perfected a smooth motion of tying my shoes while continuing to walk people still think I’m impersonating John Cleese when I do it.

But I digress. I turned ten in 1980, so while the decade progressed my face came increasingly to resemble a pizza, and then eventually cleared up about the time alternative rock became what everybody listened to. Puberty was enough to cast a pall over most of that decade for me, but let’s face it: the 80’s were not that great. Do we really need to be reminded that the 80’s was the decade when movies like "The Day After" gave us all nightmares? Or that a nasal English guy with a bad haircut took us on weekly tours of luxurious homes? Or that nasal English guys with bad haircuts wore Womens’ clothes and recorded some of the worst music in history? I’m not big on fashion, but even I look back and wonder what we were thinking when we put on oversized lapels, undersized leather ties, and teased our hair until we looked like tumbleweeds had rooted on top of our heads. At least the 20th anniversary of Woodstock went off without a hitch, unlike the 30th anniversary of Woodstock which looked more like Altamont, but the artificial sweetness of 60’s nostalgia which permeated the late 80’s wasn’t nearly enough to wash the taste of leather jackets with superfluous zippers, who shot J.R., Pac Man fever, and describing everything as "totally awesome" out of our mouths. I won’t even mention famine in Africa, which we tried to sing away, or AIDS, which most people thought could be dealt with by ignoring it.

The movies "Back to the Future"and "Dirty Dancing", while having their own particular merits, were part of the nostalgia industry of the 80’s. Nostalgia’s always been around, but it grew into horrifying mutant forms as people looked back at the 80’s and realized that while the 50’s produced singers like Ritchie Valens and Jim Morrison all the 80’s gave us was movies like "La Bamba" and "The Doors". People paid exorbitant prices for pre-ripped jeans and tie-dyed shirts as the "Me Generation" tried to soothe its conscience by looking like the "Peace Generation"–while making a profit, of course. Was there anything from the 80’s worth remembering? Well, maybe the Kangaroo Shoes. I could really use some of those now.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


A blonde, wanting to earn some extra money, decided to hire herself out as a "Handywoman" and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighborhood.

She went to the front door of the first house, and asked the owner if he had any odd jobs for her to do.

"Well, I guess I could use somebody to paint my porch," he said, "How much will you charge me?"

The blonde quickly responded, "How about $50?"

The man agreed and told her that the paint and everything she would need were in the garage.

The man’s wife, hearing the conversation, said to her husband, "Does she realize that our porch goes all the way around the house?"

He responded, "That’s a bit cynical, isn’t it?" The wife replied, "You’re right. I guess I’m starting to believe all those ‘dumb blonde’ jokes we’ve been getting by e-mail lately."

A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money.

"You’re finished already?" the husband asked.

"Yes," the blonde replied, "and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats."

Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the $50.00 and handed it to her.

"And by the way," the blonde added, "it’s not a Porch, it’s a Lexus."

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