The other day, I said a phrase I didn’t think I’d start saying until I was in my mid-fifties.
“Man, those were the days.”
(Which was immediately followed up with, “Damn, I’m getting old.”)
To give that statement a little bit of background, I was specifically talking about one of my favorite television shows when I was a kid, “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
After watching a few re-runs of old episodes, I realized the insane amount of double entendres and ties to literature that I never knew as a kid (nerdy, I know).
Finally, I could understand why my parents loved watching the show with me; the show was packed with humor that I couldn’t (thankfully) understand at my young age, but that allowed my parents to enjoy the show’s antics as much as I did.
(But, as we all know, after the movie version, SpongeBob started to suck as much as most modern-day children’s television shows. Now, there are no hidden dick jokes in SpongeBob’s antics. Now, it’s too fast-paced to really enjoy if you’re not six years old.)
Anyway, putting this rant to the side, think about this startling fact—”SpongeBob SquarePants” debuted on May 1, 1999. Personally, I was five years old. Many Case Western undergrads were at a similar age. And now, the show has been on air for over 15 years.
I’ll repeat that for dramatic emphasis:
It’s no “Simpsons,” but it’s one of the last remaining TV shows from our childhood that wasn’t cancelled or transformed into some horrible spinoff (seriously, did anyone really see “Rugrats: Grown Up” becoming successful?)
Quite a few of my childhood memories are of television, because (let’s be real), some of the best children’s shows occurred while my generation grew up. And also, I was a lazy kid. But even outside of TV, look at how much the world has changed.
THEN: Toys of choice once included turtle-shaped sandboxes and finger skateboards.
NOW: “Mom I’m five and I want an iPhone.”
THEN: Crocs shoes were actually cool for a couple of days.
NOW: “Why are you wearing those? They’re so 2004.”
THEN: Flare jeans every day.
NOW: “This isn’t a disco.”
If the world’s standards of “cool” have changed so much in the past 20 years, it’s mind-boggling to consider how much else has changed.
And when you think about it, Cleveland and CWRU changes are just as mind-boggling. Did you know there was a time that the Browns didn’t suck? Or that Cleveland’s business was booming? Or that CWRU used to be two schools?
This issue of The Athenian is dedicated to looking back at the past, but also the present too. After all, change isn’t always a bad thing; who says the good old days can’t be today?