Signs of the times

I was not your average child. I was born in 1984, making me a Reagan baby. 12 days after my birth, the first Apple MacIntosh (check that baby out if you feel your desktop computer is too large)
with a mouse was introduced. At that time, I was eating through a feeding tube because I was born with a cleftpalate. In 2010, the average cleftpalate repair surgery cost $5,000. It cost my mother over $20,000 in 1984. Which equals over $50,000 now.

In the 90’s, while my friends were learning the lastest Madonna songs and plastering their walls with New Kids On the Block posters, I was sneaking my Mom’s Polaroid 600 One Step outside to take pictures that mimiced those I’d seen in my vast collection of National geographic magazines. Can I just say that it irritates me that this camera is notated as “vintage”? I am not of the vintage era!

I was the 8 year old who looked forward to dissecting the owl pellet in second grade and immensly enjoyed reconstructing the tiny mouse bones that were recovered from said owl pellet. I was the little girl that had the solar system and inner workings of flowers and animals on my walls instead of Barbie’s and Disney Princess decor. I would have preferred colored pencils and construction paper in my stocking at Christmas any day and I was absolutely certain the hole I was digging would lead to China. Maybe I am not so different from other children in some ways, but I’d be willing to bet that most children didn’t have shelves constructed specifically for the NatGeo magazines I mentioned.

Fast forward to 2011, though I sometimes don’t want to, the 90’s were awesome. My Mom moved recently and while helping her unpack, I stumbled upon a Grey Goose Vodka box that had to be about 15 years old. If you’ve ever moved, you know the only place to get boxes is behind the liquor store. The top of the box had been resealed many times with duct tape and in black permanant marker the words “Becca’s Magazines” was scrawled in my Mom’s handwriting. Well well well…. what do we have here? I pried it open and was beyond ecstatic to find all my magazines in the box.

They range from January of 1980 to March of 1999. Some are yellow and the older ones are green and white. The early 80’s magazines were saved by my grandfather I assume. and were given to me. Probably so that when my ceaseless questions about the world began, they could tell me to look up the answer myself. I found a few of my childish snapshots tucked in one, a very sad attempt to recreate the Amazon river in the retention pond in my Sarasota neighborhood. I couldn’t resist, I spent half of the morning today leafing through them and I realized two main things. Scientists sure do make a lot of predictions and money will always be an issue. here are a few observations I made, most of them made me laugh out loud.

In january of 1980, “they” predicted that by the year 2045, we would have the technology to use a computer to pinpoint a geographic location and map it out with a device called a “Geographic Locating Device” that would be <GASP> PORTABLE, and for public use. This was the mind blower apparently, that civilians would be allowed to use this technology. the first civilian operatable GPS, NOT GLD was introduced in 1994. maybe they misjudged the timeframe with that one a bit.

In January of 1981, the price of a postage stamp in the US was .18. Today a little square with adhesive on the back will run you nearly half a US dollar.

In February of 1982, scienticts announced that the earth would completely run out of helium by the year 2012. Wait, that’s 8 months from now! That guess wasn’t quite accurate. but guess what? After some research, I found out that now they are giving us another 30 years and THEN, we will run out of helium. Hypothetically, according to CBS, if this problem continues, by 2025 one single party balloon could cost as much as $100. Make more helium you say? You can’t. It’s one of the basic elements in it’s simplest forms and cannot be recreated. Pretty crazy stuff.

In January of 1983, scientists (they sure are busy people huh) predicted that within 10 years, a list of cities in the U.S. would experience winds in excess of 100 mph. On the list? Miami. Miami’s reaches winds of over 100 mph very rarely, in fact it’s average windspeed for the past 59 years is a steady 9-12 mph. But these scientists are scientists for a reason. 9 years after this prediction, in 1992, Hurricane Andrew ravaged the Southern Florida coast, reaching winds of 165 mph (or 266 kmh for those of you who need it). By the way, in 1992, that storm caused an estimated $34 Billion in damages. That is the equivalent of $47 Billion today. My how the mighty dollar reigns.

This is my favorite. In February of 1983, those silly scientists predicted that by the year 2000, we would be mining the moon for 97% of all our mineral needs. They said by 2015, we would have little moon communites where all these miners cohabitated on the moon and we would not have to deplete the Earth’s resources any longer. Somebody dropped the ball on THAT one.

In 1983, a movie cost $4.00 per ticket in NYC and the average price of gas in the US was $1.21 per gallon. You are lucky in 2011 to find gas for less than $3.60 per gallon. Now, if you want to catch a flick in The Big Apple, it will cost you an average of $10-$14. This means that by 2031, we can expect to pay about $20-$28 per ticket. Can you say “Netflix”?

But those scientists are allowed to make mistakes. We all do. But every dog has it’s day and they definitely had it in March of 1983, when they predicted a massive earthquake in Japan within the next 20 years. That was 18 years to the month. Pretty scary stuff, isn’t it.

In 1990, a Barbie Doll cost an average of $28. Ready for it? They are now an average of $12 if it is not a specialty Barbie. I should also add here that between 1986 and 1994, my Mom bought me every holiday Barbie that was issued in an attempt to girl-ify her only daughter. I cut their hair, shaved their legs and put them in my brother’s trucks to drive them through the mud. Collectively, these 9 or 10 Barbies would be worth over $2000 now. Dang it.

So when the news tells me my water bottle is filled with BPA, or when they tell me my deoderant will give me cancer, I will think back to 1990. When I could run and play in the woods (yes, Sarasota had woods in the 1990’s) with my mother’s polaroid and not worry about natural disasters and rising prices. Everything changes. Predictions are made and some are correct. Others are not. No one can see the future, so why try? I think I will enjoy the times I am given now, because my friends, THESE are the good old days. I am predicting they will be wonderful.

Signs of the times

Rebecca Morrison

Bushnell, United States

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Some fun stuff I found and wanted to share :)

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  • Rebecca Morrison
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