Growing up in the 1980s

(A photograph of me.)
me in the early 1980s

If you want to know what I used to look like, then here's your chance.  The first school photo was taken in the early 1980s, when I was around 13 (I'm guessing about the age, I'm not really sure when the photo was taken).  The second one, probably a couple of years later.  School photos were quite awful things back then—looking rather like mug-shots—they didn't improve for quite a long time.  The second one is a typical bad example.  It was a few years later that the uninformed uniform obsessives finally forced school uniforms on the school.  But I'm happy to see that they only have marginal luck in getting the kids to wear the bloody things.  I've still got that shirt, and it still fits (just).

Back then, everybody had hair, lots of it; shirts still had big collars, and school photos looked like mugshots.  You either liked Fords or Holdens, nearly everybody barracked for Port (Port Adelaide football club), and being a “trendy” (one who blindly follows fashions, rather than makes their own decisions) was a major insult—it was viewed in the same way as someone, these days, walking around in public wearing a copy of a Star Trek uniform (i.e. stupid).

Nobody wore designer clothes, and about the only “label” clothes that kids had were “Levi” and “Smile” jeans, and Addidas tracksuits—neither of which were really expensive.  You wore plain shoes if your parents chose your shoes, or the more independent kids wore “Ripples” (black suede boots with heavily rippled sole treads) or “Romes” (white leather sneakers with blue stripes).  There were no $300+ sneakers, and Nike hadn't even been heard of.  Ripples and Romes were the signature of which particular tough group you supposedly belonged to:  Ripples being the choice of the so-called “Rockers,” and Romes being the choice of “Skinheads”.  Though neither the Rockers or Skinheads were really what those names were associated with.  It was mandatory for the Rockers to wear black jeans with their ripples, and most of the Skinheads wore faded denim jeans (not bought that way, jeans fade by themselves without paying extra for the priveledge).

(Another photograph of me.)
me in the mid-1980s
(another awful school photo)

Hardly anybody had home video games, except for a few people with things like “Pong” (it wasn't really worth owning), or the old Atari.  VCRs and home computers didn't exist; and we spent our spare time riding bikes, climbing trees, and mucking around down at the local creek.  You didn't watch TV when your friends came over, TV was for when you were stuck at home on the weekends, or between home-time (after school) and tea-time, when you had nothing better to do.  We didn't stay up all hours watching garbage, either—most kids went to bed around 8 pm.

We didn't pig out on junk food, either.  Most foods were home-cooked from raw ingredients—there was very few “frozen prepared meals” at the shops, that hadn't really started yet, and was almost unheard of in the 1970s—and we had very few “problem kids” (one or two per school of several hundred kids).

Ponder on that… affordable lifestyles, proper food, proper parenting, decent sleep, active lifestyles, no vile or aggressive crap on TV… and you get well-adjusted people.  Then on the other hand… unaffordable lifestyles, unhealthy and chemical laden food, parents who think someone else should teach their kids but object to them doing so, kids staying up all night long, being lazy, and indoctrinated into violent and selfish behaviour—the run of the mill fare for video games, current TV shows and movies… and what do you have now?  Epidemics of kids allegedly with A.D.H.D., who're generally brattish, and don't know how to behave properly, even when they can control themselves.

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