Monke: In retrospect, pogs were a bad decision
You know all that old stuff you have and still can't believe you ever bought in the first place? Try to remember it was once new and you loved it.
Perhaps you have seen the lists floating around the Internet lately, recapping many of the ill-advised fashion or technology decisions many of us made in the '80s and '90s.
I'm not ashamed to say I once rocked a '90s bowl cut parted down the middle, covered by a bucket hat while wearing a brightly colored Starter jacket over a No Fear T-shirt and an unbuttoned flannel.
I collected basketball, football and baseball cards. I even blew tons of hard-earned allowance money on pogs, which is a slammer of a reason why I should never be allowed to invest huge sums of money in the stock market. I wish someone would have introduced me to comic books instead.
As a teen, I bought a few nWo T-shirts, spent far too much money on what were, in retrospect, some terrible CDs through the BMG Music Service -- which, to be fair, was actually quite a deal at the time -- and was one of the many guys who did his best to emulate Freddie Prinze Jr.'s hairstyle.
I was reminded of all that stuff this week after my mom got in a cleaning mode and cleared out several things in my old bedroom closet. She then proceeded to dump a bunch of pre-adolescence nostalgia in my lap. Apparently now that I own a house, I get to have all my old stuff that I don't need, nor had I thought about in 10 years.
The haul included hundreds of basically worthless trading cards -- thank the Internet for destroying that market -- and some laughable portions of my CD collection, a couple cassette tapes and an old Five Star binder full of stuff from my early high school days. The pogs are still somewhere at the farm -- and I will find them, if only for a moment of self-deprecation.
I showed my neighbor, in his late 30s, the cassette tapes. He immediately laughed and wanted to see if his Justin Bieber-adoring tween daughter had any clue what they were. Not surprisingly, she didn't. By the way, she came out of the house carrying an iPad and it later dawned on me that if we had told her what a mixtape was, she would think it had something to do with an overrated DJ.
It all got me thinking about the things that we buy, the people we idolize and the trends we follow. Which of them will make us look back one day and laugh or sigh?
One of the easiest answers could be apps. The Wall Street Journal estimates $25 billion will be spent this year on apps. That is a lot of money spent on software not one single person physically owns.
Other products that come to mind are smartphones and tablets. Yes, we love them and can't live without them now, but something better will come along sooner rather than later and we'll laugh about how ancient they all seem while decrying the money we wasted on those blasted apps.
DVDs are on the way out, the market for CDs is almost nonexistent and digital music appears here to stay -- at least until someone figures out a cheaper and better way to market it. Even cable TV looks like it will either have to adapt to the on-demand trend or face the technological Grim Reaper.
On the finance front, I last bought check blanks a year ago and have yet to go through my first book. It's hard to use them when hardly anyone accepts a personal check. Cash, meanwhile, is something I typically only use at bars or places where I don't trust handing a piece of plastic -- essentially the gateway to my identity -- to someone who takes it where I can't see it. Coins? Those are for tip jars.
Most people can't go a day without Facebook and Twitter now, but it won't be long before the next social media behemoth rears its captivating head on society.
When it comes to fashion and culture, you can bet that "YOLO" has thankfully almost run its course while hipster style will be remembered as this decade's version of grunge.
Hopefully the Bieber kid isn't far behind. Even though he just spit on some fans, I have yet to convince my neighbor's daughter that she will one day feel silly for adoring Bieber.
I could go on and on, but every year it seems like trends come and go faster.
That tiny black-and-white TV on which your parents or grandparents once watched two or three networks has evolved into a crystal-clear digital picture with access to hundreds of channels, some of which even broadcast in 3D. But how long will it be before that is as antiquated as the rear-projection TV that took up half your basement in the '90s?
There's no arguing that life evolves or, depending on how you look at it, devolves.
One thing that's certain is some material item you hold priceless now is probably going to be worthless in 20 years.
Just like pogs.
Monke is the managing editor of The Dickinson Press. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him at monkebusiness.