We Miss Summer in The '90s: Super Soakers, 'The Babysitters Club,' and Other Lost Pleasures
One of the nastiest secrets about becoming an adult is that as soon as you do, the meaning of summertime changes. A season you recalled as perpetually mellow and blissfully blank is now filled with weird, seasonally-specific irritants like beach traffic, bizarre tan lines, annoying roommates, shockingly stressful vacation planning sessions, and that whole "working the entire summer" thing. Staring down your first truly tear-inducing summer electric bill of the year, it's easy to get lost in rose-tinted memories of your '90s childhood summers — a time when you had nothing to do for three whole months but hang around with your friends, enjoy the outdoors, and quietly wait for someone to invent Facebook.
But hold up a moment there, buddy. Don't be tempted to waste another work day remembering your '90s summers as a flawless, halcyon era composed entirely of friendship bracelets and CatDog reruns. Sure, summers were more relaxed when you were a kid, but they were not without their own problems.
For starters, there was the dull ache of pre-smartphone boredom — especially acute during the part of the summer when all your friends were at away at camp and you were stuck home, trying to see how many Bagel Bites one person could eat. There was the frustrating, Sisyphean nightmare of household chores (why do lawns require as much care and attention as a small child?). And in that time before central air was standard, there was the heat. Why, I bet if you concentrate real hard, you can remember a hot '90s summer day like it was yesterday...
it was HOT outside (duh)
And you are desperate to find a solution. Of course, the most obvious answer is to seek some shelter...
so you STAY HOME
But, alas, you are not home alone. Your parents are also inside your house — seemingly waiting behind every corner with some kind of educational activity that they think will help you get into college.
but Parents are so annoying
and everything on nick is for little kids during the day anyway
you have no one to play hungry hungry hippos with
so you GO HANG AROUND YOUR BACKYARD
and Grab your super soaker
Ah, yes, your trusty Super Soaker! That will help you beat the heat!
...until your mom takes it away for spraying your little brother's face until he cries
so you PLAY WITH the slip 'n' slide
Ah, the ol' Slip 'N' Slide! Oh, wait, your mom took that away, too...can't remember why...oh, yeah, that was why.
remember how that kid up the block had to get emergency dental surgery after Crocodile Mile?
Who could have possibly dreamed that sliding headfirst into a crocodile's mouth would lead to trouble?
time to PAY A VISIT TO THE ICE CREAM TRUCK
They all look so delicious, and involve all your brother's favorite TV shows!
Oh, wait, I only have a dime. What can I get for 10 cents?
you could MAKE YOUR OWN ICE TREATS AT HOME
at least you have your old, reliable Snoopy Sno-Cone machine
or your Barbie Ice Cream Shoppe
time to RELAX UNDER SOME SHADY TREES WITH SOME QUALITY LITERATURE
I don't know, Kristy; does spending all your free time with 2nd graders really qualify as a "great idea?"
but your fast metabolism means you're getting hungry again
time for another snack at the corner store.
Which delicious from-concentrate nectar should you buy first?
Perhaps a push pop is more your style?
or a ring pop?
No, you're saving yourself till marriage.