20 Pointless Things We All Did In The '90s


While it’s true that every generation has its quirky habits and seemingly nonsensical predilections, I would argue that the pointless things we all did in the ‘90s were honestly some of the weirdest — but also the best. Yes, I realize that my thoughts on the matter probably stem from the fact that I grew up during the ‘90s; still, though. It really was a unique decade, particularly in terms of how it dealt with children: Rather than expecting children to behave like tiny adults, in the ‘90s, there was an emphasis on just letting kids be kids. And that’s why I think some of these so-called “pointless” things actually kind of mattered back then — and still matter today.

Because even though we called them “pointless,” they did actually have a point: They were fun. Fun was largely what characterized a ‘90s childhood, from what we watched to how we spent our free time, and I think it's telling that this was the case. I mean, think about it: The television network Nickelodeon, which entered its “golden age” in the ‘90s, called itself “The First Kids’ Network”; the driving force behind it was fun. Chuck E. Cheese’s, which began in the '70s but, like Nickelodeon, came into its own in the ‘90s, had the tagline, “Where a kid can be a kid.” And these are just two examples among many, all of which add up to a very particular philosophy: That fun, play, and childhood are valuable.

And I think we were onto something there — fun, play, and childhood are valuable. In fact, that might be why so many of us ‘90s kids are so nostalgic for the era in which we grew up: We recognize that it was an important cultural moment, and it might have made all the difference for many of us in terms of how we view the world today. So these “pointless” things? Maybe they’re not so pointless after all.

And besides, we all did them. Don’t try to deny it.

We Spread Glue All Over Our Hands Just So We Could Peel It Off

So satisfying. So very, very satisfying.

We Pretended To Be Someone We Weren’t In A Chat Room

I mean, yeah, we might have made the excuse that we were protecting ourselves from online predators, which actually was likely part of it… but we also just kind of wanted to pretend we were from Australia for a while.


Here’s my cue to note yet again that personally, I think collecting as a hobby is kind of odd; I’m not sure what the allure is other than amassing a giant pile of stuff that has little to no practical purpose. Regardless, though, we were all about collecting stuff in the ‘90s: Pokemon cards, POGS, Gelly Roll pens — you name it, we collected it.

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We Doodled That Weird “S” Thing In The Margins Of All Our Notebooks

Who is “S?” Why did we feel the need to continually draw their initial on our schoolwork? The world may never know.

We Over-Sharpened Our Yikes! Pencils Just So We Could Play With The Pencil Shavings

Yikes! pencils were unique in that their shavings, when sharpened, were extraordinarily hardy. If you were really careful, you could actually sharpen an entire pencil down into one massively long shaving. There’s no earthly reason why we would need to do that… but sometimes we did anyway. Just because.

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We thought we were being cool. We were not cool.

We Wore Multiple Pairs Of Socks Simultaneously

Not going to lie: As an adult, I sometimes double up on socks in the winter because I am old and my feet get cold stupidly easily. As a child, though, there was no rhyme or reason to why I felt the need to layer my socks.

Gak. Just… Gak.

OK, to be fair, Gak wasn’t entirely pointless; it made the most magnificent fart noises, and everybody knows that fart noises are the pinnacle of comedy, so… yeah.

We Avoided Talking To Our Crushes

Honestly, I suspect that one of the reasons communicating in relationships is so difficult for us as adults is the fact that we spend our entire childhoods studiously avoiding the people we really want to hang out with the most. Just think how many issues could be avoided if we just got in the habit of saying, "Hey, I like you!" at an early age.

We Spent Hours With Our Tamagotchis

A Tamagotchi does not love you. It is a computer program incapable of love. It does not care that you drop whatever you are doing the moment it screams for you. And yet… and yet.

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We Crunched Our Fruit Roll-Ups Into Balls Before We Ate Them

Apparently we thought a ball of fruit goo was somehow more appealing than a sheet of it. Or… something.

We Tried Way Too Hard To Come Up With Cool Names For Our 'Oregon Trail' Party Members

It didn’t matter that they had the best names ever. They all just died of dysentery anyway.

We Memorized The Lyrics Of The Theme Songs To Every Show We Held Dear

Ah, who am I kidding? I still do this.

We Endlessly Debated Which Spice Girl We Really Were

We were so deep, you guys.

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We Endlessly Debated Which ‘90s Heartthrob Was Our One True Love

Were you destined to end up with Danielle Fishel? Devon Sawa? Will Smith? Obviously this was the most important thing you would ever discuss with your friends.

We Stuck Lisa Frank Stickers All Over Everything

We were so convinced that everything was better with rainbow unicorns.

We Convinced Ourselves That We REALLY NEEDED That One Beanie Baby

Because once it’s retired, it’s gone forever! IT WILL BE WORTH MILLIONS ONE DAY! (Except that it, uh, isn’t. Whoops.)

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We Went To The Mall With No Intention Of Buying Anything

I mean, sure, it was an “important part” of “socializing.” But I would argue that entering a bastion of consumerism knowing that you’re absolutely not going to buy anything is kind of pointless.

We Bought Another Lip Smacker Even Though We Already Had 80 Of Them At Home

How much lip balm does one ‘90s kid need? (Answer: Always one more.)

We Ate Our Bugles Exclusively Off Our Fingertips

We swore it made them taste better.