Missing my misspent younger years


I never went on the road with the Grateful Dead.

Or woke up in a strange place with only a vague recollection (if any) of the night before. I have never been “busted” or thrown a punch in my life.

Imagine my surprise to discover that I squandered my “misspent youth.” I became a grown-up having completely forgotten to speed a little in the fast lane on the way.

It’s been said that if you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning. But how can I say “do as I say, not as I do” if I never did anything?

Not so wild side. Oh sure, there were the high school parties that embodied our mid-80s suburban idea of the wild life. A gaggle of kids with badly permed hair standing self-consciously around someone’s parents’ family room, damaging our hearing with the help of Van Halen.

Warm beer was the exception, most of which seemed to be spilled on the sofa rather than actually ingested, which is why most of my sense of the term “party” consists of experiencing mild terror while scrubbing upholstery with various scented household cleaners to cover the smell of cheap beer. (And I take this moment to apologize to Mrs. Boyko, wherever she is).

Those parties seem hopelessly tame by today’s standards. In my day (shoot me now – did I really just say that?) “rave” was hairspray. Not an illegal all night dance party, oozing drugs and open to everyone ages 12-20-something.

Bell bottom blues. Today’s 30-somethings spent their formative years in the 1970s and came of age in the 1980s. This is why rather than becoming enamored with the bell-bottom pants and hippie clothing revivals of today, we realize that the ’70s, much like the presidency of Nixon, are something that we all know happened but really don’t discuss in polite society.

With no studies on the long-term effects of disco music to protect us, many of our earliest developmental years were spent senselessly exposed to disco and The Pina Colada Song.

Remember kids, guns don’t kill people, “the Hustle” kills people.

Yet, beyond polyester pantsuits and pet rocks, the ’70s were a pretty tame time to be a kid. We weren’t politically exposed at a tender age. Were more likely to fear the monsters on Scooby-Doo than a terrorist attack (if only today’s kids could find, at the end, that it was really the caretaker in disguise all along).

Instead we engaged in debate of who was better: Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie or Samantha from Bewitched.

(By the way, it’s Samantha, hands down. No contest.)

Forget Dawson’s Creek and their racy teenage ilk.

ABC after school specials were considered “deep.”

Donny and Marie Osmond had their own show, and in our most shamefaced moments we will admit to having sung along to I’m a Little Bit Country, I’m a Little Bit Rock ‘n’ Roll. Clearly, Donny is no Eminem.

We experienced Michael Jackson’s first two or three noses. And remember when his videos were scary – not his personal life.

Memory lane. When it comes to mincing down memory lane I don’t have much to hide. My life is an open book, lacking in gasp-inducing plot twists.

I didn’t hack anything because computers were for nerds and NASA.

I squandered my allowance on PacMan and lip gloss, not drugs. The most revealing fashion was an exposed shoulder in a ripped T-shirt a la Flashdance.

Hardly the stuff of Girls Gone Wild videos, even if you had been able to choose between BETA and VHS.

I think, perhaps, that I simply saved up my misspent youth to enjoy when I’m older. Maybe after the kids are grown, the husband and I will hit the road in a big old bus, dress too young and refuse to act our age.

Just think, me in Flashdance-style spandex busting a move to Van Halen! What could be a more horrible warning than that?

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt still has her Madonna skirt from 1985 but promises never, ever to wear it. She welcomes comments c/o P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460 or kseabolt@epohi.com.)


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!

Previous articleReward few who got it right
Next articlePondering the strange, but true
Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.