There’s a lot of evil forces in this world, distorting the way we perceive everything. One of the biggest and most evil of these forces is nostalgia. If you allow it to run through your life unchecked, everything you’ll encounter will seem disappointing. One of the more crushing aspects of nostalgia however, has to be the realization that the thing you’re nostalgic about really isn’t all that great.
Now I’m not saying you can’t be fond of old crap. If it’s good crap, it’s good. Heck, lots of the older crap is better than the new crap. It could make you think that in the old days there was a lot more of the better crap than there was utter shit. That’s untrue, even back in the days of the good crap, there was enough shit to go around.
It’s a lot easier to make the distinction between the good and bad now that enough time has passed. There were a ton of very shit cartoons when I was growing up. I’ve fallen asleep during quite a few of them. A whole bunch of cartoons made me instantly change the channel. I could give tons of examples of bad cartoons from my childhood, but most readers would have their nostalgia goggles cracked. Sure they did balance it out with stuff like Animaniacs, Dexter’s Lab, and all the fantastic Disney cartoons, but I’m just saying that not every cartoon that we’ve grown up with was that good. No matter what people from my generation might try to tell you.
It’s sometimes just amazing what kind of things you can get nostalgic about. If I think back to the last time there nearly as much snow as there has been in this area, I get nostalgic feelings about two separate events.
The first one involved me getting in a fight at my mom’s place and deciding to go home. I took a tram home. Quite early on I decided to get off and say “hi” to a friend. That friend turned out not to be home, so I went back to the tram stop and waited. And I waited. Waited some more. A police car stopped in front of me and told me all trams had been cancelled for the rest of the day due to the heavy snowfall. I had to walk the rest of the way home, and it was pretty much on the opposite end of the city. Along the way I looked through the windows of tons of houses as I walked past them. People were getting comfy around the TV, wearing Tshirts and shorts. Central heating must’ve caused a lot of bills to skyrocket that year. By the time I got home my hair was frozen and I was wearing a white cover of snow on top of my hair and shoulders. My roommates gave me an odd look before laughing in my face before telling me the heating was screwed. I felt completely miserable.
The other memory starts off with me snapping out of the almost invitingly warm adventures of Rand Al’Thor (shut up, it’s one of the earlier Wheel of Time books and they were great), closing the book and making my way outside, nearly tripping over the snow in front of the door. This was the first time in my life that I had ever seen snow that was several centimeters high. It was fantastic and filled me with joy. At least, until I got at work and we had an amazingly busy and chaotic day. It didn’t help that the boss couldn’t get any babysitter for her kid that day, so he was in the restaurant, demanding everyone’s attention the entire time. Because that’s what 1 year old kids do. She naturally took the most natural parenting route as she put him in front of the laptop streaming kid’s shows from YouTube. There was also a moment where she took a break to play with her kid in the snow while we were still open and had to take care of the initial customers coming in.
Why am I nostalgic about these times? I don’t know, I know I just am. I wasn’t happy during these times, and all that was on my mind was being elsewhere, doing something different. It’s not something I have just started feeling nostalgic about either. The first memory has come up several times, covered in that feeling of “the good old days”, except the more I think about it, the less good that old time was. Maybe it’s because life seemed a lot simpler back then. I had just moved out and only had one real thing on my mind. Anime. Okay, anime and Jpop. I was a massive fan of Rurouni Kenshin and almost constantly listened to Hamasaki Ayumi back in those days. How did I start moving towards rock music? Through Japanese Rock music of course!
It’s strange, considering I’ve taken a big distance from those things these days. If I watch any TV shows, I tend to go for things like Breaking Bad or Dexter (spoil season 5 for me and I will hunt you down). Musically I go for Deep Purple, David Bowie, Red Hot Chilli Peppers… And well, okay I’ll admit, Dir en Grey has been kept simply because I still like them. I don’t want to be anywhere I’m not any more, I’m quite content with where I am.
One good piece of proof that nostalgia works its magic on some of the strangest things is The Neverending Story movie. I have fond memories of watching and loving it as a kid. Most people I know do as well. The only people that still hold a positive opinion of it are the ones that haven’t watched it recently. A few years back, I tried watching it with a girl. It was one of those sort-of romantic watching a movie together deals, I was planning to try my luck and make the next move with this one…. Except we both fell asleep during it. The scenes we did see in the movie, we had no recollection of having seen before. The scenes we look forward to seeing weren’t there. Unless of course we slept through those, but I doubt that.
After talking about it with a friend, he mentioned he watched it recently as well. It made him fall asleep too. In fact, he said that’s what happens to most people who have rewatched it later in life.
Although not everything you have nostalgic memories of have to be bad. I can still load up my NES and enjoy the games released on them. Animaniacs is still one of my favorite things to have graced television (and it must’ve performed miracles warping my young and fragile mind), and Shindemo Boogie-woogie will always be an awesome song.