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Pop Culture

10 laughably inconvenient things from the '90s that absolutely no one misses

Thank goodness we no longer have to talk to random people in the house when calling a friend.

90s; nostalgia; humor; funny; inconvenient

Inconvenient things from the '90s no one misses.

There are always stories about how great the '90s were, but actually, when compared today, they were many things that were pretty inconvenient. Sure, you got to roam the streets doing who knows what for who knows how long while your mom watched an "Unsolved Mysteries" episode on all the ways you could be kidnapped. But you also couldn't just pick up your cell phone and ask if dinner was ready or if you could get another 15 minutes outside. The notion of inconvenience in the '90s had one Reddit user asking people what they don't miss from the decade of neon and cassette tapes.


The question turned out to be a fun twist on the old rose-colored glasses nostalgia that generally happens when we reminisce on decades past. Personally, I don't miss having to talk to random people in someone's house when I call to talk to a friend. If we're being completely honest here, I don't miss actually having to talk on the phone. Text me, please and thank you because if you call me I will absolutely stare at my phone until it stops ringing and then text to see why you called. It's nothing personal, I just prefer very little human contact. People can be very peopley, but what were other people's gripes?

Photo by Taras Zaluzhnyi on Unsplash
1. Trying to plan your own route with an actual map

Man, it feels like we were once pirates. Blue, pink and yellow lines zigzagging across a map of your state or worse, the entire country if your road trip was taking you out of state, just seems reckless now. Sure, if there's ever some sort of crazy apocalypse and Siri is no longer yelling at us for making wrong turns, map reading will come in handy. Until then, "Hey Siri, give me directions to the children's museum."

2. Not having a quick way to look up random trivia

The younger generations will never know the annoyance of wondering something with no answer for literally days until you make your way to the library to research it. Imagine for a moment having a question and instead of walking your fingers over to the Google, you have to put on real pants and go to the library, look through the card catalogue then search the aisle for the title of the book you need that holds this secret knowledge. The whole thing just sounds exhausting.

3. Missing your favorite television show

Remember when you missed your favorite television show and … you just missed it. That's it. There was no watching it later unless you had a VCR that could record, otherwise you had to wait until the summer for the reruns. Sometimes missing one episode of a show ruins the whole show because you missed a key piece of information.

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4. Actually having to leave your house to rent a movie

No. Just, no. Getting fully dressed to wander the aisles of your local Blockbuster or Hollywood Video to read the back of empty movie boxes only to come home to watch a crappy movie you feel obligated to watch, does not sound like a good time. People in the '90s really liked leaving the house.

5. Needing to keep a pocket full of change

There would be plenty of people confused if their parents handed them a handful of coins because they were going out, but it was how we had to live. You either had quarters to call home or you left really fast messages after the beep of a collect call meant for you to leave your name. Plenty of parents got the "mompickmeupthemoviesover" messages, then promptly hung up the phone without accepting any charges.

6. Not being able to use the phone and internet at the same time

The only internet was dial-up in the '90s and it was a fickle beast because internet was still new and shiny. Not only did you have to wait for your connection to load with that god-awful sound it made, but you couldn't use the internet if someone was yapping on the phone. The absolute frustration that came with the early years of internet would be enough to make someone's head explode today.

Photo by Adam Mills on Unsplash
7. Blowing into game cartridges and consoles to get them to work

You just want to play Street Fighter and the dang thing won't work, so you do what any kid in the '90s did, you start blowing the dust out of it. I've heard this doesn't actually do anything, but it certainly did something when I was a kid because after blowing your hot Dunkaroo breath in it, the game miraculously worked.

8. Discmans that didn't fit into your pocket

When CDs came out it seemed that they were a game changer. You no longer had to re-spool your unraveled tape with a pencil because it kept getting stuck in your boom box, but CDs came with their own problem. They scratched easily and the portable music player was too big to fit into your back pocket like the much smaller Walkman that played cassette tapes.

9. Having no idea what your pictures looked like before printing them

Developing pictures was really the wild west in the '90s. Would you get a cool close-up of you and your friends, or would you get a blurry picture of your thumb? It was anyone's guess. Taking a million pictures and hoping for the best was really the only strategy because Polaroid cameras were too big to carry everywhere.

Photo by Marissa Lewis on Unsplash
10. Hoping that someone would be home to answer the phone

There was nothing worse than being ready to leave some place or having your car break down only to dig through your pocket for a quarter to put in the payphone just for no one to be home. How wild is it to think about that now? Someone had to literally be inside their home to receive a phone call.

It's truly amazing how quickly we adapt to things as humans. While most of the things on the list are little annoyances, it goes to show how far we've come with technology and convenience. We have really embodied the term "work smarter, not harder."

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Three women, three MS journeys: How multiple sclerosis looks different for everyone

Gina, Nathalie and Helga share their reactions to being diagnosed with MS and how they stay informed and positive in the face of ever-changing symptoms.

Courtesy of Sanofi

Helga, Nathalie and Gina all have MS, and their experiences show how differently the disease can manifest.

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It’s been 155 years since neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot gave the first lecture on a mysterious progressive illness he called “multiple sclerosis.” Since then, we’ve learned a lot. We know MS causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, including damaging the brain and spinal cord. Resulting symptoms can be debilitating and include fatigue, blurred vision, memory problems and weakness. Huge advancements in our understanding of MS and its underlying causes, as well as treatment advances, have been made in the past few decades, but MS remains a complex and unpredictable reality for the 2.8 million+ people diagnosed around the world.

Ironically, the only real constant for people living with MS is change. There’s no set pattern or standard progression of the disease, so each person’s experience is unique. Some people with MS have mild symptoms that worsen slowly but sometimes improve, while others can have severe symptoms that drastically alter their daily lives.

All people with MS share some things in common, however, such as the need to stay informed on the ever-evolving research, find various lines of support and try to remain hopeful as they continue living with the disease.

To better understand what navigating life with MS really looks like, three women shared their MS stories with us. Their journeys demonstrate how MS can look different for different people and interestingly, how the language used to talk about the disease can greatly impact how people understand their realities.

woman with horse, woman riding horseGina loves riding her horse, Benita.Courtesy of Sanofi

Gina—Hamburg, Germany (diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis in 2017)

When her youngest son was 4 months old, Gina started having problems with her eye. She’d soon learn she was experiencing optic neuritis—her first symptom of MS.

“Immediately after the diagnosis, I looked up facts on MS because I didn’t know anything about it,” Gina says. “And as soon as I knew what could really happen with this disease, I actually got scared.”

As her family’s primary income provider, she worried about how MS would impact her ability to work as a writer and editor. Her family was afraid she was going to end up in a wheelchair. However, for now, Gina’s MS is managed well enough that she still works full-time and is able to be active.

“When I tell somebody that I have MS, they often don't believe me the first time because I don't fulfill any stereotypes,” she says.

Overwhelmed by negative perspectives on living with MS, Gina sought support in the online MS community, which she found to be much more positive.

“I think it’s important to use as many positive words as you can when talking about MS.” It’s important to be realistic while also conveying hope, she says. “MS is an insidious disease that can cause many bad symptoms…that can be frightening, and you can't gloss over it, either.”

To give back to the online community that helped her so much, Gina started a blog to share her story and help others trying to learn about their diagnosis.

Though she deals with fatigue and cognitive dysfunction sometimes, Gina stays active swimming, biking, riding horses and playing with her sons, who are now 11 and 6.

Cognitive dysfunction is common in MS, with over half of people affected. It can impact memory, attention, planning, and word-finding. As with many aspects of MS, some people experience mild changes, while others face more challenges.

Gina says that while there’s still a lot of education about MS needed, she feels positive about the future of MS because there’s so much research being done.

woman in wheelchair holding medal, woman rowingNathalie is an award-winning rower with multiple international titles.Courtesy of Sanofi

Nathalie — Pennes Mirabeau, France (diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in 2002)

Nathalie was a teenager and a competitive athlete when she noticed her first symptoms of MS, but it would take four years of “limbo” before she was diagnosed.

“Ultimately, the diagnosis was more of a relief, than a shock,” she says. “Because when you have signs and you don’t know why, it’s worse than knowing, in the end, what you have.”

However, learning more about the disease—and the realities of disease progression—scared her.

“That glimpse of the future was direct and traumatic,” she says. Her neurologist explained that the disease evolves differently for everyone, and her situation might end up being serious or very mild. So, she decided to stop comparing herself to others with MS.

She said to herself, “We’ll see what happens, and you’ll manage it bit by bit.”

By 2005, Nathalie’s MS had progressed to the point of needing a wheelchair. However, that has not dampened her competitive spirit.

Nathalie began her international rowing career in 2009 and has won multiple world titles, including two Paralympic medals—silver in London and bronze in Tokyo. Now, at 42, she still trains 11 times a week. Fatigue can be a problem, and sometimes hard workouts leave her with muscle stiffness and shaking, but she credits her ongoing sports career for helping her feel in tune with her body’s signals.

“Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to my body, letting my body guide when I need to stop and take breaks,” she says.

Nathalie explains that she used to only look backwards because of the initial shock of her diagnosis. In time, she stopped thinking about what she couldn’t do anymore and focused on her future. She now lives in the following mindset: “Even when doors close, don’t miss out on those that open.” Instead of focusing on what she can’t do, she focuses on the opportunities she still has. Right now, this includes her training for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, where she will compete for another rowing medal.

“I only go forward,” she says. “Well, I try, anyway…It’s easy to say, it’s not always easy to do. But that’s what I try to do.”

woman exiting water after swimming, woman with great daneHelga's Great Dane has become a helpful and beloved companion.Courtesy of Sanofi

Helga—Johannesburg, South Africa (diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis in 2010)

When Helga first started having balance issues and numbness in her feet, she chalked it up to her training as a runner. But when the numbness moved to her face, she knew something was wrong. She never guessed it was MS.

“When I was diagnosed, I felt completely overwhelmed and clueless,” Helga says. “I felt that I had nowhere near enough information. I did not know anything about the disease…I had no idea that it was going to be a process of continually monitoring and adjusting your lifestyle.”

In the beginning, Helga’s symptoms developed slowly, and she didn’t appear ill to others. She was even able to run for a few years after her diagnosis, but she couldn’t do marathons anymore, and she began to fall frequently due to balance issues and right-foot dragging. Then her cognition issues became more problematic, especially in her job as a trainer in a printing company.

“My executive function, decision-making and short-term memory were affected to the point that I was eventually medically unfit for work,” she says. She stopped working in 2017.

However, she didn’t stop living life. Even though she could no longer run, she continued to swim competitively. She got a Great Dane puppy and trained him as a service dog to help her walk. She also serves as vice chair of the patient support organization Multiple Sclerosis South Africa, and she advises others who have been diagnosed to join a patient advocacy group as soon as possible to get reliable information and meet others with MS.

Helga says she is “hopeful” about the future of MS. “I must say that I am so grateful that we have all the new medications available, because my life would not be the same if it wasn't for that,” she adds.

Part of how she manages her MS is by looking at the positives.

“If I could tell the world one thing about MS, it would be that MS is an incurable disease of the nervous system, but it's also the greatest teacher of valuing your health, family, friends, and managing change in your life,” she says. “My life is diversified in a way that I never, ever thought it would, and MS has been honestly the greatest teacher.”

Each MS journey is unique – with each person impacted experiencing different struggles, successes, and feelings as they manage this unpredictable disease. But the common thread is clear – there is a critical need for information, support, and hope. We are proud to participate in World MS Day and share these incredible stories of living life while living with MS. To learn more about MS, go to https://www.sanofi.com/why-words-really-matter-when-it-comes-to-multiple-sclerosis.

MAT-GLB-2301642-v1.0-05/2023

This article was sponsored by Sanofi. Participants were compensated when applicable.

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