Blockbuster video, the '90s, pagers

Blockbuster video sign and pagers.

In “Back to the Future,” teenager Marty McFly goes back in time 30 years, from 1985 to 1955. But what if the film were made today and he went back from 2021 to 1991? I think the culture shock of a modern teenager going from a post-to-pre internet world would be much greater than the one that Marty experienced in the original film.

Would a kid from today be able to dial a payphone? Read a clock with actual hands? Look up directions on a Thomas Guide map?

A lot has changed since the dawn of the new millennium so a group of Redditors marked the changes in a post entitled: “What is something that was used heavily in the year 2000, but it's almost never used today?”

Here are 17 of the best posts.


1.

"Geocities, neopets, livejournal, kazaa," — PapaWeir

GeoCities is definitely one of those things that was everywhere and then suddenly disappeared. At its peak, GeoCities hosted millions of websites, but its popularity declined after it was purchased by Yahoo and web hosting became cheaper.

2.

"If you had a big screen TV it was probably a ridiculously thick rear projection TV," — ParoxysmAttack

Before plasma TVs came around, if you had a big screen it was also a seriously deep-screen TV.

3.

"Re-writable CDs. I used to burn so many mix cds after downloading from napster, bearshare, limewire, frostwire," — Shittinwithmykitten

Napster created a music revolution overnight, but where were we going to save all of that new, stolen music? Rewriteable CDs were all the rage before the iPod came along and put 'em in the palm of your hand.

4.

"Payphones. (Yes I know payphones still exist. Also, I am now very aware payphones are free in Australia, thank you for informing me.)" — Adreeisadyno

Kids these days have never had to walk five blocks to make a phone call.

5.

"Dial-Up.

weeeeeeeee WOOOOOO_OOOOOO_
E E E E E E E EEEEEeeeeee
eee
eee URRRRRRRRRBEDULUDOLEDULUDOLEEPEEPEEP
R R R R R R R R R R R R RUMMMMMMMMMMMM,"
— Martini_Man_

Those of us who lived in the dial-up era will never, ever forget the whizzing, belching sound that we had to sit through to experience the World Wide Web.

7.

"Indoor smoking. My young-ish kids marvel at the fact that people used to sit in restaurants and smoke," — TurdFergDSF

People used to smoke on airplanes, in hospitals, at restaurants ... pretty much everywhere.

8.

"Blockbuster card," — larrythetarry

It wasn't Friday night in the '90s without a two-liter of Pepsi, a large pizza and a stack of VHS tapes from Blockbuster video.

9.

"VCRs," — Murtamatt

Want to feel old? In 2016, Funai, which manufacturers the VCRs in China for Sanyo, announced it would produce its final VHS player, making it the last one ever produced.

10.


"AOL," — PacMan8112

"Welcome!" "You've got mail!" AOL was the leading internet provider in the late '90s but soon lost its relevance after merging with Time Warner, Inc. in 2000.

11.

"Calculators; teachers kept saying 'you won’t have one with you all the time,' look who’s stupid now?! Both of us…" — elika007

A calculator was a luxury item in the '80s. In the '90s, a Texas Instruments graphing calculator could cost you $90. Now, it's all on your phone along with a million other apps.

12.

"A/S/L" — Smart_North_3374

Anyone who's a proud member of Gen X knows the "age/sex/location" question. It's the first thing you asked in an AOL chatroom when people used to try to hook up online. Of course, nobody answered it honestly, but that was half the fun.

13.

​"JNCO jeans," — ccherry124

In the 2000s everyone wore skinny jeans. But in the 1990s, people wore the baggiest jeans possible. The award for baggiest jeans goes to JNCO, the manufacturers of raver pants that fit two legs and a few kilos worth of MDMA.

14.

"Pagers," — skaote

The pager was one of the most popular status symbols of the '90s. Nothing said "cool" like having a pager that was constantly blowing up. (Does anyone under the age of 40 know what it means for a pager to "blow up"?)

15.

"'Wanna Cyber?'" God . We were awful," — icanbeafrick

Back in the AOL days, the closest you could come to getting it on while online was through cyber sex. There were no pictures or video so you just exchanged dirty messages until the other person logged off. The typical cyber session began with, "What are you wearing?"

16.

"Limp Bizkit," — Timmah_1984

Unfortunately, they're back.

17.

"Travel agencies. Now I can do everything on my phone," — whatdoineedaname4

If you can belive it, before there was Priceline, there was a person sitting at a desk with a rotary phone who booked your seven-day trip to Europe.

That first car is a rite of passage into adulthood. Specifically, the hard-earned lesson of expectations versus reality. Though some of us are blessed with Teslas at 17, most teenagers receive a car that’s been … let’s say previously loved. And that’s probably a good thing, considering nearly half of first-year drivers end up in wrecks. Might as well get the dings on the lemon, right?

Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

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Bird-watching is in focus on a new National Geographic show.

You may remember the name Christian Cooper, but if you don't, this will jog your memory. In summer 2020, Cooper made the national news when a white woman, Amy Cooper (no relation), called the police, falsely accusing him of threatening her. Christian Cooper was out in the early morning at Central Park doing what he does often: bird-watching. It's a longtime hobby that, thanks to that unfortunate exposure, he's now taking to the next level and sharing with the world. Cooper recently finished filming six episodes of "Extraordinary Birder" for National Geographic.

"Whether braving stormy seas in Alaska for puffins, trekking into rainforests in Puerto Rico for parrots, or scaling a bridge in Manhattan for a peregrine falcon, he does whatever it takes to learn about these extraordinary feathered creatures and show us the remarkable world in the sky above," National Geographic wrote in a press release announcing its new slate of personality-driven exploration and adventure themed storytelling.

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TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

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