Rachel at blogumutha and I lived parallel lives as kids. We were deprived of orthodontic devices, which explains my extreme self consciousness about my smile and the fact that she actually owns a grill (like Lil Wayne, not George Foreman.) I’m really not lying. She works in enterprise software at a big publicly traded corporation in a big girl job and she has a grill and probably has her own golden pimp cup. We both also yearned from the deepest depths of our pubescent souls for a Hypercolor t-shirt.
Very few kids at my middle school were wealthy, though there certainly were a few. Jason Zimmersham (name changed to protect, well, the poor) was not one of them, broke ass fool. But even that fool had a Hypercolor t-shirt. In retrospect, though, I think he may have spent his entire school clothing allowance on it, because it is the only shirt I remember him in. Ever. For grades eight through twelve. After a certain number of washes, the hypercolor stopped working and all you had left was a tie-dyed t-shirt, which was uncool. In case you don’t remember, Hypercolor was also kinda gross – they shouldn’t have treated the armpits of the boys t-shirts, because dudes would work up a sweat and the whole shirt would be one color and the armpits a different one entirely. Sucka’s paid good money to have a visual representation of pittin’ out.
Okay, now I’m starting to freak out, because Rachel is a girlio and I am a dude and I kinda wanted almost everything on her list, too (that rabbit coat is looking all sorts of lush). Well, maybe not Glamour Shots. But yeah, kinda. If I could have pulled off putting on a gold lamé jacket and a feather boa and a dab of blush and made all my ugly go away and not been beaten to death by the northwest Houston jimbo’s I grew up with, I definitely would have. I’m progressive. I like glitter. I kiss my dad on the lips.
Rachel never had Kaepas, but I did, chump. Two years after they were in style. My mom bought them at Weiner’s, which is where clothes go to die after Marshall’s won’t take them. You would see someone else you knew from your class at Weiner’s, and the race was on to spread the rumor that the other kid shopped at Weiner’s. Weiner’s smelled like . . . . no, that joke is too obvious. It smelled like desperation and layaway and future therapy bills. It smelled like suburban childhood during the oil crisis. It smelled like Reagan, K-Mart po-boys, and pleather shoes. Michael Jackson Moonwalker Court Shoes, because nothing says hoop it up like a little Jacko on your hooves.
Watch this Weiner’s commercial and imagine me dancing along in front of the TV, because I probably did in the 80′s:
The best thing about Kaepas were the interchangeable triangles in different colors that came with them. I promptly lost most of them and broke off entire fingernails trying to swap out the remaining few. Instructions: Using your entire fingernail as a lever. . .
I also had the male equivalent of the Blossom hat, which was the Joey McIntyre NKOTB hat. I wore it everywhere, which might not be so bad, except that I think I also wore a bolo tie. Seriously, with turquoise and everything.
So what didn’t I have? I’m so glad you asked, just in time for Christmas. Because I still want these things, I’m not even lying.
1.) A GT Performer BMX bicycle
Straight up and down, this is the culmination of everything I have ever wanted and never had. Kids that rode these were capable of awesome things, like vandalizing cars senselessly and growing their bangs out over one eye like a cartoon dog. WANT.
Instead, at the height of BMX fever, my mom and dad bought me a red Schwinn ten speed bicycle with ram’s horn handlebars. And a speedometer. While other little boys were breaking faces on half pipes, pumping other kids to school on their pegs, I was running time challenge sprints up and down the street. I had a built in waterbottle cage and an air pump. Take that, Matt Hoffa.
2.) Z. Cavaricci pants – with two belts.
Mom, the reason I can’t take care of you and dad in the old folks home is painful and difficult to discuss. But it really comes down to that lie you told me about not being able to afford a week’s worth of Z. Cavaricci’s for me in the sixth grade. $500 dollars for 5 pairs of little tiny boy pants seems perfectly reasonable. You get 10 belts! They practically come with a girlfriend, too! And instructions on how to make out with her at the skating rink. You still stand behind your decision? Rot in adult diapers, mom. I hope you and the bathrobe you stole from the senile lady’s room next door are happy together. Tell dad next time I win a box of Kleenex’s at old people bingo, I’m not letting him fold them obsessively into small treasures like he does with his liver spotted grandpa hands.
3.) A pierced left ear
Everybody knows you’re gay if you pierce the right one, duh. Until you do, and you aren’t. Or you are, and you like it.
Eventually, this fantasy turned into getting a suicide chain like Rachel Bolan from Skid Row. Because who wouldn’t let their 7th grader connect their nose to their ear with a rip cord?
4.) An electric guitar from the Sear’s catalog
This was not a short-lived want. Every year, Sears put out the “Dream Book,” which was their Christmas edition of the Sears Catalog. Every year, I asked for an electric guitar – preferably either the one with the built in amplifier, the one without a headstock, or the one with the Eddie Van Halen paint job – and every year I got a completely different instrument instead. It started with a harmonica. Then, an autoharp. I’m not kidding – an autoharp. I had one of those. I played it and sang along with it and tried to figure out if you could mic it and play badass solos. You cannot.
Finally, I got the closest thing I would ever get to an electric guitar. Mom and dad pinched pennies and saved dimes and bought me – wait for it – a key-tar. I am actually dead serious when I say this is the closest I ever came, ever, in my entire life, to being cool. Think about that a bit, if you will.
5.) British Knights (BKs)
I never wanted a pair of shoes more than I wanted a pair of British Knights. I remember standing at Foot Locker debating between the hi- and the low tops, knowing I would get the no-tops since I was broke. Actually, I can say with 100% honesty that I DID get the original version of these (at Weiner’s):
I’m just going to end the list here. I’ve gone off and stirred up a bunch of feelings of inferiority and jealousy and my insurance won’t cover another therapy session this week and I’m afraid the hotline won’t take my calls about Air Jordan’s and Girbaud jeans anymore, as if they aren’t a “clinical” enough emergency. Shyeah, right, as if.