Today is St. Patrick's Day, commemorating the death of the man responsible for driving all the snakes out of Ireland, even though there's no physical evidence of snakes ever existing in post-glacial Ireland, and St. Patrick, born in England, only really ended up in Ireland after being sold into slavery. Anyone that needs more of an explanation of why the only widely-celebrated Irish holiday is based on falsehoods and exaggerations can watch me, being roughly half-Irish, drink after work today. As a representative of Ireland, not only will I talk about the above legends because I forgot about them being untrue, I'll probably tell you that I'm a race car driver and/or a professional assassin and/or the inventor of the ampersand.
However, somewhere in the world, there is a booth, and in that booth, a deejay is saying to himself, "You know what would be badass? 'Too Legit to Quit'. That would be awesome to hear right now. Let's do this." The end result of this decision is me, a complete asshole stranger potentially hundreds of miles away, looking at the speaker above his gas pump and saying "What the fuck?" silently to himself. It isn't so much the cheesy baselines or the ridiculous premise of a man singing about how he has amassed far too much credibility to quit performing, and then promptly quitting. It's not even the fact that, at one point, MC Hammer stepped in front of a mirror wearing a fitted four-button suitcoat, no shirt, and really, really, really big pants, and said to himself, "All right. Time to go on national television. Let's do this." It's that MC Hammer, his music, his popularity--his existence--is indicative of our collective fickle nature towards entertainment. We thought that MC Hammer was talented enough that his music was worth adding to our collections. We saw his album at the record store and said "I want to listen to this. A lot. Let's do this."
Sure, I had Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em, but, in all fairness, I was twelve, and I was probably wearing Umbros and a Hypercolor T-shirt. I also was the proud owner of Vanilla Ice's transcending To The Extreme, right there in my cassette case, alongside Motley Crue, Slaughter, Queensryche, 3rd Bass, Skid Row, Megadeth, and other music that I haven't touched since middle school, including but not limited to House of Pain, once famous for the title of this entry, alongside a song about jumping. If Grunge hadn't shown up when I was in eighth grade, there's a pretty good chance I'd be driving around in a leopard-interior Trans Am with lines shaved into the side of my head right now.
It's not like I've been above embracing trends since I've been old enough to know better, especially in the 1990's. I wore Abercrombie and Fitch clothes on top of Nine Inch Nails shirts to high school. I rocked out the floppy Zack Morris-esque wave until I decided to grow my hair down to my shoulders. I still have the same sideburns I grew when I was a junior in high school. All of this behavior seemed to be pretty average at the time. I suppose it probably always does. My editor, Joe, brought in Prom pictures from 1989 showcasing his mullet. Upon my asking the obligatory, "What the hell were you thinking," he answered by saying that at that point, mullets were somewhat fashionable. I thought about it, and that's about right. Mullets were basically passed from David Bowie to Bono to MacGyver to Joe Martin. He had no way of knowing that the hairstyle would suffer such widespread ridicule in later years, unlike people that proudly wear mullets now, who somehow haven't heard anything about how hilarious mullets are in 2008; in fact, not to show off my amazing prediction skills, but I pretty much knew the mullet was a damnable offense in 1993, and that was fifteen years ago.
The other day I was talking at lunch about something that somehow led to me mentioning hacky-sack as being something that I participated in while in college, and the high school interns looked at me like I was dropping acid. One of them mentioned that he hadn't seen anyone play in seven or eight years, and the other hadn't even heard of the term. Regardless, they both called me a dirty hippie and went on with their lunch. This leads me to ask, what are we, as a society, doing now that might become a laughable atrocity in the near future? What is our generation doing right now, in 2008, that Generation Z, or whatever the hell comes next, will look at in 2015 and think, "Oh my God, that's lame," or whatever slang term is an appropriate substitution for "lame" in 2015?
Actually, more to the point, what am I doing right now that falls into a category of being a dated activity? We've all seen our parents do something ridiculously trendy that we laugh about later. One of my first stealth sips of an alcoholic beverage was out of a Zima bottle, for God's sake. Yes, Zima®, like wearing giant pants and shaving lines into the side of our heads and wearing British Knights® (or L.A. Gear®) shoes and using a Thighmaster® and watching American Gladiators all seemed like pretty good ideas in 1991. Sure, we can claim irresponsibility for those decisions because we were younger then, but what happens when we're fully-fledged adults and somebody catches us wearing neon pink soccer shorts and drinking Zima?
Yes, all of these questions are meaningless for the time being, but I'm almost kind of glad that I'm recording them for posterity's sake. That way, when I'm reading this in 2020 on a transparent hard-light screen in front of me while I'm flying to work by way of my rocket belt, I'll say to myself, "I know now that I never should have assumed that cargo pants and Rockstar Energy Drink® were going to be around forever."
Time to go drink green beer.