September 27, 2006

Oh Dear God, They’re Coming Back!

As fads come and go, each one leaves its indelible mark on our culture. From Skip-it to the PT Cruiser to autoerotic asphyxiation, fads breed fond memories of a simpler, more idyllic existence.

Somewhere in the last twenty years, however, trendomotrists began to notice a new pattern in fads. The ancient Mayans viewed time as cyclical, and their fads—rock juggling, gold hoarding, and a primitive game where you get slaughtered by invading Spaniards—tended to recur.

Similarly, our own nostalgic infatuations are beginning to get a second life as so-called “retro trends.” As evidenced by the grossly distended tattoo of Alfred E. Newman on your upper arm, some fads do not age well, but in our ever-expanding appetite for the newest, latest trends, Americans have nevertheless taken to that most creative of all endeavors: taking something that already exists and making it cool again. Maybe with a flame decal or something.

It’s a lot like digesting food, draining it of all nutrients, crapping it out in a steaming pile, letting it ripen for a couple decades in a chest of old Tiger Beat magazines and Meatloaf cassette tapes, then devouring it whole once again. Our high-speed, low-fi, high-tech, broadband generation is so desperate for new trends that we will gladly ravage our own cultural past, like huddled vagrants picking through a pile of corpses, or a kid going into Hot Topic.

Using sophisticated cultural predictors, a DVD Box Set of every episode of Saved by The Bell: The College Years, and one huge bag of weed, we were able to predict which of the fads from our own youth are likely to come back…to the extreme. Hang on to your Ring-Pops, kids, as we explore the Oroboros-like future/past amalgam that passes for our lives.


Ah, the pog. That loveliest of small paper discs, spangled with an action-packed artist’s depiction of a surfer “carving” waves, or perhaps an iconic and popularity-inducing eight ball. What better way to pass the time than wrest No Fear pogs from the greasy clutches of your greedy, hoarding “friends?” And when it comes to stopping a bottle of Pineapple Orange Guava juice, nothing else will do. They’re stackable, tradeable, and technically edible. That, and I heard that the thin laminate coating can be scraped off and smoked. I’m not saying to do it or anything, I’m just saying that’s what I heard.

Although the game was originally meant as a holy recreation of God’s righteous destruction of the Tower of Babel, Pogs quickly devolved into a schoolyard competition of seeing who can more efficiently whale the shit out of a stack of paper with a giant metal coin, or “slammer.” The boy with the biggest slammer often has the competitive edge (and yes, it is a boy, because no girl has the destructive urge, the sheer will for meaningless violence necessary to becoming a true pog champion). And if that slammer happens to have a hologram-style flaming skull decal, well, you can bet that lucky boy is going to be receiving some congratulatory blowjobs after the match.

Slap Bracelets

These little gems combined the haut couture of neon eighties prints with the excitement of light bondage. In terms of articles that are as fun to put on as they are to wear, the slap bracelet is rivaled only by the flavored dental dam. They had an extremely broad appeal. Boys enjoyed their dynamic snapping action and ability to be thrown at any vaguely cylindrical object, while girls reveled in using rhinestones, glitter, sequins and the like to decorate their bracelets with words and designs. Young boys later adopted this method, chasing girls down and slapping "branding" bracelets on a chosen female, thereby claiming her future ovum.

However, slap bracelets began to lose popularity in the late nineties, when the first batches started to age, shedding their protective nylon coatings and becoming little more than coiled hoops of rusted, serrated metal designed to be violently and repeatedly wrapped around the wrist. While the resulting minor cuts helped spawn the LiveJournal emo trend, they meant the death knell for slap bracelets. With the recent advent of superior synthetic fibers, it is hoped that the improved slap bracelet designs currently being tested by NASA scientists will undergo a Renaissance in the near future.

That Beer Commercial Where the Guys Say “Wasssssuuuuup!”

It started a revolution. It became a national obsession. And it’s still as funny today as ever. That commercial where the guys say “Wasssssuuuuup!” will forever stand beside comedy legends like Chaplin’s “Little Tramp” character, Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” routine, and Farrell’s “Glass Case of Emotion” monologue. The freshness and staying power of the sketch spoke to the freshness and incoherence engendered by that particular beer. Guys who scream “Wasssssuuuuup,” we salute thee, and eagerly await your predicted return in the guise of a commercial where you say “Whaaaaaaat? Okaaaaaay!”

That Bud Commercial Where the Frogs Say “Bud. Weis. Er.”

As transcendent as the beer commercial where the guys say “Wasssssuuuuup!” is, it does not represent the pinnacle of beer-related humor. No, that spot is reserved for a trio of amphibious Budweiser enthusiasts with the audacity and farsightedness to have uttered the syllables that comprise the name of said beer brand. All I can say is, I’ve got the Budweiser frog poster, bed sheets, and beer cozy, and I’m well on my way to a crippling alcohol dependency. Thank you, Budweiser frogs. With any luck, you and your cousins, the guys who say “Whasssssuuuuup!” will soon be on top once again.

Beanie Babies

Remember when you laughed at morons paying thousands of dollars for misshapen sacks of beans? Good times, right? The Beanie Baby Empire is due for a Second Coming, and when Ally the Alligator descends to cleanse us of our sins, none shall be spared…from cuddles! From Hairy the spider to American Blessing, the American Flag bear who prays for those killed in the 9/11 attacks, Beanie Babies are nothing if not adorable, jingoistic, and vaguely disquieting.

In the trend to come, however, the market for Beanie Babies will no longer be limited to abandoned grandmothers trying to fill their lives with something other than loneliness. Instead, they will come to represent the ideal product for a quickly emerging cross section of society: the furry pedophile. Furries, of course, being that sect of freakish sexual deviants who get their depraved kicks by making love in oversized mascot suits or rubbing one out at the sneak preview of Over the Hedge, and pedophiles being those individuals who are tragically unable to stifle the urges all healthy adults have for the luscious, flirting little boys and girls who toddle about so suggestively in front of my tortured eyes. Take these two objects of lust—children and animals—throw them into a Venn diagram, and viola! You’ve got a stack of Beanie Babies done over Bukkake-style!

Feminine Hygiene

Did you know there was a time when women didn't walk around with their vaginas clogged by a plug of caked menstrual blood from the previous month's period? When soiled and distended panties were the exception, and not the norm? Yes, for a brief period in the mid eighties, it was fashionable for young women to exercise, bathe regularly, wear attractive clothing, and even shave their normally brackish underarms and groin areas. Unfortunately, we can only pray that this trend returns.

Be it A.L.F., Razor Scooters, or the Democratic Party, obsolete fads will always have an undeniable, if hokey appeal. Hopefully this guide will gird you for the future landscape of Trend County, and give you a few good investment strategies to boot (two words: buy Koosh). So enjoy the time you have, because soon we'll all be drowning in Tomogatchis and the spicy sounds of Macarena '07.

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