I know the exact moment in life when you become not young. Not old. I hate it when people say they’re old at 35. Old is when your pockets are full of Centrum Silver and Gold Bond Powder at the old folks home while you scramble for the best seat by the parakeet cage. No, no, I know the moment when you become not young. It’s when things that were cool when you were a kid become retro.
It’s when you see some snot-nosed kid bopping around with a stupid haircut you had in 1991 and you think “What’s wrong with these kids? Nobody who lived through that the first time would ever want to see that again!”
The first time I experienced this was when Reebok Pumps came back into style. Reebok Pumps are THE WORST shoe in the history of the world. It is literally work to wear them, like having to crank your car or one of those pump-carts on the railroad tracks that nobody seems to know the purpose for. Yes, it looked cool when Dee Brown leaned down and pumped his shoes up before winning the slam dunk contest in 1991, but for me it was just another chance to fall down in the cafeteria because my body couldn’t handle bending over. I lost so many brownies that way. Pump your shoes up all you want, it’s not going to make you look any less like Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Mike Brody.
Kids actually started wearing those shoes again a few years back. Are you kidding me!? Just because it happened in the past, it doesn’t mean you should relive it. The NBA’s not having throw-back peach basket games with only white players.
The New York Knick’s Iman Shumpert is leading the charge for early-90s revival in the NBA right now with his eraser-head haircut. Technically, the Miami Heat’s Norris Cole did it first, but his is more of a short Frankenstein’s monster than a landing pad for Soul Plane like Shumpert’s.
I just worry about what’s going to happen next. Retro is a gateway drug. Your kid could be next. Make sure you pay close attention to his/her wardrobe and attitude. One minute they’re copying Iman Shumpert’s deer-hoof hair and the next they’re wearing backwards JNCO’s like Kriss Kross and listening to Snow. You’ve got a case of the Shumps.
This movie doesn’t end well. Just ask former New York Knick and 1st wave flat-topper, Kenny “Skywalker” Walker.
Kenny Walker played in the NBA for 11 years. He won the 1989 NBA slam dunk contest, but is primarily remembered for his hair. What does the future hold for someone like that? According to his Wikipedia page, after the NBA “Walker…raced against a horse named “Pugwash”, and won. The New York Times wrote, “It is a well-established fact that a fast human can outrace a slow horse, at least if the human is unfettered and the horse is forced to pull a sulky and driver, and the distance isn’t much more than a 100-yard dash.”
“Hey Kenny! What’ve you been up to?”
“Well, I outran a slow horse 20 years ago. Wanna buy some watches?”
I realize I can’t win the battle against retro. Inevitably, someday in the future there’ll be an NBA player with an ironic emo flop-cut and Affliction shirt. It can’t be stopped. But be careful how closely you copy the past. You might find yourself at Canterbury Downs racing tomorrow’s Elmer’s Glue.