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Examiner
  • Peter Chianca: This is me in grade 10, baby

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  • Awhile back my mother sent me home from a visit with a box of my old photos, mostly featuring me and my high school friends with weird clothes and gigantic hair. (You know who you are.) I remembered most of the shots, but I came across one old gem that stopped me in my tracks.
    After some research (i.e., turning it over and looking at the date printed on the back), I’ve determined it to be my bedroom circa 1984, or at least my half of it -- the other half was my brother’s and I take no responsibility for the WWE (nee WWF) posters contained therein.
    I’ll admit that unexpectedly seeing my old digs like this was kind of mind-blowing. Given the odd angle, it’s possible I snapped this picture by accident, or it could be that I was purposely trying to make it LOOK like it was an accident, which is exactly the type of thing a 16-year-old me would have done. Regardless, beyond all its faded-paneling-and-checkered-comforter greatness, the photo offers a telling glimpse into my teenage pop culture psyche, such as it was.
    By far the most archaeologically significant facet of the picture is what’s laid out on the bed: a not-quite-state-of-the-art Sony Walkman, two low-grade 90-minute Maxell tapes (I can’t read the labels, but my guess would be “Born to Run” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” on one, “The River” on the other one), and that quintessential ‘80s artifact, a cassette of “Sports” by Huey Lewis and the News. That was the one with “I Want a New Drug,” the song that was retitled “I Want a New Drug (Called Love)” in Germany -- because they apparently didn’t do drugs there in the ’80s, “99 Luftballons” notwithstanding.
    Almost equally significant are the posters -- the “Ghostbusters” one is of course a nod to my love of the film, which came out just a few months prior, but also to my Halloween costume that year, which allowed me to join a slew of fellow Ghostbusters on stage at the Halloween dance and have everybody yell “Ghostbusters!” at us when we inquired as to who they were gonna call. This was pretty much the finest moment of my high school career. I didn’t say I was proud of it.
    As for poster number two, only the corner is showing, but I’m guessing from the slacks and wingtip shoes, the explosions, the speedboat and the careening bodies that it’s from “Terms of Endearment.” Wait, I meant to say James Bond. At that time the most recent James Bond movie was “Octopussy,” but as I can’t imagine hanging that title up in the same house where my mother lived, I think it must have been something else. Email me if you recognize it.
    Page 2 of 2 - Next, the hats. As a native New Yorker, it’s probably not a huge surprise that I’d have a Mets cap -- I came from a long line of Yankees fans, but through most of my childhood the Mets always reminded me more of my own baseball career, in that they were horrible. Plus I enjoyed Mr. Met and his freakishly large head; from what I recall the Yankees didn’t even have a mascot, besides Billy Martin.
    But it’s the other hat that’s more indicative of my 1980s inclinations ... Yes, I owned an Indiana Jones fedora. I don’t remember ever wearing it in public, mind you -- I was already at great risk of being beaten up just because of my lack of baseball skills (see above), so I didn’t need to give people any other excuses. But it held a special place of honor on my bedpost, and I’m sure there’s a joke in there about my relative success with women, which I’ll leave up to you to make.
    I wouldn’t call it the most stylish collection, but there’s something to be said for the days when you could splash your bedroom walls and your high school locker with lovingly collected physical representations of all your favorite stuff (unlike all those digital versions my daughter shares today, which is way too easy). My current bedroom, with its tasteful drapes and kitty-corner bookshelf, might be more tasteful, but it isn’t nearly this interesting.
    Time to start petitioning my wife to let me hang up my old framed “Naked Gun” poster. …
    Peter Chianca is editor in chief of GateHouse Media New England’s north-of-Boston newspapers and Wicked Local websites. Check out Pete’s Pop Culture, Parenting & Pets Blog at northofboston.wickedlocal.com/section/blogs.
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