Constantly sifting through volumes of nostalgia get you to thinking about your life and lately I’ve been doing just that. To be specific I’ve been contemplating my teenage years. In my teens I lived through the same troubles and rites of passage as any normal person. I remember getting my drivers license my first school dance my first job, the first time I discovered time travel, my…What’s that you say? You don’t believe that I traveled through time? You think that time travel is just something from the movies and that a person could never do it in real life? Well I once knew someone that thought just like you do…but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning of the story.
In 1985 during an in depth pop culture investigation (going to the movies) I witnessed something inspiring . A young man in one of the most thrilling (fictional) adventures I’ve ever witnessed. Blending action! Comedy! Romance! Science! And an amazing puffy orange vest! As I stepped from the dark theatre I thought about what I had just seen. That technology had to be mine! I had to have a time machine!…and a puffy orange vest. But I wasn’t a fool I knew one could not make a time machine out of some random parts thrown onto a DeLorean. No, my random parts would have to be thrown on to an El Camino. How else would I be able to make an awesome entrance, exploding out of nowhere leaving flaming tire tracks with my “La Cucaracha” horn blasting! An evil genius has to think about style!
Shamefully it took me a full 5 years to turn that fictional account of time travel into a reality but nevertheless I had completed my own fully functional time machine. Just in time for the third installment of the “Back to the Future franchise, I was ready to make my maiden voyage. However, to do so I had to figure two things out. I had to decide where/when to go, and I had to choose an expendable lackey…I mean trusted assistant to help me to test my creation. I went to the most in-depth source of information on history that I could locate in these United States. I went to a B Dalton bookstore in a shopping mall in Eastern New Jersey. Every day I poured through the pages of books. I read books on the 30’s the 40’s the 1750’s and sometimes I read books of collected Garfield comic strips.
The problem of finding an assistant seemed to solve itself. One day while conducting my research HE walked in. I had seen him before, his name was Bob and he was actually an
employee in the mall. I knew by reputation that he was a kindred spirit. A steadfast researcher of pop culture and an expert on “emerging technology.” He was a truly wise and noble man. Ignoring the fact that he may or may not have been scoping-out the “adult” magazine section, I approached him for conversation. After some light chit chat; “don’t you work at the video store?” Etc… I eased into what had lately become my normal conversation opener. “So, do you like….Back to The Future?” To my delight he replied in the affirmative, and I began to test just how deep his appreciation ran.
I could tell over the next few days that he began to grow weary of our constant BTTF conversations but they were a necessary evil. I had to know just how interested he was in
time travel and I had to know I could trust him to be a loyal member of my team. After a week and a half of regular bookstore meetings the time had come. The next Monday all would be revealed and we would set out, on what was sure to become one of the greatest journeys in the history of mankind. To my disbelief, on that fateful day, he didn’t show. I waited quite some time and eventually spotted him a few stores down at a Just For Feet..hiding out. The disappointment hit me immediately. This guy was not the one, I would have to step into the world of time travel on my own. While my plans were delayed due to this setback I carried on and by Friday I was somewhere in time.
From then on I had a blast, meeting my great great great grandchildren, inventing rock -n- roll, generally taking a tour of everywhere and every when. And then one day one year…a year not too far from our own I spotted him. I spotted Bob, and my heart sank. The young lad of the 80’s who was so full of promise had become a disheveled, wild eyed hobo standing in a park shrieking information about classic video games to no one in particular and violently hurling Rubics Cubes at anyone that made the mistake of wandering to closely. This could not be. I had to do something. After all what good was it to have power over time itself if I couldn’t use that power to set right what was made wrong. So, after an unknown number of years spent joyriding around the history and future I made the ultimate sacrifice…I went back to New Jersey.
I decided to go back in time to one day after I was abandoned for a Foot Locker employee. I arrived seamlessly at the mall bookstore as if nothing had happened. Moments later Bob showed up and I was thrilled to see him, as he was, before it all went wrong. We commenced our tradition of talking about the Back to the Future movies, but this time as the days went on I slowly began to move the conversation to the subject of Bob’s other hobbies and interests. It turns out that he had begun to write about things. Lots of things. From video games to movies to television and toys and he desperately wanted the world to see it. He had hit on an idea as of late that he thought couldn’t miss. A fan newsletter discussing fun facts and useful information about the latest in pop culture and entertainment. He had decided to call his newsletter The Currentist.
The problem was, that the public had so far not taken much of an interest and very few copies of his newsletter had been given out. It seemed that people in the 80’s weren’t to keen on a newsletter that obsessed over the 80’s I suggested to him that although his concept was very strong the people of his day weren’t the audience he should be aiming for. The people that would read his work would be the people of the future! He began to look longingly over to footlocker and cautiously asked if I was going to start talking about Back to the Future again. I dismissed his worries explaining that I wasn’t referring to time travel, I was merely talking about biding his time. I told him that he should continue to document every piece of information, every advertisement and everything he could learn about fads games and popular entertainment. What he shouldn’t do, I said, was publish. Not yet. One day there would be a thing called the internet. A thing people all over the world would use solely for wholesome enlightening purposes and not at all for porn! On this internet. nostalgia would be king, and the information he gathered today would be enjoyed by millions tomorrow. Furthermore, if he documented these things now, as they were happening, in the future it would make it look like he had an almost photographic memory of nostalgia and old pop culture! I even told him to keep track of his own life experiences especially those that involve the pop culture items he catalogued. The public, after all, eats those human interest stories up! Bob asked what he should do if he didn’t actually have experience with a certain thing but still wanted to write about it. What should he do then? I told him one of the most important things I’ve ever told anyone. Bob, I said, if you don’t know what to write about…Just make it up.
In the end my plan was a success and Bob became the Retroist that you all know and love today. A master of nostalgia, sitting atop Retroist Industries and leading a high powered and highly paid team of the most skilled bloggers ever assembled. He even managed to recruit VicSage, a shadowy but influential voice on the subject of days gone by. And lest I forget, the incredibly prolific Meta Girl. This especially interested me as meta was one of those words I had always heard but never knew the meaning of. I had the opportunity to ask MG what meta meant and as it turns out it means “something that creates layers of abstraction or that is largely self referential” one example would be a blog post about the actual blog site that the post is featured on. Which, if you ask me, is a pretty interesting concept.