It would be sacrilege not to write this week about giving thanks, so here’s why I am most thankful for the 1980’s.
* I wasn’t yet tempted by plastic surgery. I broke my arm very badly when I was six. (Unfortunately, that wasn't in the 90’s...) I ended up having major surgery to repair it, for which I still have a very significant scar. I remember my father asking every so often if I wanted to visit a plastic surgeon to have the scar repaired. I was never interested, and quite frankly never understood the suggestion. Years later, I recognize that he, too, struggled with the enormous challenge of raising a confident daughter in an image obsessed world. Thankfully, I believe he succeeded.
* I aspired to be a Carrington, not a Kardashian.
* I watched Sesame Street without questioning Bert & Ernie’s living situation. My not-yet four year old daughter recently said, “Mommy, Ernie is sad because Bert isn’t sleeping in his bed”. Be it out of innocence, chance or enlightenment, her statement was a powerful reminder that she and her sister will grow up in a society possibly even more plagued by judgment that of my own generation.
* I learned the magic of live music when it was actually live music. I was seven when I saw Neil Diamond rock the Hartford Coliseum. My parents passed on a night of fun (or even adult companionship) in exchange for giving my brother and me the once in a lifetime chance to hear “Heartlight” truly sung from the heart. Of course, like any avid BOP reader, the late 80’s had me hanging’ tough with the NKOTB, but it was Neil that taught me to appreciate the spectrum.
* I fell in love with Kiefer Sutherland when he was the original badass, and let the love grow for Jack Bauer.
* I watched every ball drop on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with my parents. At the time, I had little appreciation for mother’s unwavering love for Dick Clark. ("Generation Z" readers, that means she gazed upon him like the founder of the Belieber Fan Club would Justin.) Many years later, my first job in Hollywood was on the talk show “The Other Half”, where Dick co-hosted with Mario Lopez and Danny Bonaduce. Mario never referred to him as anything other than Mr. Clark, and the rest of the world saw him as a deity. To this day, one of my greatest accomplishments is having introduced my mother to Dick Clark. And I'd love to say that I dreamed of or foreshadowed it happening... but the beauty of it is, I didn't.
If there is one thing that makes me sad about the 80’s, it is the fact that they are long gone. For me, that decade was one of happiness and innocence. It was before responsibility and accountability set in, before I knew what stress was, and before my father was diagnosed with brain cancer. Still, I am thankful for those times. If there is one thing I have learned since the 1980's, it is to uncover the reason to make every moment matter, as they will all be gone too soon- just like the original BOP magazine.