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You know, the dude from Double Dare? Oh, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar was killed in a car accident. Same with Steve from Blues Clues. And Marilyn Manson, long after he’d been Paul in The Wonder Years, had a rib removed so he could, well, you know. Yeah, that was the year Mikey from those LIFE cereal commercials died because he ate Pop Rocks and Coke and his stomach exploded, which, we all agreed, was a pretty rad way to go out if you think about it. And it was the year Richard Gere put a gerbil up his butt, which, how?

It was a year way before Wikipedia, and whatever fact-checking has come to mean. A year when my friend’s older sister heard from her cousin…and that’s all it took to set fire to the lunchroom and to home room and to the hallway, redolent of sawdust and Pine-Sol and puke, where the only thing louder than the clanging lockers and the scream of the bell was the chatter of didyouheardidyouheardidyouhear?

And did you hear? That was the year Dad got arrested for kidnapping, even though he told me and my kid sister we were only going to Blockbuster. When we crossed state lines, I just figured we were going to a new one, a bigger one we hadn’t been to yet, maybe one with better Sega games and that wasn’t always sold out of Demolition Man. Dad must not have thought it all the way through though, because I get it, when you catch Mom with the smug neighbor with the big teeth, who’s in GODDAMN CORPORATE LAW, and then suddenly you only get the kids twice a month, you try to make a point for a week or so. You tell the kids it’s an adventure. Doesn’t everyone love an adventure? You feed them nuggets and Frostys and hole out at a Super8 off I-81 and let them swim in the pool and watch cable until the infomercials take over. But you know what you don’t do? You don’t stop to get gas at a Costco. Because even though the price is right, those floodlights are megawatt, and a green Tahoe is easy to spot, and that’s how your picture ends up in the paper and rumors get started and everyone at school stares at you on Monday.


I think that was also the year the guy who played Barney got caught with a kilo of coke stashed in his purple tail.

Man, that was a crazy year.

Just wish I could tell you that none of those things are true.