Raiders of the Lost 8-Track

“That belongs in a MUSEUM!” ~Dr. Indiana Jones

Just the other day I was helping a young lady at the library who was probably young enough to be my daughter. Her fellow Gen X mom and I were waxing rhapsodic about all the stuff we miss about the 80s: actual record stores that sold actual records, MTV when it really was Music Television, those huge cordless phones that resembled military field radios. The poor kid was really confused.

“You mean,” she gasped, horrified at this point, “you actually used to have to, like, dial someone’s number? That’s so messed up.”

Which led me to think…what if I were an archaeologist in the year 2512 going through a well-preserved suburban house from 1982? What assumptions would I make on how these primitive savages lived their lives? (This is, for those of you who don’t know teenagers, how most Millenial teens look at previous generations.)

Let’s take a look at some of the items most of us fondly remember but are now sadly obsolete. Grab a bullwhip and your favorite fedora, and play me some of that music, Mr. Williams…

 “We think these plastic trinkets were offered to the Gods of Magnetized Ribbons. Each god or goddess favored a specific colour scheme, and some favoured clear plastic to solid plastic or vice versa. It was considered disrespectful to these gods to transfer information from shining silver discs onto their offerings by way of the Great Boom Box. Competing factions of different gods would war using special weapons called ‘Mix Tapes.'”

“This is a rare example of an artifact from a now-extinct Inuit tribe, the ‘Polar Oids,’ a tragic casualty of the global warming crisis. This tribe once engaged in numerous rituals including making small portraits of polar bears, hunting the Photogenic Brown Seal, and, perhaps most familiarly to Americans, their war dance of ‘Shaking It Like a Polar Oid Picture.'”

“In the late part of the 20th century, naval warfare took on a new dimension. This, we believe, belonged to the legendary Commodore #64, whose real name is still unknown to archaeology. This was a clever way for the Commodore to practice military strategy against the Soviet Empire, whose brass secretly enjoyed a private joke about him and his little ‘microcomputer.'”

“Today we think of the 20th century as quaintly archaic. This is not so. The people once stored information in a method similar to the ancient Sumerians’ methods of cuneiform. These storage devices were known as ‘vine ill,’ perhaps an allusion to the wine god Bacchus for the frenzied dancing and wild abandon they caused. Each ‘vine ill’ tablet was round and contained as many as ten bits of information. We also know that 20th century people were once advised to ‘spin right round’ like one of these devices, further evidence of a Bacchanalian cult following.”

“Thanks to modern medicine, the plague of E.D. is largely eradicated. In the 20th century this was not so. Here we have what was known as a ‘floppy,’ a superstition born of primitive Sun worship. The suffererer would offer one of these ‘floppies’ to the Sun god (note the alignment of Earth and Sun) in hopes of curing his ailment. Since these objects melted easily in sunlight, an offerer might need to purchase a good many in hopes of a cure.”

“There were many grand tragedies in late-20th century life, among them the attempts to create sustainable housing. One such experiment was the Virtuous Housing Solution (VHS), in which houses were constructed from a surplus of mysterious hard black polymer objects. This seemed like a good idea until one of the constructed homes was caught in a fire, causing its inhabitants to have to watch something called Carrot Top’s Greatest Hits and swim in a sea of molten polymers. The idea was summarily scrapped.”


“This is an otherwise beautiful building full of small, tightly bound papyrus scrolls. We’re still puzzled as to what the scrolls are for and who would ever want to waste their time reading with the advent of telescreens and 4-D.”

What “artifacts” of the 20th century do you guys miss? Anything you think needs to stick around? Anything you’re not sad is gone?

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"That's Murdock...Pasadena Murdock"

~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on March 15, 2012.

12 Responses to “Raiders of the Lost 8-Track”

  1. This was very entertaining! Thank you for making my day a humorous one!

  2. Just for the record, if I could have the Indy theme song playing in the background of every major event in my life…I so would. Love the post and the way you brought it!

  3. That was funny.

    • It wasn’t supposed to be…it was supposed to be serious archaeology. 😛

      • I don’t know, I think it would be pretty comedic if some future archeologists decided to play a few of those VHS tapes (if they found a way) and found various home movies of the x-rated variety. Or imagine their horrified reactions to the plethora of various horrible b-movies like Cool As Ice and Garbage Pail Kids.

  4. Personally I think this is some of the funniest work I have read of yours. Clever, hilarious, and so true!

  5. Man, the 80s were truly awesome. I miss my Walkman, my Jem dolls, and my banana seat bike. Good dadgum times, yo. Good times.

    I had a friend whose kid found his laser discs and asked what the “huge CDs” were for. It’s a shame technology eradicates the past in order to press on to the future. I wonder how long we’ll have before books are totally obsolete!!

  6. This was a fun and incredibly witty post. Would be nice if any main stream archeologists were to read it as everything they find is somehow tied to a ritual or religious belief, in their narrow view. That’s why this made me laugh so hard. Thank you!

    PS. Sadly, i still use 5.25 floppies, hehe.

  7. I still have a record player and records, still watch VHS movies, and eventually, I want an 8-Track player. XD (Antique freak) Lol.

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abandonen toda esperanza aquellos que entren aqui


You - philosophical, thoughtful, witty. Me - still thinks fart jokes are funny. We should DEFINITELY get together!

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