Let’s all take a moment to think cool thoughts- perhaps think of the guys in “The Thing” out in the icy desolate wilderness, but without the dying part…or,think of a yeti, or of Luke Skywalker riding his Tonton through the snow… is that helping? No? Hmmm…
What about thinking of things that you used to THINK were cool? We were having a discussion at work about some of these, and had fun reminiscing- and, it brought up some stuff I never would have thought of otherwise.
For example- do you remember “Zork”? It was a computer adventure game- but- uh- not the type you might be thinking of…no first-person shooters, no curvy Lara Crofts- in fact- no visuals at all! It was all text! I just remember having great difficulty with it. You’d type in what you wanted to do as the story progressed- I think you had to go into some entrance that brought you to an underground cavern, and you’d find various items, meet various creatures and challenges, all the time typing out what you wanted to do. Here’s an example of what would happen to me (I’m sure I have forgotten some of the details, but, you’ll get the idea…):
On the screen: A dwarf approaches you. I type in “say hello”. It replies He does nothing. I write “ask him his name”-it replies He does nothing. I try again “ask which way to go”. He starts to walk away. I type “Tell him to wait”. He stops. I write “Give him the sandwich” (at some point I had picked up a paper bag with a sandwich in it- pretty exciting find, huh?) He does nothing. (What- he wanted pizza?) I write “ask for help”. He stabs you with a sword. You die. AARRGGH! I cannot tell you how many times I died and achieved almost nothing. Plus, back then, it took a while to restart the whole game, so- it got tough and frustrating. I also remember being killed by topiary bushes that were shaped like animals and suddenly started to move.
I even had a similar game that a friend had given me that was based on “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” that was pretty cool, again, all text, no visuals, but, thanks to my lack of expertise, the earth would be destroyed and me with it, way too often. Nonetheless, we thought these amazing computer games were very cool.
We were also talking about the beloved eight-track tape players that many of my friends had in their cars. The eight-track cartridges were basically a tape loop , that would switch tracks to continue playing the album- it wasn’t like a cassette tape that you could turn over to play side two- the tape had one side, and always moved in the same direction, so it had “tracks”- duh- eight of them-two for each stereo channel, so, it’d flip to the next two tracks as the album unspooled- and often, the switch would occur in the middle of a song! So you’d have one of your favorite tunes playing, and suddenly there’d be a slight pause and click and the song would continue. If you played the song enough, you would memorize where the click came in, and started to think of it as a true part of the song. (By the way, I apologize for this lengthy explanation for those of you who, like me, lived through the eight-track era… and ,yes, we thought the eight-tracks were cool…)
One final memory- when we were kids (don’t you young people HATE to hear that phrase?!) and didn’t have air conditioning- the cool place to be in the house was the basement. It was literally ten or more degrees cooler than the upstairs house…and if you had an old black and white TV down there- that was the coolest way to spend a hot afternoon!
Did any of that help cool you off? Me neither. Back to thinking about movies- like “Ice Station Zebra” or “Jack Frost” (the one with the killer snowman) or “A Cold Night’s Death” (remember that? Made for TV? Robert Culp? Monkeys?… boy, I HAVE been in this heat too long already…)