When you still feel young…ish, it’s easy to feel like high school graduation was just moments ago. But let’s face facts: a decade has passed, and we aren’t even living in the same world we were in in 2004. Queue up Wind Beneath My Wings and get ready to clap disrespectfully when you get excited about one of these – it’s time for our In Memorium.
If you’re an ’04 grad, Ecto Cooler was probably a staple of your childhood. I can still taste it now – a thick, corn-syrupy, vaguely citrusy drink that was almost always room temperature, because I was usually drinking it from a Hi-C juice box that had been sitting in my coatroom for 4 hours. Now Ecto-Cooler really is but a slimy green ghost: it was renamed in 2001 and discontinued entirely in 2007.
I have a hunch that if I used organic ingredients, set myself up in a hipster enclave, and started making artisinal Ecto-Cooler, I could make a killing.
For us class of ’04 kids, The WB was our entertainment hub as soon as we became old enough for teen entertainment. From our middle school days watching Dawson’s Creek, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Felicity, to our high school appreciation for Gilmore Girls and Smallville, this was essentially the TV network version of Teen People.
… which also no longer exists. Although, when I read regular People, everyone is so damn young that I feel like it may as well be called Teen People, anyway. Get off my lawn, Ariana Grande.
The Mary-Kate and Ashley line at Wal-Mart
It was a big freaking deal when MK&A launched their “lifestyle line” at Wal-Mart, and it’s kind of hilarious now to realize that they were schilling maribu-lined bedside lamps for tweens while doing coke on the weekends. Now they are real-life designers, and although some MK&A items are still lingering on Wal-Mart shelves (according to the internet – sorry, I do not love you all enough to go to a bona fide Wal-Mart to find out), the full-fledged cosmetics/bedding/bath/clothing panoply is no longer.
Which sucks, because I can’t be the only ’04 girl who bought the best lip gloss of her LIFE from that brand.
Guys Who Were Born In The 1800s
RIP. Like, literally RIP. Ten years ago there were a pretty good number of folks alive who were born in the 1800s, but now the Lost Generation is… well, you know. The world’s oldest man just died (am I supposed to still call him that? Such a confusing honorific). Anyway, he was born in 1903. There are no more living World War I vets, either. Shout-out to the five still-living women holding it down for the 19th Century ladies. I can’t help but hope that one of them is actually Samantha Parkington.
Samantha Parkington (And Molly, Felicity, And Kirsten)
Speaking of Samantha Parkington, everybody take your $30 doll-sized tea service and pour a little out for our homie. American Girl has discontinued those 90s girl status symbols Samantha, Molly, Felicity, and Kirsten. But that doesn’t stop us from wanting to dress like them. (1, 2, 3)
The Bush Administration
It seems like we’ve spent a lifetime listening to Conservative pundits complain about the president. Those eight years when it was Liberals complaining seem like but a whisper of a memory.
Today’s high school grads will never know that thing where you download a song to find that it has been replaced with a loud, static-y buzz due to copyright issues. They will also never know what it’s like to have their parents’ desktop computer crash every six months because you just can’t stop downloading illegal John Mayer tunes. Sorry, mom and dad.
My workplace recently sent out an email warning us against using Napster on company computers, and I was like “that’s cool, I didn’t know we had time-travelers from the early 2000s working here.”
Your Childhood Pet, Probably
If you had a beloved dog or cat in your childhood, it may have lived to see your 2004 graduation, but Bootsie or Spot has probably crossed the rainbow bridge by now.
Am I the only Mets fan in the house?
How many middle school and high school sleepovers started with arguing about whether to get Titanic or Clueless on a trip to that blue-and-yellow rental house? Now all kids have to do is scroll through Netflix.
The Ball Pit At Chuck E. Cheese’s
Chuck E. Cheese: where kids were set free in a complex network of large PVC pipes and a pool, deeper than we were tall, filled with plastic balls, and expected to survive. It’s no wonder today’s helicopter parents don’t allow this. But really, as with Discovery Zone (also RIP) what we were discovering was ourselves. And, inevitably, a used band-aid.
Psych! I assumed this no longer existed, but I Googled it, and it does. Good. Today’s teens should be part of the time-honored tradition of saturating your hair, basking in the sun, and finding that either nothing happened or your hair turned orange and you got a sunburn.