I’ve always heard that everything old will eventually be new again. I don’t know about ‘new’, but it does seem that old stuff sure finds a way to become cool again.

And, even though I’m not sure if that statement is true regarding us as human beings, it sure seems to be true regarding the culture the decades long past helped create.

As a kid growing up in the 70’s I remember distinctly that the late 50’s and very early 60’s were considered very cool. ‘American Graffiti’ brought the era directly into the spotlight through the eyes of pre-Star Wars George Lucas, and the incredible music of that soundtrack — all squarely rooted in those previous decades — could be heard playing through radios, 8-track players and home stereos everywhere.

It was more than easy to hear ‘Runaway’, ‘Rock Around the Clock’, ‘The Book of Love’, ‘16 Candles’ and so many others at every turn. You’d even turn the TV on and ‘Sha-Na-Na’ and their take on the bobby-sock era could be found.

Heck, I distinctly remember as a 10-year old in 1973 running out and buying the 45 record of Bobby Pickett’s ‘Monster Mash’ thinking it was one of the coolest new songs I’d heard. I had no clue it was a re-release of the song, originally a hit in 1962.

Fast forward to today. Now suddenly everywhere you look the 1980’s are cool again.

The hit TV series ‘Stranger Things’ is rooted squarely in the 80’s, with every character looking the part and songs from the decade heard at every turn. A couple of years ago I heard a couple of young folks talking about the show, and one of them said incredulously “did you see the scene where they had a push button phone in the house — and it was mounted to the wall?”

Wow. To think that was something that struck a kid as odd and is also something that sounds perfectly normal to me underscored that I’m officially old.

Look at the recent movies. “Maverick”, the Top Gun sequel, has broken all kinds of box office records, mainly from children of the 80’s who reverently remember the original Tom Cruise smash. At last count, “Maverick” has raked in almost $1.4 billion - yes, that’s billion with a ‘b’ - and is now the seventh highest grossing film of all-time.

And who said that movies in a theater were dead?

To be sure, part of the appeal of “Maverick” is it is a throwback to a simpler, purer storyline than just about anything you can find from the last couple of decades. After being bludgeoned over and over again about how we all need to feel guilty about being American, a massive number of us wholeheartedly embraced a film with heroes and villains that makes us feel good about our life, our country and culture, all done thrillingly and with fun as the focus without any oppressive social commentary.

You know — kind of like it was under Reagan in the 80’s?

And speaking of The Great Communicator, do you remember who the villains were during his time of leadership? That’s right - the Russians. Can it come as any surprise that they’ve reclaimed that role today when the decade of Reagan has come back en force?

I think part of what has motivated a lot of the nostalgia regarding the 80’s is that the cultural icons of the decade are officially old, too — and too many of them are leaving us. For me personally the loss of Eddie Van Halen, Prince and Michael Jackson — the most powerful musical forces of the 80’s all gone-too-soon — underscored far too clearly that all of these icons will not be with us forever.

Keith Richards excepted, of course. We all need to be thinking about what kind of world we will leave behind for him. Just saying.

For all of the good and glitz found in the 80’s, make no mistake, it wasn’t a decade without its problems. Drug abuse became much more prevalent as ‘designer drugs’ became a thing, which in turn would lead to many of the illegal drugs we deal with today.

To be sure, some of the analogies between then and now hit too close to home. The AIDS virus took far too many lives and created a world-wide health crisis, very much like we’ve just seen with Covid. And don’t forget, in the early 80’s America was in the midst of one of its worst recessions ever, which we seem to be at least flirting with today.

So yeah, some of the things from that decade I think we could do without emulating or imitating.

I don’t know that we will see the resurgence of shopping malls, and video arcades, but it sure seems that many things associated with “The Decade of Excess” are coming back en vogue (also the name of a singing group from 1989) en force around us. I’m just not sure how many of us will be able to fit into our high top Reeboks, neon Ocean Pacific shirts, leg warmers, and acid washed jeans anymore, find cassettes for our Walkman, or find enough hair gel to once again replicate the ‘big hair’ so many of us sported in the 80’s.

Heck, the next thing you know some of us might even start driving Fiero’s again.

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