It was appointment television for just about my entire generation.
After school, throughout junior high and well into high school, I’d come home from Burr Junior High and then Commack Middle School, have a snack, and turn on MTV.
Adam Curry and “Dial MTV” were on, and I had to see if my favorite (fill in the blank among Madonna, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, etc.) video was in the Top 10.
It was important to me that they were.
Why? Because it was. Because MTV was the absolute apex of pop culture cool.
MTV was really important to us back in the day. It was “our” place, the one channel on the dial where we could shut out the world and the grown-ups and the braces and the acne and just enjoy music.
It was Bono belting out “With or Without You.” It was Madonna shaking her sexy body all over the place. It was Van Halen and Prince and Michael Jackson and Nirvana and … everyone else you could think of.
And now, MTV turns 30 today. And for people of my generation (hell, we were called the “MTV Generation), it’s a shell of its former self. Having “music” in its name is as big a misnomer as “gun control.”
Just for the hell of it, I called up the programming guide on my TV to see how many hours of music-related shows MTV was showing on a typical 24-hour day.
Today, it’s a whole three hours of videos. From 6-9 a.m. The rest is reality shows, reruns (“That 70s Show” and the like) and more inane television.
Three hours of music!
Sunday there was a celebration of MTV’s 30th birthday. It was shown on VH1 Classic.
Sigh. MTV can’t even take time away from “Teen Moms” and “Jersey Shore” to celebrate itself. I mean come on, couldn’t we have gotten Martha Quinn to make a cameo with Snooki? Or had Downtown Julie Brown lecturing the “Teen Moms?”
I no longer want my MTV. But just because it’s not what it used to be, doesn’t mean I can’t, on a day like today, remember how incredibly awesome it used to be.
Thank you, MTV, for helping make my childhood a little cooler.
**So allow me a brief minute to gloat over one of life’s unappreciated moments: Saturday night in Manhattan, I performed one of my greatest parallel parking jobs in my life. Not to get all George Costanza on you, but I had been circling my friend’s block for 10 minutes and finally found a space I thought I maybe, possibly could squeeze into.
And after 5 minutes of furiously turning the wheel left and right, backing up six inches at a time, I fit into that sucker. There was about six inches between my front bumper and the white van in front of me, and about three inches between my back bumper and the bumper of the red Corolla behind me.
OK, so I tapped each car’s bumper once in the process. Sue me. When I got out, I actually stood and marveled at the park.
I used to be a terrible parallel parker. And when you don’t live in a big city, your skills grow dormant.
But I’m back, baby! I can park with the best of them!
Thank you. I feel better after sharing that.