O'BRIEN: There's nothing better than a stroll down Memory Lane - Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

O'BRIEN: There's nothing better than a stroll down Memory Lane

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The plastic box has sat in the guest bedroom at my parents' house for more than a decade. The word "Nintendo" was scrawled on the side of the box. Inside was an original NES video game system with such classic games as "Super Mario Bros." and "Double Dribble."

Nearly every time I visit, I lug it out to see if I can save the princess and if I still have the same shooting touch from behind the 3-point arc. When I pick up the rectangle controller with just two buttons to push, I'm transported back to the mid-1980s when life was much, much simpler. It's nostalgia, plain and simple.

When I was younger, I didn't get why my mother loved Elvis Presley so much or why my father bought classic car after classic car and tried to restore them to their former glory. Now that I'm older, I get it. Those are things that connect them to their youth. My mother still has a nice Elvis collection, while my father has a prized cherry red 1957 Chevrolet among his possessions.

George Bernard Shaw was right when he famously wrote, "Youth is wasted on the young." There isn't a person among us who hasn't said "If I only knew then what I know now." As we get older, we have a better appreciation for our youth. Sure, we would have liked to have known not to do certain things or handle some situations differently, but that is all part of the learning process. How fun would life be if you never made a mistake?

While we're forced to live in the present, there's nothing wrong with going back and remembering "the good old days." It's a nice escape from work, paying bills and figuring out why your hair has turned gray.

My parents let me take the NES box home with me after our last trip. They even threw in an old-school TV with a VHS tape deck attached to it to give me somewhere to play the games. The return to playing NES has been glorious. I've frustrated my sons and one of our two visiting Quincy Gems players with my skills. Despite laying off playing the games for 25 years, I still have it.

Then I got to thinking about how much nostalgia fills up my life. Most of the music I listen to is either old-school rap from the 1980s or early 1990s grunge music when I was in college. My oldest son likes today's rap, most all of which stinks, but I give him credit for giving the genre a chance. My youngest actually likes the "Beastie Boys," my favorite group. There's a sense of pride in passing down your musical tastes to a new generation.

If there isn't a live sporting event on TV, the channel is usually tuned to the WWE Network. The WWE recently began airing every edition of the 1980s wrestling show "Saturday Night's Main Event," which used to appear on NBC when "Saturday Night Live" was on hiatus. I felt like a kid again earlier this week as Jesse "The Body" Ventura stood before me in a pink tuxedo and feather boa screaming about how much he hated the fact that Uncle Elmer's wedding ceremony was going to take up valuable time in the wrestling program.

I would have liked to have watched all of those "Saturday Night's Main Event" episodes. Unfortunately, there was laundry to be done and trash to be taken out as reality hit me in the face much like the piece of cake that was thrown in Jesse "The Body" Ventura's face at Uncle Elmer's reception.

My wife has talked about getting rid of our Wii since the boys don't use it very often. We may just have to get a plastic box and stash it away. After all, they're going to want to stroll down Memory Lane some day, too.

-- dobrien@whig.com/221-3370

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