MTV recently announced a new show in its summer lineup: The 70s House. The oh-so-tantalizing soundbyte for the series reads

We take 12 modern kids and force them to live as though it were the 1970s. No cell phones, no iPods, no Britney! Only rotary phones, 8 tracks and Farrah. Will they be able to survive the groovy life?

So I’m guessing my teenage years were only a technological innovation or two away from the hunting-gathering age?

But I’ll give them some props: after all, life in the seventies wasn’t all black light posters and Danskins. It was tough. And it wasn’t pretty. Here’s a sampling of what I had to endure on a daily basis:

  • Lack of Body Glitter: I’m sad to admit there was no such cosmetic breakthrough during my high school days. Sure it showed up during the Studio 54/Liza/cokehead years, but in the gritty mid-seventies, we had to content ourselves with strawberry-flavored Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers and rouge-on-a-stick (which my dog loved to eat). I fear the contestants will have to resort to stealing glitter from the Bert-‘n-Ernie-t-shirt-wearing-toddlers they’ll be forced to babysit, mixing it with flour paste in desperate attempts to look slutty.
  • .

  • Head Shops: With the exception of Spencers Gifts (and for those with larger discretionary incomes, Sharper Image) head shops have disappeared from the pop culture landscape overnight. Home of bizarre-looking candles and Love Is figurines cast in creepy white plaster, head shops held an important spot in suburbia: semi-safe places younger siblings visited to figure out just what the heck kind of birthday present to buy the older brother who listened to Song Remains the Same over and over and over again….
  • Antediluvian Teeth Straightening Techniques: during the pre-Invisalign age, proto-teens were required by law to wear a complex assemblage of metal, rubber bands and rubber in the hopes that wanton canine teeth wouldn’t pierce nasal cavities–theirs or those within a ten-foot radius. For those with spectacularly twisted alignments, headgear was often called for, ensuring the wearer would be a social pariah until 32.
  • Only One Version of a Product: Due to unenlightened manufacturing techniques of the day, shoppers could only find one version of common products such as Chapstick. This forced distressed teenage girls to smash the vaguely pink wax-in-a-tube against cracked lips for relief. Not for the squeamish.

More horrors next time…

Separated at Birth Dept: Sam Waterston and Matthew Lesko. Poor, poor Sam….

There’s a New Dummy in Heaven Tonight: Paul Winchell, the man behind Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff passed away today. It’s a sadder world now that one of the stars of Stop! Look! and Laugh! has left the stage….

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