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November 2nd, 2013

Remembrance of Saturdays Past

Earlier this afternoon, I was reading Ender's Game when the memory unexpectedly came and completely distracted me from the words on the pages in front of me: sitting on a couch, bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and a ridiculously large cup of soda in close proximity, and the television tuned to various channels for hours while I watched my favorite science fiction programs. Star Trek, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Dr. Who (the original series), Red Dwarf... before the term properly worked its way into mainstream pop culture, this was my Sci-Fi Saturday routine.

It's hard to believe that it was really 20 years ago. This routine lasted through the late '90s, when it started to disintegrate for a variety of reasons: changing priorities, cancellation of favorite programs without new shows to take their place, the types of demands that becoming a responsible adult in a committed relationship start placing on your time, etc. But until that happened, it was my routine from my mid-teens through my late 20s. It was comfortable and reassuring, the way so many routines are, and when the memory of Saturdays past arrived unbidden, I became incredibly wistful and realized how I just don't have routines like that anymore.

Sadly, like so many things in life, I can never properly resurrect that routine, or those experiences. Finding the television programs to incorporate into a relaunch of the routine isn't the problem -- I have a formidable list of science fiction and fantasy series that I'd love to either revisit or finally get around to seeing for the first time. Rather, the very presence of TeenLitGirl's and my three kids, not to mention all the responsibilities raising them entails, presents the most formidable obstacle to creating such an endeavour. It's not the only major impediment though -- even if I manage to carve out a regular 3-4 hour block of time every Saturday (or even just a 2-3 hour block), I'm no longer able to indulge in chips and soda the way I used to in my younger days. I'm far too aware of what that does to my body now, and given how vital it is for me to properly take care of myself, there's no way I can consume salty, fried potato-based or corn-based junk food in the manner I did in my youth.

I'm sure that I can eventually revisit this routine again, in some fashion, as the kids get older and the demands they make on our time change. However, like so many things from our youth, it won't be the same the second time around. It's like Eddie Money singing "I Wanna Go Back" -- even if I properly reproduce every component, I can't morph into the 21-year-old I used to be... I can't go back. However, having something like that routine again would really be a nice thing, even if it never can entirely be the same.

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