The Things That Made You Think People Were Rich As A Kid Shows How Simple Life Used To Be
I scrolled past this Tik Tok and immediately realized it's a fantastic question. It also brings you back to a simpler time. Grade school's biggest worries were if you had a good snack at lunch, would you be embarrassed having to ask the lunch lady pop the straw in your Capri Sun, did you study for the Spelling (yes Spelling) test you had on Friday, or were you going to get some touches at Recess. Simple, simple times.
Then I thought about what went through my head as a kid, and what you thought made sense, what you had trouble figuring out, or just how naive you were to the world. Sometimes if no one told you otherwise you just went about your day thinking something was true because you thought it was. Like anytime they showed a replay of an NFL game growing up and in the corner it said "REVERSE ANGLE" I thought it was the name of the play and it was Reverse Angel … "Well Jim looks like Miami ran the Reverse Angel here." Never once did it occur to me the replays always seemed to be of different plays (pass, run etc). I was a kid what did I know. My brother once told my Mom his dream job was a pizza mail man. Said he thought it checked two boxes. Actually a genius idea if you think about it. There's probably a million examples of kids brains being interesting or rationalizing things that make sense to them.
Which brings us to this exercise of what did you think made you rich as a kid.
Now I haven't looked at my phone since I sent this tweet because I don't want to steal any of the answers, but my thought was to assemble a Family Feud type board of answers (5-8 ish) and then link some of the replies to the tweet and weigh in on what seemed to be the most popular responses.
It's also a very interesting exercise because it shows a little peak into your upbringing. I think what makes the world interesting is the different paths people took to get to where they are. For some people, the path was paved and smooth, for some it was super bumpy and for some it was on a road that seemed to add obstacles as you went. That's life. The journey is what makes the story.
So for some people, having their own room was a luxury. Having a house not an apartment. And for some having a Mercedes instead of a Honda was luxury. It tells a lot about how you had it growing up, or just how you thought as a kid. It's an interesting exercise.
I was in the middle of the road as a kid. My parents did well but we had a big family and bills to pay. We always had a roof, a car, equipment for sports etc. But with a big family, there's a limit. As in we weren't walking into a department store and playing Supermarket Sweep for high end jeans and clothes. There wasn't some magical pot of endless money. That new Nintendo 64 game you wanted to buy was played Blockbuster via a rental for 7 days and then returned. $5.99 was price tag Mom could take two times a month, $59.99 every 2 weeks was not. We knew that, and we learned about the world that way. We had a blast playing it for those 7 days (and made sure we reminded her to return it to avoided dreaded late fees) and she saved some money. Win win.
So now that you have a little background to where I fit in the financial scale of the world, you can get some appreciation for my answers.
Here we go in reverse order of what you thought made you rich as a kid :
First a little music…
The # 7 Answer on the board …
A Water and Ice Dispenser Machine In The Fridge
I know it's the example given but come on …you are lying if you said that wasn't in houses you considered nice or rich as a little kid. 1000% as a little kid you saw that and said … "these people are rich" just absolutely no denying it in your 8 year old brain.
The #6 answer on the board …
An Automatic Garage Door Opener On The Visor In Your Car
Super simple I know, and garages to be honest are actually an inconvenience in most houses if they are set back behind the house. We had a garage like that all it did was store stuff. We never put the car in there because when the thing was built 70 years ago cars were smaller and you could actually get all the way up your driveway into the backyard. Now you would be lucky to fit a mid size Camry through there and into the garage. The other thing is who the hell wants to drive all the way into their back yard with their car? Just park it on the street.
But garages attached to the house, and ones that have a little door into the house? That's high fucking living folks.
If you don't know what I mean by that look at this…
That door above the kid leads straight to the house (took me forever to find that btw). People like that were living. Pull down the visor in their car, click the button watch it pop up. Take your shoes off in the garage and walk into your house… RICH (in my eyes as a kid). The car never got snow or rain on it, they likely had another fridge or neatly organized shelf of drinks to reload in the garage. These people were living because of that automatic opener and you couldn't tell me otherwise.
Now of course, what was once good is not good enough. The simple life size door I said was boujee back in the day has been completely outdone by this new trend …
Look at these motherfuckers… might as well be John D Rockefeller are you kidding me? This shit is rich….super rich. I bet they have an automatic opener though … that's how it starts.
The #5 Answer On the board
In ground Swimming Pool
Simple answer but yes this was very much an indicator of being rich. Especially the younger you were and when you started going to people's houses. Johnny would call you up and ask to come over and play and tell you bring a bathing suit we have an in ground pool … baller. At 7 years old you could tell me their dad was a brain surgeon or a sanitation worker… I would be convinced he was making 7 figures. Guy's got an in ground pool bro … he's loaded.
The #4 Answer On The Board
A Second Phone Line So You Would Never Get Kicked Off The Computer / AOL
Bear with me kids … way back in the day you had to connect a phone line to get on the internet. Let's first start with the fact that people used to have phones in their house. Like not cell phones… actual phones.
And to get on the internet you needed to either connect your main phone line to the computer … or have a second phone line / number so you could stay online and still receive phone calls.
If you only had one phone line and picked up the phone while online you got "BOOTED" and then had to reconnect etc. There was also the risk of you not getting back online because it was a dial up connection. Lunacy.
The way to bypass that was the 2nd phone line … which added to your monthly bill etc. So anyone who had that was BALLING.
Plain facts … your mom could talk to Aunt Susie and you could spit game on Instant Messenger. Baller shit.
The #3 Answer On The Board …
New Sneakers During Basketball Season Every Year
Now let me clarify here. First off, my Dad if given the choice would always sacrifice his benefits for ours. A lot of times he went to work with just a couple of bucks in his pocket if we needed it for a bake sale or Holiday Fair. When we needed a second car after the one we had broke down and got a cheap one through family members that didn't need it. The Blue Book value on the car he drove was probably $700 in 1997. The value of the baseball equipment in the trunk was worth $1200. I'll never forget that type of stuff.
I always had sneakers, good sneakers, to play basketball in. My Dad knew you couldn't cut corners on certain things and he never cut corners on sports equipment. He never did. We had good gloves, bats, and name brand sneakers. But … money isn't endless.
You got a pair each year before the season. That pair was to make it through the season. How did you do that? You took care of them. You only wore them when you were playing basketball inside. You took them off when practice was over and walked to the car in old sneakers. You didn't wear them on days you had Gym in school, you didn't wear them to the mall. You wore them on the court thats it. Your pair from last year was your shitty gym sneakers you wore everywhere else.
Before basketball camp each year we would go to Modell's and get a clearance pair of sneakers you were going to beat the hell out of. What was the point of ruining expensive sneakers when you were playing on the blacktop for 12-13 hours a day? Just get the $29.99 reeboks and call it a day. Made sense.
I loved my sneakers in season. Never an issue. Never complained etc. Dad kind of drew the line of good Nikes at $80 he could live with, but getting $140 Jordans… just because they were Jordans was too much. Any time we went to the sneaker store you could pick about 80% of the selection. He also refused to buy us sneakers he said were ugly. I always laugh at that. "Fuck that you're not wearing those look at them they look like shit." We obliged. Simple styles worked. All good.. thanks for the kicks Dad.
Now .. because I only had my in season sneakers …man did I think the kids who switched up mid season were rolling in it. Come back from Christmas break they got new Shox or New Garnett's or Jordan's on a random week in February before the playoffs? Damnnnnnnnnnnnnn you rich. Kids who opened up a new box mid season … I was convinced their Dad had a pile of hundo's in this wallet that never ended. Getting new kicks in season was a baller move. Rich people shit.
The #2 Answer on the board ….
Central Air Conditioning
I love the feel of an air conditioning unit. That box in the window is some of my best memories of beating the heat in my life.
But … central air was balling shit. Rich shit.
Every spring I would watch my poor dad drag 6-7 AC's into the house up the stairs and through the doors while struggling to not smash his fingers on a doorway or wait for someone to help open the bedroom door. Those big boxes were awkward shaped and difficult to carry. Guy was out of breathe and completely beat by the end of the ordeal. And you knew he was dreading the day in September when he had to take them back out and put them away. Brutal.
Central Air Conditioning eliminated all that hassle and let's face it did the job just as good if not better. One push of the button and the house was nice and breezy.
Rich people shit. I never had central air and still haven't got it. I may weep in happiness when I finally do. Watershed moment of achievement.
The #1 Answer On The Board …
A "Don't Touch" / "No One Goes In There "/ " Fancy" / "Holidays Only" Dining or Living Room … or Both
If you don't understand this I think it's very clear we grew up in different parts of the world. Because people around here who were rich, I mean absolutely fucking rich all had one thing in common. In their houses, they had an area that no one went in. It was either a living room or a dining room or both but literally NO ONE went in there. You could have been to their house 47485959 times, and some of these people I have been to their house and never even dreamed of going in these rooms. It's just understood you do not go in there. I am also convinced the family that lived there didn't even go in that room. If they did … they didn't talk about it. It was almost illegal to address that room. It's there but you can't talk about it publicly.
The room was always pristine. Literally pristine. Perfectly set up. Couch with pillows perfectly aligned. Dining room with fancy artwork etc. Immaculate set up … all for show.
People who had a "don't touch" room were fucking millionaires. It's the biggest flex of wealth in my mind as a kid and as an adult. It's literally like dropping your nuts on people in your neighborhood. "Oh Mr.Reggiano you make how much? and you drive what? oh nice … I have a don't touch room … suck my ass." All time flex. ALLLLLL TIME.
That's my list and I'm sticking to it … now let's go to the replies and see some answers that jumped out to me.
The super specific
The ones that made me thankful where I grew up
and finally electronics
There's a TON … I mean a TON of funny and interesting responses in this thread. Lotta laughs and trips down memory lane. Also a ton of references to 2nd fridges in the garage, central AC, things in school, driving a car etc. I enjoyed this a lot as a glimpse into all of your backgrounds. I look forward to seeing this debate continue to unfold, and love that there is not 1 clear cut answer that shows wealth/ rich. It varies depending on your background. It's a fascinating debate.