#7. Publisher’s Clearing House’s $10 million dollar sweepstakes

“You may soon win $10 million dollars in the American family sweepstakes!”

— Ed MacMahon was speaking to me. Really. Like how a cult leader can get you to drink the Kool-Aid.

Every few months, a thick envelope came with an official looking certificate and sheets of magazine stamps asking for you to mail back to enter into the sweepstakes.

I always did… then immediately went into Neighborhood Watch mode, keeping my eye out for any vans, balloons, or suspiciously over sized checks that came around my cul-de-sac.

This went on for YEARS.

My parents would tell me to stop, since it was a waste of money buying stamps, but I would just nod in agreement, and then secretly sneak the envelope into the mailbox and raise the red flag. I dreamed about seeing the expression on their faces the day a giant $10 million check came for me, and I made the family rich!

Still waiting for you Ed… are you even still alive?

OK… Just checked Wikipedia. Yeah, so he died in 2009. Looks like we both lost.

Photo source: 1

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#9. The Trade Value of a Single McDonald’s Fry at Lunch.

You’re late for school.

Your mom didn’t have time to pack you a lunch.

But, she redeems herself at noon when the secretary interrupts class through the P.A. system to announce that your mom brought your lunch to the office. You slyly smile to yourself because you know that today will become a Great Moment in School Lunch History.

Continue reading

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#6. Dimetapp: God’s gift to sick children

It tastes like a liquid Japanese grape-chew candy. It’s the only medicine in the history of medicine that compels you to come running for your dose at the exact scheduled time, which is followed by lots of grinning and a small celebratory Yum-Yum Dance, with both fists pumping in the air.

Runner up goes to extra sugar-coated Vitamin Gummy Bears. Continue reading

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#5. Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, START

A way to life. +30 lives to be exact.

Also a way to decode life. See for yourself:

–Person with bipolar disorder: “Today I feel so Up, Up 🙂, Down, Down 😦

–The synchronized eyes of spectators watching Wimbledon from the sideline:

Left, Right, Left, Right

–Even the New York Times is in on the Konami code:

“Obama administration says 2011 pullout will B, A, START, not a finish.”

Send in your best Konami code sightings!

2013 UPDATE:

My best friend and I went as Contra for Halloween! We went all out, complete with custom-made Contra tattoos, guns with sounds effects, and the Contra Jungle Theme song blasting from iPod speakers all night.

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The Konami Code

The Konami Code


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The sad part was the realization that 95% of the people at the bar we went to had no idea what Contra was. I guess 1988 was a while ago…

Photo source: 1

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#4. When Cigarette and Alcohol Companies Gave Away Free Shit All the Time

Don’t smoke. Smoking is bad. Drinking hardcore isn’t good either…

But free t-shirts, beer coolers, hats, playing cards, cool motion sensor dancing Coors Light Cans in oversized sunglasses?! That’s always going to be welcome.

I got all kinds of cool stuff like this growing up. Not because my parents were chain-smoking alchies… but because we owned a liquor store. We’re Korean. I know… Continue reading

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#3. When Weezer Actually Made Music…

We all heard “Say it Ain’t So” on the radio, fell in love with the Blue Album, (Pinkerton was/is awesome too) and with Weezer. They were amazing! The “Buddy Holly” music video even came preloaded on Windows 95…

We loved Weezer soo much growing up that we kept giving them a chance every time they released a new album, only to be left severely disappointed with the crap we just bought for $16.99 + tax at Sam Goody. Yet we still held onto an unwavering optimism that they would go back to their old ways on their next album.

Well, it has been over 15 years and six albums later, but we still pathetically cling to this hope. “Beverly Hills”?! REALLY?

It’s like we’re in a sick, abusive teenage relationship where the QB is consistently a jerk to the hot chick, yet she won’t leave him for the more reliable, awesome bball player in biology class *ahem*…

Why Weezer why? Why do you push us away, when all we want is to love you? Continue reading

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#2. Awesome old school plastic lunchboxes!

G.I. Joe, Hulk Hogan, Ghostbusters… whatever the theme, the front sticker was always something cool that you could stare at during the entire lunch period.

The thermos had a cap that could be used as a cup, and featured a built-in plastic staw. You could have only put water in that thing, but for some reason it never failed in damaging a whole generation’s taste buds with its consistent mildewy taste.

Can’t you just smell that nasty straw right now?

Thanks Thermos!

This is a picture of the actual lunchbox that I had in Kindergarten. Here’s a recap of my first lunches at school: Continue reading

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Updating and Reposting

Hey Retro ’80s Kid fans!

It’s been a long time, but I’m back! Sort of. I decided to go through each post and clean them up. Some of the video links are dead, pics need to be upgraded, and posts need to be rewritten.

I’m also planning to redo the website design.

Please enjoy another walk down memory lane as I repost all 61 stories.

I just might write a few more stories too🙂

Thanks for following and please let me know which stories you enjoy the most and any possible topics you would like me to write about in the future.



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#1. Bathroom Panic Attacks in Oshkosh Overalls

You’re three. In preschool. You gotta pee, and mom is not around.

Suddenly life in your overalls doesn’t feel as magical as when you were rolling around getting dirty and feeling invincible. You also most definitely don’t feel like a train conductor, farmer, or Mario when you’re certain you’re gonna piss yourself. Continue reading

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The Final Post. Check out www.OMbyUM.com next!

Dear Retro 80’s Kid Fans,

It’s been a good run, but I have decided to stop writing for Retro80skid.com in order to focus on more important topics.


In my new blog, http://www.OMbyUM.com, I tap into my inner health freak/zen master to lay out how to achieve a healthier, happier life.


The blog is broken down into three general categories: MIND, BODY, and SOUL

I will be discussing

  1. How to transform your body with an improved diet.
  2. How to develop a sharper and more positive mind.
  3. How to start listening to your heart’s messages and begin finding greater clarity in your life’s direction.

I hope you will all take the time to check it out. My only goal is to offer you all the knowledge of what I have found to work on myself with the hope that you will be inspired to take control of your own health and well-being.

Thank you for your support over the years.

Be well and be happy!

Matthew Um


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