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At least your parents couldn’t share your early experiences on YouTube in the Eighties

Parents can be cruel. They set up YouTube channels where they upload footage of their defenceless toddlers doing the oddest things, to the amusement of strangers all over the world.

Everybody knows that a curious little being will open their mouth for anything. So some sneaky parents take advantage of this while pressing the record button, all for the sake of racking up YouTube likes.

A particular favourite of mine involves parents recording their tots as they try new foods for the first time. I won’t lie, those videos of little ones sinking their unsuspecting gums into their first lemon wedge are a guilty pleasure of mine. Their stunned reaction over the bitter shock makes for tragic but amusing viewing. I find myself laughing and shaking my head at the same time as the poor child’s mother or father cackles callously in the background.

The upside? At least they’ll have zero recollection of such events. The downside? Their parents took advantage of them during the social media era and the internet will serve as a permanent reminder of what transpired. It makes me glad I was an Eighties baby. That being said, this nostalgic mind of mine found itself going back to reminisce about some of my firsts.

Who remembers their first crush? I do. It was the 1980s and Michael Jackson ruled the world, in my eyes at least. Despite being just four years old, I remember the fights I had with my best friend Buhle over who would marry him. Things didn’t pan out for either of us.

My first pay cheque. It was a measly R325 — or thereabouts — but it was an actual cheque with my name on it. I can’t remember what I spent it on, although I have my suspicions, but I recall holding it in my hands as though it was yesterday, feeling like I’d legit won the lottery.

My first selfie. I’ll have to get back to you on that as I happen to be the only Eighties baby on the planet yet to take one. I set up an Instagram account six years ago but why any- one bothers following me is a mystery, because clearly I’m not as with it as my peers.

Don’t get me wrong, I log on as much as I can. I just happen to be that shady lurker who spends most of her time liking other people’s posts while not contributing any of her own. So yeah, there are people’s grandmothers out there who are more with it than me.

The hip chick imprisoned inside me reckons I may have to do something about that sooner rather than later. Hopefully. Maybe. Ugh, who knows. Needless to say I will not be joining Snapchat in the near future.

Getting my driver’s license was one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. It only took me four tries to get my learner’s permit. Then there were the driving lessons, awful to say the least. It was a guarantee that I’d come home in a foul mood after one of those.

I failed. Twice. On the day of my third go-round, I had to be sedated and believe it would have been back to the drawing board were it not for those little pills . Anyway, chuffed at finally being a legal driver, I made plans to meet a mate for lunch and borrowed my dad’s car — and was in an accident 30 minutes later. One’s first car crash, or any other for that matter, hardly makes for joyful reminiscing. Especially when said accident took place a mere three days after getting that hard-to-get license.

My first dab. It was an epic sight to behold even though there were no witnesses to corroborate this assertion. Granted, I’d seen the “face in inner elbow” dance style a few times and was initially confused, but then local trap star Emtee released his first music video and I was hooked. Nobody dabs better than Emtee. Except me.

Ever since that first dab I’ve been dabbing on the daily and have yet to look back. It’s become a way of life. Stuck in traffic? Dab. At a loss for words? Dab. Having a tough day? Dab. Whatever’s going on in your life. Dab.

Like coconut oil it has myriad uses and cures everything. Once you dab you never go back. There’s no better feeling than dabbing your way through life. Ask me, I know.

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Nelly Shamase
Nelly is a regular contributor to the Mail & Guardian.

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