Some say the scourge of the nineties was Kim Jong Il or maybe ethnic cleansing, either Rwandan or Bosnian. I have a different thing to nominate and this will hit home to anyone who lived in the developed world in the nineties. Especially in city limits.
For my scourge, let’s look inside a small church somewhere in the developed world. It’s probably a Saturday because at the front of the church is a pastor with what can only be a bride and groom and a wedding party.
Everyone in the church is resplendent in fine clothes, clothes which may even be too good for Sunday wear. The pastor goes “I now pronounce you…”
This is followed by a loud “WEE OOH, WEE OOH!” that although it is coming from outside the church, drowns out anything inside.
The bride and groom try to stumble through the rest of the ceremony despite the continuous “WEE OOH, WEE OOH!” that drowns everything out. Guessing the pastor is done the groom pushes his head forward an inch before he realizes the bride is staring at the pastor. Unable to stop completely the groom’s nose touches the brides cheek.
The unexpected touch makes the bride pull back and turn to her man. She mouths an “Oh,” then finally the kiss comes. But it is not as pretty as prepared. The “WEE OOH, WEE OOH,” continues.
As the couple pull away from the kiss, a tear mars the bride’s face. A flash of realization is seen on the bride and she turns to the camera which is filming on VHS. Everyone can see her mouth ‘the video!’. She slumps and the groom and others of the wedding party make sure they catch her and take her to a bench.
The “WEE OOH, WEE OOH,” goes on for many more minutes. Finally the car alarm is silenced. If the alarm belongs to anyone at the wedding they do not show it.
The bride gets up and shouts “My whole wedding… ruined!” This time she does slump to the floor.
“$20 000!” Yells the groom who also faints.
Now some of you may say that this all sounds so contrived, the nineties didn’t happen like that. I say that car alarms were that bad.
Just imagine watching a favourite show on TV, perhaps a mystery. What do you do if, at the reveal, a car alarm goes off and you miss it. This was serious. TV seasons weren’t available on DVD back then. You’d find the odd show, packaged with one or two more episodes for the price of a new movie. So they sold horribly and were hardly available. Odds are you couldn’t find the reveal you missed anywhere.
Early in the nineties people would pass a car and if the car alarm turned on were worried they’d be attacked by the owner. But as that decade progressed it became common knowledge that the lightest breeze or even less, could set off these alarms. Guilt eventually passed on to the owners.
Seinfeld, that icon of the nineties, even commented on this. Jerry said the car alarm sounded like a crazy person in full blown distress. He preferred a car that would be more subtle and say something like a throat clearing “Ahem.”
This nineties answer never caught on. Even a couple of ahems followed by the full alarm if signals kept coming, wasn’t tried.
The real answer seemed to come sometime in the oughts. Apparently most alarms could be made to work fine, it’s just that people had been installing them incorrectly. That’s right, there are as many alarms in cars as in the nineties it’s just that they are now (mostly) working properly.
So if you are a youngin who has made it this far through this post, now you have something to say if you hear us older people talk about the good old nineties. Now you can say “Isn’t that the decade where people didn’t know how to install car alarms?”
All we’ll be able to say is “Yes. Yes it was.”