The 1980s was a bipolar decade for me, as I attended high school (the worst of times) and college (the best of times) in the 1980s.

I recently discovered the newly-released five volume set of Bloom County: The Complete Collection and checked out a few volumes from the library.

The Bloom County comic strip originally ran from 1980-1989. If one ever desires to revisit the 1980s in such a way as to laugh at the pop culture icons, politicians and other absurdities of that era, Bloom County is the way to go. The books have margin notes written by Berke Breathed to explain the forgotten pop culture references. He also dishes some fun behind-the-scenes dirt.

When I was in college everyone was into Bloom County, it seemed, and Opus T-Shirts and stuffed toys were everywhere. During the 1985-86 academic year my roommates and I taped every Bloom County strip from that year to the back of our apartment door.

While paging through the volumes I was happy to be reminded of the dandelion break (click image to see larger version):

And reaquaint myself with Binkley’s closet of anxieties:

Plus the many other story lines, such as Opus’s nose job.

I also like the lyrics to the song The 1983 Blues, which appeared in one of the Sunday strips:

Oh mama, got dese eighty-three blues,
The days are dull, can’t find the fuse.
Preppies! Punkies! No friends o’ mine!
I think I’ll tie-dye my Calvin Kleins.

Yeah, we’ve lost the beat, Jack Kerouac!

Help us, Elvis, please take us back,
To when a “Cool Cat” would never mean
Garfield locked in an ice machine!

Black Panthers! Libbers! A campus to seize!

Now that’s what we need plus a hippie or three!
Yet Valley Girls sit on our cultural turf,
Gross me out, baby! Gag me with a smurf!

So mama help me, I’m losin’ all hopes,

Bob Dylan’s at home a-watching the soaps!
Can’t say much for my G-G-Generation…
The Times; I wish they were a-changin’!!
After that reminder of Valley Girls and Smurfs I think I need a Dandelion Break now.

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