The 80s ruined me. I grew up in the 80s and it is impossible to ignore the mark left upon my psyche by that era. Specifically, I’m almost incapable of not immediately and reflexively responding to any Russia reference with a lame Yakov Smirnoff parody. It isn’t intentional, and hasn’t been relevant for well over twenty years now, but I can’t help it.
For example, a writer friend made a reference recently online to a mash up of Pinhead from Hellraiser with Vladimir Putin. I immediately thought: In Soviet Russia, box opens YOU!
Similarly, this morning I saw a headline that Serena Williams beat Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in the Australian Open (that’s the way the headline referenced Daria Kasatkina). I immediately thought: In Soviet Russia, tennis serves YOU!
Why am I still doing this? The Soviet Union dissolved in late 1991, the breakup starting well before that. Yakov Smirnoff wasn’t that great to begin with, and his popular era certainly ended around that time. Still, the number of Yakov Smirnoff punch lines that got drilled into my head in the 80s apparently shaped my psyche permanently.
I simply can’t get rid of it.