Most of our parents werent around too much because of

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Most of our parents weren’t around too much because of their demanding work schedules and limited professional autonomy. And when we weren’t in school or playing sports or video games, we simply spent time ‘hanging out’—listening to music, playing card games, and, eventually, experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Predictably, it was around this time that many of us started getting in
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trouble with authority: parents, teachers, and, on several occasions, the police. My parents never really stressed education or took an active interest in my schooling, preferring at this time to instead focus on keeping me employed in my teenage jobs and out of trouble with teachers and the police. 5 Given the amount of trouble I was getting into, my potential for upward social class mobility (i.e. doing better than my parents) was very much in doubt. As a teenager, my parents stressed the importance of having and keeping my job at the local grocery store where I was able to earn my own money and eventually purchase my first car. College was certainly not on the table, so during my junior year of high school I decided to enroll in the “multi-area job training” vocational program at my high school for my senior year. A few of my working class friends also decided to go the ‘vocational route’, including my high school girlfriend. What really attracted me to this, however, was the schedule: we attended school from 7:30- 10:30am because we were expected to work during the afternoon. Here, I’m beginning to show the connection between my biography and social structure. You can see how my experiences were intricately tied to and influenced by structural forces (note the bolded text)—class, foremost, but also race, neighborhood, and institutions like schools/education. Yet again, though, the sociological imagination requires another step... HISTORY The events of my life have intersected with some pretty heady events of world- historical significance. As a child of 6 or 7, I remember getting off the bus and my mom hurriedly dragging me along home. Once at home, she turned on the TV and there I distinctly remember seeing sweaty young men and women, some carrying large hammers, having some sort of large party where, for reasons unknown to my child mind, they were smashing a wall while men with guns looked on in the background. This was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989—an event that symbolically marked the end of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West. I remember being puzzled by this, but all the adults seemed to be in some state of excited agitation, so I knew something important was happening. But, having just received the coolest birthday present of my life to that point—the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)—I was frustrated that my parents and neighbors were hogging the television, seemingly obsessed with the news all of a sudden. My dad disconnected the NES from our one and only color TV in the living room and set it back up on the black-and-white TV in the basement. From this early
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