Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

Epic Failures Before Facebook and Smart Phones

Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can smell Mexico although I haven’t been in years. It saddens me to realize that these days, months go by in which I forget to think about the country that introduced me to humidity, friendly strangers willing to communicate without the commonality of language, tequila, and a belief that The Point is working to live rather than living to work.

I used to travel to Mexico almost every year. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, getting there from Denver was quick and inexpensive. You could buy airfare and a five-night luxury hotel for less than $800.

My dad and my step mom were the first to take me. It was my senior year in high-school, so I’d have been 17 years old. I loved everything about it including the fact that on the night I never returned to the hotel room I shared with my brothers went mostly unnoticed by the rest of my vacationing family.

80s in Mexico with a rat tail, patterned pants, and a perm.

#1 My roommate got pissed at me – this photo was on my bulletin board and took a thumbtack and scratched my photographed face with it. # 2. I had a rat-tail. For real. That is, until Bob C cut if off at a party and hung it from his rear-view. #3 Check out dude’s pants! And they were cool!

That trip, and one taken with a boyfriend a few years later, hooked me on the beauty and magic of Mexico.

Because who doesn

Sure, I’ve heard horror stories and urban legends that involve bandits, waking up in a tub full of ice with no kidney, having a finger chopped off for a ring, and the rest of them.

My personal experiences have never included fear or danger.

I mean, there were times that certain epic failures were my own fault. To say that I’m grateful that Facebook and cell phones didn’t exist back then is an understatement. I kind of feel sorry for young people today who have each and every drunken episode recorded and mocked on social media.

Anyway, the point is that when I was young(er), social media still meant sharing a dial-up modem with an office full of other people who wondered what the point to sending a file online was. That, and my own personal epic failures.

Like the time that I went on a horseback jungle ride tour. It was amazing, and beautiful, and full of hiking and photos (on film) of the beach and the views, and then it was time to head back down to the resort.

On the way down the mountain in Puerto Vallarta, our guide asked if we’d like to stop for refreshments.  Desperate to pee, I said yes, expecting an actual establishment fitted with bathrooms.  Instead, we ended up hanging out with two locals in the middle of the jungle. There was a thatch-roof “bar” about eight feet long and bar stools made from sawed off palm trees rooted in the ground from which they grew.

Jungle bar in Mexico in the 90s with fanny pack. I miss the 80

This next part is how urban legends are created and today’s epic fails are broadcast on Twitter. The guys at the “bar” asked us if we wanted some tequila. Um, duh of course.

Except for then, they poured – from a bottle of rum – something-  into our shot glasses. I pointed at the bottle and asked in English “rum?”  They laughed and told me this was “the real tequila.”  As in, homemade.  Two shots of the stuff and the sun setting meant that it was time to go. Confidently mounting my horse to take the journey back to the beach resort, I enjoyed the scenery. At some point, I “fell asleep.”  On the horse.

Passed out drunk in Mexico on a horseback jungle ride. I miss the 80

Here’s a “Live Photo” that never ended up on FB, Twitter or Instagram. I think it’s important to note that it was taken around 7pm local time and that I was done for the night. Whatever was in that homemade tequila? Well, I’m also glad I drank it when my young liver could process it because it’s possible that if I tried it now, I’d be like this for a week:


Other Mexico epic fails come to mind, like the time that I took laxatives there, unable to read the box

Overall, when I think about Mexico, I feel the scents of humidity, choices, and freedom. I want to take my son Tucker there.

I want to live the way that I did back then – full of abandonment and the now. I’m also really really thankful that social media didn’t exist to record my almost epic failures…

Mexico and Epic Failures in the 90

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Each week, I host bloggers and writers who want to participate in a prompt and make new writer friends. This week’s sentence is “When I think Epic Fail, I think…”

Me (each week) FindingNinee
Allie of The LatchKey Mom (this week’s thinker upper to the sentence) and
April of 100lb Countdown

  • Chris Carter - Cancun… late night at Senior Frogs…ended up with the most GORGEOUS guy there…on the beach… far beyond midnight… can’t remember how I got home.

    EPIC fail. I thought he was going to come back the next day to “take me to dinner”…

    Oh, such a poor innocent pathetic lover I was.

    It was quite fun.

    😉January 22, 2015 – 11:52 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OMG Senior Frogs!!! YES!!! I LOVE THAT PLACE. In fact, and don’t judge, but I still have a jean jacket (remember jean jackets) from there and one from Carols O’Brien’s also in Mexico!!! Awww to your night on the beach. I had one of those too… um, well, brothers were involved. I thought I’d dine with one the next evening as well. Enough said I think. 😉January 23, 2015 – 11:02 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - Because of sentences like this, I really dig you:

    “Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can smell Mexico”

    xxxx I looooooooove that!

    I smell Hawaii. Still. It was like a kind of Freedom.January 22, 2015 – 11:56 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I liked that sentence too. I was really mad at myself for not giving myself more time for this prompt to finish it so thank you!!! And yeah, Hawaii. Sigh. sniff. All of the thes.January 23, 2015 – 11:04 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - OH, I love this, Kristi. Agree with Inner Chick – the “I can smell Mexico” line is gorgeous. I also love the photo of the bed – the chips bags? Do they seriously say “chips”? That’s awesome.
    I just love these posts. I don’t know why I don’t do them because they are really terrific.
    Now, if I was participating in this week’s, I would have to share my Epic Diaper Fail story about Kidzilla and the Hub. It’s one of my best posts ever, according to those statistic things I don’t really understand. 😀
    Great story!January 23, 2015 – 12:59 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I liked that line too and would have gone more that route had I been less of an epic failure and maybe given myself time to write this for once!! GAH. But thank you and yeah, the bags just said Chips! HAHAH. You MUST link your epic diaper failure. You MUST. And that statistic things? Bah Humbug.January 23, 2015 – 11:05 pmReplyCancel

      • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - I’m linked! But the linky thing put the wrong image up…dammit. Oh well.January 24, 2015 – 3:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - All I have to say is I thank god everyday that in my teens and early twenties that Facebook didn’t exist as I am telling you I would have been ratted out more times then not to all the crazy s*it I did back then. And believe me when I say been there and done that!!January 23, 2015 – 3:12 amReplyCancel

  • Anna Fitfunner - Okay, so your Mexico experiences are way more exotic than my Mexico experiences! My only time in Mexico was about three years ago when we ditched the kids (with the in-laws), and spent a weekend at an all-inclusive resort in Baja! It was a wonderful time for us, and I still remember eating cerviche on the beach. Wonderful! That said, I totally get the relief that our younger, Epic Fail, selves were not recorded on social media!January 23, 2015 – 3:30 amReplyCancel

  • Jen Kehl - I can still smell the hotel I stayed at in Cancun. That mixture of salt air and air conditioning…..You always crack me up though. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We would have had an EPIC time if we had been friends!January 23, 2015 – 4:14 amReplyCancel

  • Ruchira Khanna - haha…I loved reading about this…must be the 20th century, huh?
    Life was simpler then, thus thank heavens even such horrendous crime must not be existing 😉 But, yes thank god for no social media.January 23, 2015 – 4:24 amReplyCancel

  • karen - love the post and totally agree, if social media had been around when I was a teen, I would have been royally screwed. We sure did luck out…January 23, 2015 – 5:50 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - We so lucked out right? Thank you Sweets! (also yours is a complete win)January 23, 2015 – 11:06 pmReplyCancel

  • Allison - I am always so thankful that social media didn’t exist when I was in high school and college. Because it was all about FREEDOM, which is what Mexico is: freedom to discover and be who you are and discover who you are and just live.
    And have rattails.January 23, 2015 – 6:30 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - WHOOT to Mexico and Freedom!!! God, I wanna go to Mexico. Like now. Here’s to our pasts helping us figure out who we were. And to rattails. 😉January 23, 2015 – 11:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Allie - I concur – I’m so glad that FB didn’t exist in my youth! The poor kids of today. I’ve never been to Mexico, though. The urban legends (and Montezuma’s Revenge) always scared me.January 23, 2015 – 6:54 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You??? Mz Travel Mama??? GO TO MEXICO!! OMG it’s the best place ever ever and I so so miss it. Seriously it’s amazing. Also I went year after year after year and ate everything and never got the revenge. Seriously.January 23, 2015 – 11:09 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - I remember this post or maybe just the pictures from way back when. Still laughing at your rat-tail. I feel sorry for the teens these days with their “fails” ending up on social media. I was horrified when someone tagged me just with my senior picture hair. (so then I had to write a whole post about it) but yeah I can’t even remember much about out 11th grade trip to Daytona. I still can’t believe my dad let me go and I super glad that what happened in Daytona stayed in Daytona.January 23, 2015 – 7:14 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - The photos are all recycled although most of the post is new. It was 8pm on FTSF day and I had NOTHING so well yeah. That. And wait, laughing at my rat-tail? Dude!! I kinda miss it!! (ok only sometimes but still it was cool haha).
      I *think* I remember your hair post (ok wait I totally do) and your dad let you go to Daytona? So glad our “stuff” stayed where it belonged. Also I wish I knew you in Daytona. We’d have had some fun!January 23, 2015 – 11:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerri - I often think how incredibly lucky I am that the internet wasn’t invented until after I was out of school or my 20’s!January 23, 2015 – 8:36 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Um yup. The school years? The 20’s years??? Holycrap my friend. Had FB been around then I’d never have gotten a job maybe!! Or maybe a really great job??? Because our bosses didn’t have social media then either!!January 23, 2015 – 11:23 pmReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - These are such great memories – so vivid and fun! You had *adventures*!January 23, 2015 – 10:17 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I did have adventures. They didn’t feel like it at the time but man, I miss them, a lot. I think it’s time to make some with my little boy yes?January 23, 2015 – 11:24 pmReplyCancel

      • Elizabeth - Absolutely! I am all about trying new things, broadening his circles, and having adventures!January 25, 2015 – 3:42 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - While my Mexico stories are as fabulous as yours, there is one week in that fine country that I am so glad took place before social media! I have a few photos (maybe even one with those two guys in it), but that’s the only proof left. Whew.January 23, 2015 – 11:13 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OMG you so have to tell me about that. I mean it’s kinda a rule now right?January 23, 2015 – 11:25 pmReplyCancel

  • Kim - Yes, glad there was no social media back in the day!!
    Loved reliving some of your Mexico experiences. That last picture cracked me up!!!January 23, 2015 – 11:22 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - thanks Kim!! I’m still REELING over your 45 mile run. You so inspire me!! I mean, I’m not going to run tomorrow like THAT, but maybe, I’ll run tomorrow….January 23, 2015 – 11:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Kirsten Jill Robbins - Do you remember the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Spicoli said “I wanna party with you guys?” (Please say yes). This reminds me of that. I don’t know why, but it does. It also makes me wanna hang out with you. In Mexico or wherever.January 23, 2015 – 12:47 pmReplyCancel

  • April G - Never considered how many Epic Fails I would have before FB. Granted, I’m almost positive that there are no pictures to commemorate the occasions. Well, if I share this post, then that pic will end up everywhere!January 23, 2015 – 1:57 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - hahah to sharing the post… and the best thing? Nobody cares now because it was so long ago, and well, that. Also, I loved yours as I almost just posted about cooking failures which have been TOO MANY!!January 23, 2015 – 11:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - What would I do without your photos/pictures to cheer me up? I have fond memories of Mexico too – I went once or twice with my family and then for spring break during college and that’s where I met my husband. We met in a bar that sold t-shirts that said, “another shitty day in paradise.” And I couldn’t agree more about social media – sooo thankful it didn’t exist back in the day!January 23, 2015 – 2:00 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I want that shirt!!! Where in Mexico were you and how did I never know that you met your husband there??? OMG I miss Mexico and the freedom that I felt there… and also yeah, TG there was no social media. I’d never have been able to run for president.January 23, 2015 – 11:31 pmReplyCancel

      • Emily - I want that shirt too — one of my regrets in life is I never bought the “shitty day in paradise” shirt.:) We were in Cancun for spring break and at our school, we had an early spring break so there were no other colleges down there, other than kids from our school (Michigan) so I met my husband through other Michigan students that we knew down there. I almost had the James Taylor song, “Mexico” as our first dance at our wedding!January 24, 2015 – 5:43 pmReplyCancel

        • Kristi Campbell - I truly love that you met your husband in Mexico. So much. Sigh. I have a Carlos O’Briens jean jacket and a Jello Shots t-shirt (probably don’t have that one anymore actually) from Sr. Frogs… LETS GO TO MEX!!!January 25, 2015 – 8:23 pmReplyCancel

  • [email protected] - I keep telling my daughter this when she posts less than flattering things on social media. Somethings are better just lived rather than recorded. Loved thinking about fun, free and sun in Mexico.January 23, 2015 – 2:25 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I keep telling my step daughter the same thing. She recently got a new FB account but OMG. Dumb. And what a wise saying “some things are better lived than recorded.” I love that.January 23, 2015 – 11:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Nicki - LOVE your words, your photos, your stories, sentences like “I feel the scents of humidity, choices, and freedom,” and your honesty. And you! xoJanuary 23, 2015 – 2:39 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOVE YOU. Your honesty. Your words. Here’s to stories and humidity and sentences that we relate to.January 23, 2015 – 11:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Scott Hansen - That had to be some strong stuff to make you fall asleep on a horse! Hahahahaha.January 23, 2015 – 5:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Kelly McKenzie - Oh I am with you. Thank god there were no cell phones in my time. Especially in Mexico. Cringing now just remembering …January 23, 2015 – 10:14 pmReplyCancel

  • marcia @ Menopausal Mother - OMG the laxatives—-I had to hop over to your other post to see what that was about—TOO FUNNY!!! Okay so fess up—-did you ever get to go pee while you were in that jungle bar??January 23, 2015 – 11:03 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Marcia,
      You know what? Until you asked, I didn’t even think of that! I must have peed in the jungle there because I can’t imagine having made it all the way back down the jungle trail without having gone! HA!January 24, 2015 – 4:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Mardra Sikora - I so agree that I’m glad there wasn’t a constant camera and link to strangers when I was young(er).Scariness. My epic fails were hard enough to bear without an audience of strangers. Aack! Good of you to share the pics now though 🙂January 24, 2015 – 2:10 amReplyCancel

  • Leigh-Mary Barone Hoffmann - This is fantastic. It was the Bahamas for me. And Marlbaro Lights – guess I was healthy!!!! LolJanuary 24, 2015 – 3:07 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa Moskowitz Sadikman - I love how you “let it all hang out” Kristi 🙂 I thought you were going to say that you fell asleep and peed on the horse! The thing I get the most is that longing for freedom and beauty and straight fun that is often hard to find in this grown-up life — at least not without strings attached. *sigh* We’ll get to Mexico (again) someday, right?January 24, 2015 – 4:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - I saw a meme just this morning from someone much older than us who was saying she was glad she did all her crazy things before social media. Had to laugh.
    I’ve never really done such crazy things. Shame on me. And I’ve never been to Mexico.
    But there are many things I used to do without thinking. I miss that.January 25, 2015 – 11:52 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I love that you put “than us” being as um I’m so so much older than you 😉 which means thank you!! Also you have to go to Mexico. It’s one of the best places on the planet. F’real. So laid back and easy. You can still get crazy!!January 25, 2015 – 8:26 pmReplyCancel

  • Jolene @ Different Dream for My Child - Facebook and other social media does make our epic fails too easy for the world to see. Even so, my latest blog post lays out my most recent epic fail as a caregiver and an author. Wish I’d written the post before the deadline for the link up. But here it is: 26, 2015 – 11:29 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Oh I so wish it’d been in time – I’m so sorry!!! Going to read now!!!January 26, 2015 – 11:42 pmReplyCancel

  • Meredith - Oh my gosh! That picture is AMAZING. And, falling asleep on the horse sounds hilarious too. I’m secretly a little relieved I don’t drink….
    Funny post! 🙂January 27, 2015 – 2:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Tarana Khan - Haha! I’m glad that we didn’t have to worry about social media back then. Looks like you had some good adventures in Mexico 🙂January 27, 2015 – 3:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Jhanis - OMG the things we did back then! My kids would disown me if they were documented! Hhahhaah!January 28, 2015 – 10:18 pmReplyCancel

  • British Mum USA - I will NEVER divulge my teenage vacations, except to say they were FUN, and I keep a close eye on my teens!!!!!!!January 31, 2015 – 3:09 amReplyCancel

  • Jhanis - Loved reading this before! Love it still! LOLFebruary 12, 2015 – 2:58 amReplyCancel

  • Kristina - I love this because I had a really amazing stint in Mexico (and various other places) before social media existed. I wasn’t the brightest back then but I did have so much fun!February 12, 2015 – 8:11 pmReplyCancel

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