Why this Ontario family ditched their smartphones so they could live for a year like it’s 1986 — mullets and all
Blair McMillan, 26, is in his basement playing Duck Hunt on a vintage Nintendo when the phone rings, so he hurries to answer it, climbing the stairs to the kitchen just like in the olden days, when phones were attached to the wall.
This one, a beige rotary, has been ringing off the hook this week, with calls from big New York talk shows and talk of a documentary. Despite his ludicrous mullet topped by a pair of neon yellow sunglasses, and his Tom Selleck moustache, this is a man in high media demand. What began with a letter to the local paper about his family’s project to live for a full year like it is 1986 has blown up big, and without a computer or email account (to say nothing of Twitter or Instagram), Mr. McMillan has been literally running to keep up.
Once the dream was to go back to the future. This family is going forward into the past, and they have struck a chord.
“The basis of the project is to feel what it was like when I was a kid before everything was connected,” Mr. McMillan said in the back yard of his corner-lot house in Guelph. There is no answering machine, for example, and yet he does not feel he is missing anything. When he does speak with his friends, not having texted with them, they actually have catching up to do.
The rules for Mr. McMillan, his girlfriend Morgan Patey, 27, and their children Trey, 5, and Denton, 2, are simple. Live like it is 1986, using only technology that existed when mom and dad were born, and embracing a style that — like the swinging sixties or the roaring twenties — seems to capture something the modern era has lost. Ms. Patey is the only one without a mullet. The main exception is their car, which is modern, a vintage Camaro being financially unjustifiable. (Photo: Tyler Anderson / National Post)