Op-Ed: Take Me Back to the Victorian Era

Artwork by Kat Chen

Between the COVID-19 pandemic, Emily in Paris, and Andrew Yang dropping out of the presidential race, 2020 has been rough for me. During these trying times, as I’m trapped inside with my sourdough starter playing Animal Crossing, I can’t help but think back on my halcyon days in the 1800s. Ah, to be young and disenfranchised in Victorian England!

Back then, there weren’t any pesky child labor laws. I earned my stripes first in a blacking factory, then as a chimney sweep for Charles Dickens. According to the town physician I got the black lung, but I was bang up to the elephant after I went to my barber for bloodletting. And it was totally worth it because good ole Chuck tipped me two whole shillings and made me a background character in Oliver Twist (too bad I was illiterate)!

All you Brooklyn thrifting fiends, did you know that the Salvation Army was founded in the Victorian Era? When it opened, my factory chums and I were mad as hops. Forget your sweater vests and Levis, there were hoop skirts as far as the eye could see!

And I know the pandemic has been hard on everybody, but it’s been especially unbearable for those of us who can’t cook. As I choke down my Easy Mac, I often find my mind wandering to the fine cuisine of 19th century London. On a hot day, there’s nothing quite as refreshing as a tall glass of lemon and barley water. How I long for a raised game pie with a side of gruel! And of course, I can’t forget bags o’ mystery—the mere memory puts a smile on my gigglemug! Gordon Ramsey, how thy over-seasoned, gluttonous sausage rice quivers at the thought!

The 21st century isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I long for the London of days past, when I pranced through the streets with my chuckaboos, the church-bells, and the arfarfan’arfs alike. If you’re as afternoonified as I am, throw out your Nintendo Switch and join me in my crusade for the old ways.