Mary Beth Whitehead was a Long Island mother of two kids when she agreed in 1986 to be a surrogate mother for a New Jersey couple, William and Elizabeth Stern, who didn't wish to have their own baby due to Mrs. Stern's multiple sclerosis gene. Immediately upon giving birth to the baby who would soon be known to the world as Baby M, however, Mary Beth Whitehead regretted her role in this once novel (and now incredibly not-an-issue procedure) and claimed the baby as her own. The tumult that ensued informed the entire country of the weird new world of surrogacy and certainly pleased the religious nuts on all sides of the spectrum. It also pleased Howard Stern who mercilessly used the tapes of a phone call between Mr. Stern and Ms. Whitehead as fodder for his then-new morning show. I remember lying around my bedroom, unemployed and recently graduated from college with a wonderfully useless B.A. in English, laughing mirthlessly at the disastrous triangle and the phone call that Stern couldn't let go of.  "I care, dammit!"

I didn't necessarily mean for this weeks tribute to the 1980s to revolve around Howard Stern, then a local New York City morning radio DJ, but as he appears to have been central to my unemployed, semi-directionless self of the era I suppose I can't help it. Now 'Baby M' is a thirty year old woman, Howard Stern is a sixty-five year old billionaire and I'm sitting here at dawn in my office, reflecting on a decade that I persist in remembering fondly despite all evidence (such as the above sound clip of Stern's show) to the contrary. The 1980s are dead. Long live the 1980s.

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