One of the most sobering moments of your mid-20s is realising you have lived long enough to see the memories from your childhood canonised by people too young to have lived through them themselves.
What I'm describing here is the '20-year cycle of resuscitation': the idea that what's in vogue in fashion, music and popular culture as a whole comes around on roughly a two-decade basis. In other words, however unlikely it might have seemed at one time, the pendulum of cool was destined to swing back to flame shirts, velour tracksuits, emo fringes and blow-up chairs.
But look closely enough at 2017 and you can see that's where we are right now. From the second wave of grime dominating the charts and the renaissance of Liam Gallagher, to the Tamagotchi being re-released and Beyblades once again acquainting schoolyard bullies with the mocking power of rhyme - traces of the mid-to-late-90s and early noughties are everywhere.
Credit: Cartoon Network
For those of us whose first footballing memory is the joy (and subsequent misery) of Euro 96, it's enough to fill you with anxiety that we're in the final throes of our generation's relevancy; that - to paraphrase The Simpsons - they might soon change it so that it seems weird and scary to you.
But as it stands, 'goo aliens' are again available to buy in shops up and down the country, so we have an excuse to revisit one of the spectres of our collective youth. To reacquaint ourselves with the once omnipresent, unanswered question, muttered around playgrounds and youth clubs of Britain...
Do these things actually have babies, or what?
We all remember the rumours, of course. That a couple of days in the cold, or in the dark, were enough to prompt a sticky purple immaculate conception.
"Yeh, mine did all the time," a friend claimed - a few pints in - after I took them on a egg-shaped trip down memory lane. But when I asked them to elaborate on how it had come about, they were less sure. How exactly did two rubber toys manage to conceive? "I'm not sure, man - they just did, didn't they? That was the point of them, wasn't it?"
After asking about and getting much of the same response, I decided there was only one way to prove it one way or another: to test out all of the rumoured methods once and for all.
Putting Them In The Fridge
When mammals give birth to the young the mother grows the embryo within the soothing, nurturing warmth of their belly - providing it with nutrients, as it slowly becomes a living, breathing being. The logic behind this approach seems to be that the aliens are the polar opposite.
Asking around, a lot of people I spoke to seemed to believe this theory, so I gave the aliens a spell within the confines of the LADbible office fridge, among the butter and sandwich fillings with the temperature set to 2 degrees Celsius: as good a place as any for new extraterrestrial life to grow.
Twenty-four hours later, I returned.
The plastic had steamed up - a promising sign.
Slowly I unwrapped the aliens from within their shell. I peeled off the goo expecting to find a mini-alien - a glistening mix of gold and silver. But nothing. Just two aliens. Colder than before, but still just the two of them.
But I wasn't disheartened.
Locking Them In The Dark Without Any Goo
During the previous experiment, the aliens had been trapped in the slime - so this idea seemed to make sense. Maybe that was the very thing preventing impregnation.
As with the fridge, the idea here seemed to be that it was a change in environment needed to facilitate the delivery of the new alien - plus giving them space from their purple surrounding might somehow stimulate something.
So I cleared out the drawer of a filing cabinet and pulled every bit of goo from around them, then returned them to their egg. All that was left was to leave them to get down to the business of pregnancy and birth.
Again I waited a full day, thinking the darkness and extra space within the egg would be enough to bring another plastic alien life into the world.
As I opened the drawer, I willed. I closed my eyes. I believed beyond belief that it would be so.
But once again, nothing. Just two aliens lying there, almost mocking me from their see-through shell.
Rubbing Them Together
The two most commonly touted methods had proven fruitless. So, like so many of the clueless and confused before me, I turned to Google for an explanation.
This wasn't as easy as I thought it might be, there were no WikiHows or Yahoo Answers for this shit, I was well and truly through the looking glass. But after getting deep into the search engine, I finally stumbled on a forum post that offered a tip on how I might make it happen.
Credit: The Student Room
It seemed so obvious - like humans, the aliens clearly needed a little rubbing together before they were able to procreate. With God and science on my side, I decided to act as the shadchan to the two aliens' love.
After the deed was done I placed them down in the shell, covered them back in the goo and gave them some privacy. Now all I had to do was wait for them to finish their post-coital spoon and presumably a baby would be born.
When I came back the follow morning, I unwrapped them.
(DISCLAIMER: LADBIBLE IN NO WAY ADVISES YOU TRY THIS METHOD AT HOME, IN FACT, WE ACTIVELY ADVISE YOU STAY WELL THE FUCK AWAY FROM IT. IF THE AUTHOR HAD BEEN SMART ENOUGH TO READ THE PACKAGING, HE'D HAVE KNOWN THAT. CHEERS.)
Though it had failed to get me any closer to my goal, rubbing them together had at least provided a light bulb moment in my mind. It occurred to me that there must have been something in it.
After all, why would they be any different from humans? It was heat they needed.
Heat and warmth and love and care - and there was only one place in the office they could find all that.
Forum users told tales of explosions, fires, carcinogens and putrid smells - but what harm could a quick blast do?
When I opened the door it felt like I was entering a scene from a low budget, 80s sci-fi - a small amount of steam was coming from the egg and a weird fucking scent. I wanted to unwrap the aliens immediately but all I could find was a hot sludge, like lava or Steak Bake gravy.
After a nervous five-minute wait, I unpicked the still-warm goo from around the aliens. If anything was going to prompt the insemination of the baby, it surely had to be this.
The Norman Bates Method
It seemed nothing was going to work. I'd had it. I had failed. And now there was only one thing left to do.
There I was, a knife in my hands and true madness in my eyes. If the aliens could give birth, then surely it would make sense they would have them inside before you bought them. They were only toys after all.
I cut and cut and finally I had my answer: it was clear there was no way they could have ever given birth.
I looked down on what I had left of the aliens - in the process of trying to create life, I had instead caused death. Was this how Dr Frankenstein had felt when he looked at his monster? Or was the destruction itself a form of creation? Probably, but this was no time for reflection - I had my answer, the rumours had finally been laid to rest.
Can goo aliens have babies? Absolutely not.