You don’t understand. My generation is fucked up, and not just a little bit!”
“The same has been said about every generation,” I replied, smiling. “Quit cursing.”
“Really, so in your generation were fourteen year old girls stealing their mother’s cars and driving around like idiots? Were fifteen year olds dropping acid or getting high in the back of the classroom? Were twelve year olds having sex and getting STDs?” she asked, indignant, with a frown on her face. She was looking around the food court at the local mall, shaking her head at the horrors she saw, there and in her memories.
“And they didn’t have texting back then, or Facebook,” she said. “You know kids my age, friends, will stand right next to you for thirty minutes and not say two words but they will sit there and text away like mad about stupid stuff like the world depended on it.”
I’m not the sort to be overly sentimental. And, truth be told, I tend to count amongst the living-dead those not yet retired who frequently reminisce about days gone by, especially high school days. Relishing past glories too often is to give up on present aspirations and celebrations. It’s kind of like listening to classic rock from back in the day and nothing else. Look, Dude, try some Jimmy Eat World or Linkin Park. Yes, Eddie Van Halen was cool, emphasis on was. High school was not the pinnacle of my time on planet earth. If it was yours, well, sorry. Really, move on.
Thomas Wolfe exposed the reality that most of us face at some point in our lives, that you can’t go home again. Change, the animating factor in life, turns the most rose-coloured glasses another color, or dark, depending upon your experience when returning to the home of your youth.
It’s an eerie but incredible feeling when your fourteen year old daughter takes the stage at one of the legendary bars in the west, the Little Bear in Evergreen, Colorado, on the fourth of July. She was invited to sing with local band BullMary and she made the most of the opportunity, captivating the crowd with booming, nuanced vocals that are way beyond her age.
Over the years there have been a lot of talented and loved acts who have performed at Little Bear, including Willie Nelson, John Lee Hooker, George Thoroughgood, Bo Diddley, Rita Coolidge and many, many others. Local favorites like Opie Gone Bad and Firefall have also found their way to the stage, as well. Many up-and-coming bands trying to make their mark in the music world list the Little Bear on their website as an important venue they have played.
I am the sushi king. This is commonly known amongst my friends. Mind you, this is less for my depth of knowledge regarding raw fish and rice than it is for my friends lack of it. And this isn't something I'm about to discourage. There is no way I'm going to let a group of mouth breathers who order their steaks well done have a say in my raw fish. No way.
As the sushi king I am also the head of Public Relations. It’s a good job, in a dishonest kind of way, if you know what I mean. I get to make sushi look sexy. How hard is that?
My daughter, smart though she may be, is like all teenagers: omniscient of all things life and indignant towards her elders (that would be me). She is not singular in this affliction, of course. All teenagers since the opposable thumb evolved have been know-it-alls, myself excepted - I swear!
Lately she has taken to posting on Facebook bits of parenting knowledge she wishes those of us with inferior DNA would acquire. And today I logged into the site to find this:
It wasn’t always like this — slivers of silence amongst the warbling and cacophony. But invasions are like that, aren’t they. Sometimes they are blindingly sudden, so brusque and immediate. So devastating. And other times, like now, they come so slowly, so deliberately, they feel seamless, integrated, unthreatening. No matter how foreign, how alien, they blend into the fabric of days like natural occurrences. Their disruptions a matter of fact instead of an overwhelming force.
Here you are — ankle-high winter boot-slippers on a hot summer day, with short-shorts and a too-tight t-shirt, new found breasts just chomping at the bit to bust free of their cotton confines and grow. And that hair.
Cultural change can be an incredible thing to witness and examine. This is especially so when the change is something you've been involved in, up close, and felt personally.
In 1974 as a young teenager living in Cincinnati I watched the World Cup at the Cincinnati Gardens. The games were shown on a movie screen on the basketball court with curtains draped all around. My mother managed to win a set of tickets from a local radio station and I got the thrill of my young lifetime.
The Netherlands were incredible during the tournament, smashing Argentina and Brazil on their way to the final against West Germany. I remember they looked to be the better side in the final, as well. But Neeskens and Cruyff couldn't get the better of Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier. The West Germans were playing at home in Munich and they took the crown 2 - 1.
It seemed odd to be at the Gardens with all of those foreign voices. I was a clear minority in my own backyard.
The Twitter bitches, as I came to think of them, were chirping about drunken encounters and nearly forgotten evenings (of which this was destined to become another in that long list) and feverishly typing on their cell phones. I don't mean to call them bitches, exactly. They were nice enough. But the conversation was a parallel to their texting and tweeting - anything over 140 characters was too burdensome and to be avoided. Seriously, when the conversation is so shallow you can't retain it in your short-term memory you might as well concede that you are spamming your way through life.