My new favorite TV show -- and trust me, there are few that I actually even bother with -- is ABC's "Life on Mars."
Being a sucker for both time-travel yarns and cop shows, this tale of a cop catapulted back to 1973 New York City had me at "Peace, man." Or, at least, when the first 8-track was slammed into the car stereo.
Trust me, this has everything to do with this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth.
ANYHOO. . . I remember 1973, though not 1973 New York City. But as far as I can remember, "Life on Mars" has gotten it right . . . although, in the name of full disclosure, 1973 didn't reach Baton Rouge, La., until about 1976.
The show has gotten me to thinking, though. What would I do if I found myself, without warning, back in 1973? What would I have to say to my seventh-grade self if I happened to run across me?
Apart, of course, from "Avoid polyester and wide, wide neckties" and "You look crappy in paisley shirts."
If I had the power to change things in 1973 -- knowing how stuff would work out, big picture, by 2008 -- what would I do? How would I manage to change the things that needed changing while preserving the things society would come to rue losing?
How do you convince people what looks like progress and freedom will come back to bite them -- or, more likely, their children -- hard in the metaphysical tush. Right now, I'm thinking of a whole high-school student body near St. Louis that's undergoing AIDS testing.
How'd we get from 1973 to that? Why would we have wanted to open up that Pandora's Box?
Well, the short answer is . . . we didn't. Who knew the "squares" might be right about a thing or two? Who knew there were worse things out there than what could be cured with a shot of penicillin? Who knew how easily we could blow up the nuclear family?
I'm not being facetious. Who knew?
No one anybody was listening to, that's for certain.
I CAN'T CONVEY, not really, how fascinating a concept time travel is to me. Especially back to a time I remember well. The protagonist of "Life on Mars," Detective Sam Tyler (Jason O'Mara) was four in 1973. Something tells me part of the point of his mysterious time travel will be a profound journey of self-discovery.
I was 12 in 1973. I wonder what I would discover about myself -- and the world in which I grew up -- if I could again see those times . . . and my early-'70s self. This time through adult eyes.
To hell with the rest of society -- what would I change about me? About my interactions with my 1973 family and my 1973 friends and my 1973 world?
And would the revised and "improved" me still have what I hold most dear in 2008? That is, once I got there again.
I'm getting confused now.
OBVIOUSLY, if I had tried to deal with all this in detail during this week's episode of the Big Show, there wouldn't have been much time for all of the cool late-'60s and early '70s music we're playing this week. And that's the point of the show this go 'round -- "reelin' in the years" with some really fine music from Way Back When.
When our "Life on Mars" wasn't "Life on Mars," but instead just the way things were. And, all in all, it was all right.
So, let's go back to Mars this week on 3 Chords & the Truth.
Be there. Aloha.