Showing posts with label aging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aging. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Life . . . passing by at 33⅓ RPM

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town
And they tell him,
Take your time, it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
-- Joni Mitchell

Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you got till you've gone. Homer's sold you LPs, and you took home somebody's life.

Me, I thought it was just an exceptionally eclectic bit of birthday shopping at the Old Market record store -- everything from Oingo Boingo to Paul Mauriat, with some Louis Prima and Keely Smith in between. Oh . . . and a 1968 album by The Vogues.

Just a while ago, I was taking the old record out of the old jacket, and out fell a piece of somebody's life, a picture of a pretty young girl. Maybe a high school picture, maybe just the Kodak paper evidence of splurging on a trip to the photographer's studio.

I do know this, though. It looks like my long-lost, teenage journey through the last half of the 1970s. I remember that hair, and that blouse rings a bell. Definitely the last half of, if not the Age of Aquarius, certainly the Age of Dacron Polyester.
A 40-YEAR-OLD portrait stuck inside a 50-year-old LP for safekeeping. And then somebody sold the hiding place to the record store, kind of like the kinfolk giving Goodwill the mattress that hid Grandpa's life savings.

The mattress full of Benjamins is just sprung springs, spent stuffing and some clandestine cash. This picture right here, though -- that's somebody's youth. Somebody's lost youth that's been gone about the same number of years as mine.

I remember that youth. Not as well as I once did but, like the flipped curls and summer blouse of a beautiful young woman, it rings a bell.

Who is she? Where is she now?

Have, for her, the years between Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump been as long and strange a trip as they have for . . . well . . . me? How many joys and how many tragedies has she counted off between the vast plain of a life yet to come and the bittersweet reflections in the rear-view mirror as we of a certain age cruise toward eternity?

Regrets, I've had a few. I hope that young woman -- the one forever gazing toward a Kodachrome future that now lies largely in the past -- has had fewer.

Once, like the song on that Vogues album, she was somebody's special angel. I hope she still is.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Old man, get off of that stage

People try to put us d-down
(Talkin' 'bout my generation)

Just because we get around

(Talkin' 'bout my generation)

Things they do look awful c-c-cold
(Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old

(Talkin' 'bout my generation)

-- The Who,
My Generation

When you're 20, a song can be profound because it captures -- perfectly -- your fear and loathing of the Establishment.

When you're somewhere on the far side of 50, that same song can be profound because it captures -- perfectly -- your fear and loathing of the Establishment. Which now is you.

I'm talkin' 'bout my generation. Or, in this case, the one immediately before mine -- not that my Baby Boom generation is any better.

Above, from 2009, we see Gary Puckett singing his 1968 hit "Young Girl" at The Villages, a massive central Florida retirement community. Now it's creepy enough when you have a 26-year-old warbling an ode to age-inappropriate relationships which, back in high school, we used to call "15 will get you 20."

TODAY, the same dynamic will get you nabbed in a police Internet sting. You know, like when the pretty young thing posing as a 14-year-old asks you if you brought the "protection," goes to the back of the house to "freshen up" and then Chris Hansen walks in and says "Why don't you have a seat right over there?"

When the guy who can't get that young girl out of his mind -- or his set list -- is 67 years old, we suddenly have reached the second act in the profundity of "Hope I die before I get old."

Failing that, perhaps I just can claw my eyes out before watching this again.

It's almost as if Pete Townshend, when he wrote "My Generation," subconsciously saw what was coming in a mere four decades. Like old men singing young men's songs about jail bait to an audience of aging hipsters in a Florida retirement village. Needless to say,
I don't think we'll see The Who performing "Young Girl."

Sometimes, I wonder why don't we all f-fade away.

Talkin' 'bout my generation.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Not this Bing, that one

You know you're getting old when . . .

Your first thought, when hearing the name of Kate Hudson's and Matthew Bellamy's new baby is "They named the kid after Bing Crosby?" while Mashable's first thought is "They named the kid after a search engine?"

But what I really want to know is how Hudson got hooked up with one of the Bellamy Brothers. Aren't those guys waaaaaaay too old for her?

I guess the May-September couple just let their love flow, and nature took its course. It happens.


Muse about what?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What were we talking about, again?

My life, in song.

And hey . . . uh . . . uh . . . uh . . . podna, why did I walk into this room, again?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'll give you my $516.32 worth

I am a late Boomer. Either that means I was born in the year of our Lord 1961, or that I had red beans and rice for supper.

Take your pick.

But as a member of a now-aging generation, one facing the creeping shadows of mortality -- and occasionally the discomfort of gastric distress -- I am increasingly compelled to explain myself, my generation, to those who follow. I suppose this is part of the human need to leave a legacy, to live on in defiance of one's biological expiration date . . . ultimately, to not be forgotten.

To be understood is to, in some way, be less alienated from the rest of humanity. To offer a glimpse into one's thoughts, into one's soul, into one's influences and eccentricities is to seek common ground with generations who find us as mysterious as we find them.

And, yes, The
Gong Show winners above were that Oingo Boingo. Oingo Boingo may be another thing that needs explaining, but not right now.

CHILDREN, look. This is who we were. Deep inside, somewhere, this is who we are.

This is who we were before we began to take ourselves so damned seriously. The sum of what you see here is the totality -- or at least a reasonable facsimile -- of today's molders of the world you know.

HERE WE ARE. Understand us. Come to know us a little better.

And please do not gong us after 20 seconds have elapsed.

If you want to know why the world is the way it is, look at the . . . on second thought, avert your eyes. Ignorance
is bliss.

WE, THE BOOMERS are not just a generation that now worries about heart health and contemplates bladder-control products.

We once were young. We once were 10 feet tall and bulletproof. We once rocked out. We once laughed.

And we once loved weird s***.
Just like you.

TAKE IN what is before you now. Understand that this represents my generation's hopes, fears and insights into the human condition.

UNDERSTAND, too, that we once smoked dope. A lot, a lot of dope.

Which may or may not explain the tea party.

Good night, good luck . . . and I think I'll let Gene Gene the Dancing Machine take us to commercial.

One for Depends, no doubt.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Glory days, well they'll pass you by

It kills me to say this as a 30-plus-year Bruce Springsteen fanatic, but "Glory Days" was a highly ironic song to close his uberhyped Super Bowl halftime show.

I am old enough to remember how the Boss used to do "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" and "Born to Run." I saw Bruce and the E Street Band live when we all were in our prime.

AFTER WATCHING the Boss live -- via television cameras that neither blink nor filter a performance through wistful admiration before pronouncing a verdict -- a couple of things are pretty damned clear:

* The Boss is almost 60 years old.

* He can jump and run, or he can sing, but he can't do both anymore.

The Associated Press story is kind in its cheerful recitation of just the hype:

The 59-year-old Springsteen and his E Street Band opened with "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," then without pause ripped through "Born To Run" and "Working on a Dream," before winding up the set with "Glory Days."

Springsteen, dressed all in black, came out Sunday night with the considerable challenge of packing the bombastic energy of one of his rollicking, three-hour concerts into an abbreviated Super Bowl halftime set.

That turned out to be no problem. He had fireworks, an expansive stage, about 1,000 people on the field and help from a Raymond James Stadium crowd equipped with small flashlights.

A five-piece horn section helped saxophonist Clarence Clemons blast out "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," and a gospel choir came on stage to back Springsteen, his wife and bandmate, Patti Scialfa, and guitarist Steven Van Zandt during "Working on a Dream," the title song from his 24th album.
I GUESS SUPER SUNDAY'S overhyped miniextravaganza could have just been an instance where Springsteen's charm and enthusiasm were there, but his voice and execution weren't. But then again, let's face it, there's not a spring chicken anywhere in the band.

Clarence Clemons -- the Big Man -- just turned 67, for Pete's sake. That makes him old enough to be this middle-aged killjoy's father.

Hell, he could be in the Rolling Stones . . . another group well past its prime.

WE ALL, at some point, have to reinvent ourselves. Bruce has done it more than once, then unreinvented, then reinvented the reinvention. Big-ass bands are so '70s, and the members of this big-ass band are heading toward 70.

And unless it's Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, or maybe Benny Goodman or Duke Ellington, supersized sounds don't strike me as the soundtrack to a depression. What we need now is a Woody Guthrie for our national postmodern funk.

That's a bill the Boss can still fill . . . without resorting to taking hits of herbal tea or oxygen. And without subjecting his adoring fans to unintentionally ironic performances of "Glory Days."

I had a friend was a big baseball player
back in high school
He could throw that speedball by you
Make you look like a fool boy
Saw him the other night at this roadside bar
I was walking in, he was walking out
We went back inside sat down had a few drinks
but all he kept talking about was

Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days

Well there's a girl that lives up the block
back in school she could turn all the boy's heads
Sometimes on a Friday I'll stop by
and have a few drinks after she put her kids to bed
Her and her husband Bobby well they split up
I guess it's two years gone by now
We just sit around talking about the old times,
she says when she feels like crying
she starts laughing thinking about

Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days

Now I think I'm going down to the well tonight
and I'm going to drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don't sit around thinking about it
but I probably will
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
a little of the glory of, well time slips away
and leaves you with nothing mister but
boring stories of glory days
THE BOSS had a hell of a lot longer run of glory days than most of us ever could dream of. They passed me by God knows how long ago. And they pass legends by, too.

Maybe it's time for Bruce to enter his Wisdom Days. With a little luck and a lot of grace, those never pass you by.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go off somewhere, kick a garbage can and cry. My youth is dead, and the rest of me is getting there.