“So different are the colors of life, as we look forward to the future, or backward to the past; and so different the opinions and sentiments which this contrariety of appearance naturally produces, that the conversation of the old and young ends generally with contempt or pity on either side. To a young man entering the world, with fulness of hope, and ardour of pursuit, nothing is so unpleasing as the cold caution, the faint expectations, the scrupulous diffidence which experience and disappointments certainly infuse; and the old man wonders in his turn that the world never can grow wiser, that neither precepts nor testimonies can cure boys of their credulity and sufficiency; and that not once can be convinced that snares are laid for him, till he finds himself entangled. Thus one generation is always the scorn and wonder of the other, and the notions of the old and young are like liquors of different gravity and texture which never can unite. The spirits of youth, sublimed by health and volatized by passion, soon leave behind them the phlegmatic sediment of weariness and deliberation, and burst out in temerity and enterprise. The tenderness, therefore, which nature infuses, and which long habits of beneficence confirm, is necessary to reconcile such opposition: and an old man must be a father to bear with patience those follies and absurdities which he will perpetually imagine himself to find in the schemes and expectations, the pleasures and sorrows of those who have not yet been hardened by time and chilled by frustration.” – Dr. Johnson
“This is for all you new people. I have only one rule. Everybody fights, no one quits. If you don’t do your job, I’ll kill you myself!” – Honoré de Balzac
“None of those communist agitators better be coming around here! I’ll tell you that, JACK!” – F.A. Sinatra
This was the week where I ran into an old business associate I had not seen in several years. He left Seattle to take a job and over the course of our short conversation he talked about adjusting to life in Delaware – a state he had only known of previously from 6th-grade geography. Things have gone well for him, he met some one and they married three years ago. At that point he stopped and said, “How ’bout you? You still still up there clappin’?
With that he took off. I continued to smile and wave until I was sure he was out of sight. Then I drove like a bat out of hell to get home to check in with our resident young person, Alaska Wolf Joe to see what this “clapping” business is all about. Upon hearing my story Alaska Wolf Joe took on his best withering look, reached into his jacket for his phone, and said in a stage whisper, “Allow me to Google that.”
Per the Urban Dictionary:
“Clappin” 1. Is the act of having sexual relations with another person. This Word was originally used by metalheads from Berkeley California. See also, O.G. Bootyclap (usage) ‘Dude, Tyler’s Clappin’ on that fat chick.’; 2. Out of date or worn out, usually to describe attire or accessories. Also means tired out. (usage) As in ‘Man, my tracksuit is clappin’. Gotta get down JJB Sport and buy a new one.”
Putting the phone back in his jacket AWJ added, “And stop listening to Tame Impala. It’s unbecoming.”
His last statement was succinct. It completely took my mind off the clapping business and got me refocused on the problem at hand – it’s the 15th anniversary of this page and I got bupkis.
Well… not exactly.
I’ve had ideas, but they were either so succinct or so paltry and threadbare that I could only hope that they sell blog posts down at JBB Sport next to the track suits. Therefore I am left with no option but to celebrate 15 years of doing this by running out those ideas which could not find their way out of my zeitgeist’s cul-de-sac.
Last month I decided to get a new electric razor. I have no idea if anything’s wrong with the one I got 15 years ago. It, like the stereo, disappeared into Alaska Wolf Joe’s lair years ago and I have no interest in going in to find it. If you can get past the smell, his lair is a dark and frightening place. Now and then the cat goes in only to run out like he saw a ghost.
Shopping for a new one was about equally frightening. There’s a bewildering array of electrics to chose from. As most of you remember, you used to go to drug store to get an electric razor. There were two kinds – the ones that came in rugged, dark industrial colors were for men and the pastel-shaded ones were for women. As my father, who owned a drug store for many years, liked to say, “Hell, they’re the same damn razor right down to the mark-up!”
With that in mind -I clicked on a few things here and there a box popped up that said, “Based on your browsing history.” Three razors appeared below the most memorable of which sported the tagline, “Gentle on tattoos.”
Because ink is like gin and you don’t want to bruise it?
Googling around on that subject it seems the young men of today routinely shave their body hair so that their tattoos can be more readily seen. One entry said that it’s a bit like a city maintenance crew trimming the bushes so the traffic signs could be clearly read. Allegedly the razor in question was good for such as well as shaving your head which like tattoos is something I’m not interested in, but we’ll save that for just a wee bit later.
Dead Horse Beaten While-U-Wait
We didn’t intend to stay up for Letterman’s last show, but circumstance brought us home late so we watched the back half. OK – we kinda watched. Mom and I mostly talked to AWJ about how the show was get-out-of-town huge when it started back in the pre-cable tv days. Our contention was that – back then- there was so little on tv that spoke to our sense of humor and given the overall scarcity of programming we thought Letterman was the single most amazing thing we’d ever seen. As such Colbert cannot replicate that experience.
Also we used it as a teaching moment for Mr. Reinvent the Theater. Back then with the limits of content distribution people only knew what they were told repeatedly. (See the previous post about Time’s use of hyphen.) That’s why Andy Kaufman was a genius. People were told over and over he was a comedian and every time they didn’t get the joke. Back then not getting the joke angered and frustrated people. Andy and Letterman knew this and they rode it for all it was worth.
AWJ’s mission, should he decide to accept it, is to find that same soft white underbelly and wrench it open in the 250-channel, mobile Internet-driven world.
YOU GET A PUNDIT! YOU GET A PUNDIT! LOOK UNDER YOUR SEAT!! YOU ALL GET A PUNNNNNNNDITTTTT!!
Recently Gawker Media ran out the headline, I Don’t Think David Brooks Is Okay, You Guys. While picking on Brooksie is nothing new, the article does get a little tl;dr to make the same old case. If you’re not inclined to really wade through that, then please accept this summary which was taken from every radio commercial that plays on every sports-talk station around the country, “After the age of 25 your body’s ability to produce testosterone decreases.”
Never mind the fact that with the decline of newspapers it’s real hard to be one of the snarling he-beasts of the media elite. Once upon a time if you were a Times columnist you lived far, far above us regular mortals. All well and good, but in the last 10 or so years punditry has become democratized. Anybody can be one now. Hell, there’s been so many for so long it’s a wonder Oprah didn’t give them out on her last show and it’s probably just as well. The charm of having a pundit around would undoubtedly wear off pretty fast. Can you imagine how sad it would be to drive down the street and see Thomas Friedman standing in somebody’s driveway with a little piece of masking tape that read, “$1” because he was a yard-sale item?
Where were we?
Oh yeah – Brooksie and The Allegory of the Low-T Informercials. Per the article he’s a little ticked off that the young people, especially the attractive young women, aren’t paying any attention to him.
What’s wrong with kids these days?
Why aren’t they giving him his due?
Time was kids knew who was important. All they had to do was look at People Magazine. If you flipped through the pages and found – as Tom Wolfe pointed out – some one sitting on a couch with the object which suggested how he or she exercised his or her libido – you knew that person had arrived. That meant the old media had crowned some one King and/or Queen Shit.
The Internet has democratized that process which leaves some one like Brooks to mutter under his breath about how the kids with their Tweetbook and their Snappy Chatter and their InState Grams lets anybody sit on the couch and be Karl Lagerfeld and his cat.
Even Tyler and his old lady.
Bless their hearts.
Oh and speaking of libido…
Goodness me that’s a lot of Sudafed! Allergies?
Last week a woman came up to me, leaned into my face, and gushed about my hair. She started off with, “I’ve never really studied the back of your head before!”
Yeah, me neither.
“You have an amazing head of hair, so thick, so lush…”
This begs the question, “Did you tell Mom about this?
Didn’t have to.
She was sitting next to me.
Mind you, I’m not saying Mom’s sanguine about it. Instead she has a quiet understanding of how these sudden volcanic eruptions of the middle-aged female libido work. As she has said time and again, “If it wasn’t for the dog none of these women would know anybody who still has his own hair. With your hair now you could probably go back to your hometown and those women you grew up with would have to pay attention to you.”
Ahhhh, the wily frontage-road vixens of unincorporated Rio Blanco County.
Now don’t for a second think they’ve gone to seed.
They still clean up real good.
Not a one of ’em goes down to the Eagles on Saturday night without first spending all Saturday afternoon at the beauty parlor making sure the color of her hair matches the color of her spray tan. Years and years of experience has taught her one thing – you can spend all night sitting at the end of the bar rotating shots of Fireball and Cuervo, but God forbid you should look you just fell off the back of a truck.
Hey – you never know- come the shank end of the evening when Art, the bartender sets the mood by shutting off half the fluorescents and the band starts to break out a few Foghat covers there might be some guy of a certain age who still has his hair. That might get her to get up and see if he wants to go back to her trailer.
Provided the ex ain’t blow’d it up making a fresh batch of meth.
Now we come to the end of our broadcast day
What is the 15th anniversary?
God knows that over time most of what’s been posted here seems like IKEA shelves left in the box and God knows that’s all I see on NextDoor. OK, except for the couple who say they’re taking turns out on the front walk parading around with a shotgun to hold off the drug sealers.
The conventional wisdom says that couples who do things together stay together longer.
Whether or not that involves a 12-gauge pump-action Remington is anybody’s best guess.
Look, it’s not like their kids can help as those little bastards are all caught up trying to TweetFace and Bookgram, and SnappyPatter and …
Did I go there already?
Then it’s time to wind up – so here’s two thoughts.
1. After all this time if, in my own small way, I hope I’ve been able to never make you think of the terms, “golf clap” and “Those goddam happy-clappy people at 10 o’clock Mass” the same way again.
2. After 15 years it’s been as frustrating for me as it’s been frustrating for you. In all that time there’s been no end of platform and URL changes. There’s been an endless parade of half-finished thoughts, crap analogies, and posts which were – at best – only occasionally plausible, if I may borrow that term.
For that I apologize.
But please keep one thing in mind – for 15 years when I sit down to type these things this is all I can hear in my head.