Notes From An Old Codger – Volume I

I swear, he sold me a bag of fried pork rinds and a bottle of Mountain Dew outside of Little Rock! (Photo from phojoe.com)

When I was young, just decades ago, I swore to myself that I would never become old and out of touch.  Little did I know that even as I made those solemn pledges to myself, the process had already begun.  I’d developed a fondness for types of music which would eventually be played on the Musak system at the supermarket.  I’d played outdoors and lived with grass stains and no seat belts, in a world devoid of video games and on-demand entertainment.  My favorite hairstyles would not hold up well to male-pattern-baldness.  The final straw was having children.  Those hyper-sensitive critics who would have a real problem with my trying to dress or act  like anyone but a Dad.

I read a post recently, where Life With The Top Down referred to a man she’d met.  She wrote that he reminded her of Cee Lo Green.  I have to admit that prior to seeing him in a soft drink commercial a few months ago, I had no idea that Cee Lo existed.  Once I did see him on that ad, I still had no idea who he was and had no desire to find out why 7-Up decided he was famous enough to represent their product.

My disconnection from popular culture has become disturbingly common.  As I wait in line at the supermarket, my cart packed with plenty of roughage, denture cream and a Valu-Pak of Depends, I glance at the tabloids out of sheer boredom.  The headlines scream for my attention as they always have, but using names I don’t recognize.  Apparently So-and-So has admitted to cheating on What’s-His-Name.  In another blockbuster chunk of news, Whosie Whatsie has gone back into rehab due to her dependence upon drugs which I haven’t even heard of.  While the infidelity and substance abuse issues of people in the public eye shouldn’t be my business to begin with, the fact that I don’t recognize a single name of any of the participants just gnaws at me.  In my heart of hearts, I know that as a good American, I should care about the trials and tribulations of these strangers, but I’ve never heard their songs or seen their movies.  At this point, it seems like too much work to learn who they are so that their addictions have meaning to me.

Besides, gossip and bad news don’t work that way.  You’re supposed to “know” the person first, then be surprised and concerned when you find out about all their problems.  If you know about the star’s crippling dependancy on lethal cocktails of barbituates, stool softeners and bath salts before you even know who they are, it just ruins the whole emotional experience.  It’s like putting the cart before the horse’s ass.

Once upon a time, the tabloids were simpler.  Superstars like Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Elvis were in almost every single issue.  Even in death, they showed up.  The formula was simple: take a really famous person with some peculiar lifestyle choices, and speculate about every single aspect of their bizarre lives.  If you had nothing to go with, just make something up.  Many’s the time where Elvis was resurrected from the grave and reported to have been sighted working at a mini-mart in rural Arkansas.  Michael Jackson giving you a slow week?  No problem, he can be abducted by aliens.  When Liz Taylor and Michael got together, the stories wrote themselves.

Now people who aren’t even through the 9th minute of their 15 minutes of fame are already all over the gossip rags.   I saw an article about a woman who had done something stupid.  For the life of me, I couldn’t begin to figure out who or what this woman was.  She may have been a singer, an actress or the newly discovered wife of North Korea’s President for Life.

Fortunately, I have a bevvy of younger, hipper people working around me who I can refer my questions to.  In a pathetic attempt to try to stay in touch, I approached one of my coworkers for info.

“Who the hell is {insert name here}?” I asked.

“Oh, you know, she’s one of the Real Housewives of {insert locale here}” my colleague answered, looking at me to see if I was seriously even asking that question.  “She’s the one who had the big fight with {insert second name here}.  She threw the {circle appropriate projectile - table / chair / Chihuahua / bottle of Cristal} at her!”

My colleague made a face of expectation, waiting for the light of recognition to flicker on in my ancient eyes.  I tried my best to fake it, closing my eyes as I rolled my head slightly to the side.

“Oh!  Right RIGHT!  The one who threw the thing at the other one!” I said, hoping she’d let this matter drop.

She looked at me with pity, pretending to be unaware that I was lying.

It’s no use, I’ll never keep up with a culture which changes at the speed of Tweets.

I guess I should accept my status and start mowing the lawn in loafers, dark socks and Bermuda shorts.  It’s clearly time to embrace my inner old codger.  I’ll regale anyone who’ll listen with stories about how football used to be a man’s sport, played without gloves or Darth Vader visors.  After all, football season is nearly upon us.  I saw a commercial for the NFL just the other day.

There were shaking pom-poms on the screen.  I waited in eager anticipation to see who was behind them.  I hoped that it was Ann Margaret or maybe Raquel Welch. You can imagine my disgust when the pom-poms dropped to reveal the smiling mug of Cee Lo.

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34 responses

    • By the way, thanks for the shout-out on Twitter. After reading your post about social media, I decided to try tweeting one more time. I had 5 followers, but now I’m up to 6. Some guy re-tweeted my comment this morning, so I guess that’s good. Dunno know what to do to make Twitter more meaningful.

      • Some people just tweet and never have a conversation. Some people @ reply all the time. I like a bit of both. I’ve been told you should follow tons of people because then most will follow you back. But I’m very jealous of my timeline. I only want to follow people who make me laugh or have something interesting to say in their tweets. The few people I have conversations (tweet talk?) with are worth the effort. Keep it up…I’m not always on especially with our reno work but I try to check in a few times a day. :-)

  1. I’m actually fairly up on popular culture, which I suppose isn’t necessarily a good thing to admit. But like you, I know nothing about reality TV stars. Not quite worth my time. As for music, no matter how old I get, I love all the new stuff. Give me the Black Keys and Young the Giant over the old stuff anyday. I guess that’s the one part of me that stays young. :)

    But please, skip the “loafers, dark socks and Bermuda shorts.” You’re far too cool for that!

    • I listen to the Black Keys and the White Stripes, but that music is for listening, unlike American Idol and The Voice or whatever talent show is next. I wouldn’t know any of those musicians though if they bumped into me. The ones who end up in the tabloids seem to be from music which I don’t listen to (then again, I never went out of my way to listen to Michael Jackson or Elvis either)

  2. Mowing the lawn in loafers and dark socks … HA! You crack me up! I think there’s a lot more people like you than you think, minus the black socks. We all hate those 9-minutes of fame whores on magazines. The sad part is they still have time to spare.

  3. There has to be a happy medium here Point. My kids knock my husband down for being the biggest weirdo on earth for tucking his t-shirt in…apparently there are rules/laws and we can’t even discuses THE BELT…it nearly puts the kids in a panic. I don’t watch reality TV at all, got enough in my own daily life. I go from classic rock to Al Green with a splash of whatever that is my son listens to (that sounded old).
    You’re not old, your confident. Confident men don’t give a shit about what some young kid thinks about mowing in dark socks…cause they know, one day kid you’ll be doing it to. Thanks for the mention! Glad Cee-Lo and I could inspire this great post!

  4. Yeah, embrace your inner codger! I’d rather to that than ever watch two seconds of any of the Real Housewives shows. I can’t even get past seeing a commercial for one, I start to cringe and I can’t stop.

    A big sign that I am old? The music the kids are listening to these days! Good god. What kind of crap is out there right now? Whatever happened to ‘real’ music? That had a good beat and you could understand the lyrics?? (Hm…I seem to remember my own father saying the same thing about my music when I was growing up…)

  5. I totally feel the same way, and then I get all upset because I’m ONLY 34! That’s not old, is it???
    But it is. And I couldn’t identify anyone from Jersey Shore, and I don’t watch any of the other reality shows, and I remember when TV had writers who wrote stuff and actors who acted it.

  6. Ha! I cancelled my subscription to Us Weekly once my oldest kid started reading. Now I’m hopelessly uncool, since I never watched any of those shows to begin with. I do still recognize some of the names in the tabloids, but less and less.

    I actually think it’s kinda great though, realizing you just don’t care anymore. I’m looking forward to caring less and less about irrelevant bullshit as I get older!

  7. I look to the blogosphere for my dose of pop culture, coz I just cannot subject myself to People’s magazine or watch whatsitsname! When people started talking about Justin Bieber’s english accent, I had no idea he was a ‘star’ by then. When I heard his song, I sincerely hoped he was at least better at the accent.

    • cable, cell phones, indoor plumbing.

      Of course, I was referring to today’s eye protection visors, but by cleverly calling them “Darth Vader visors” I caught the attmetion of Star Wars / Star Trek / Star 80 fans looking for anything new to read about their favorite movies.

      By the way, you’ll be wild with envy to hear that I recently discovered that I’m only two degrees away from Gene Hackman, as my dear mother was in one of his movies. Don’t worry…I won’t let it go to my head.

  8. And, as an artistic outlet, we chose hanging out in the blogging world with practically CHILDREN so our lack of connectivity with pop culture is glaringly obvious for every other blogger to see and mock.

    Pass me a Bingo card and some Metamucil, will ya, Dave?

  9. I’m probably even worse than you on pop culture knowledge. And I had to look up Cee Lo. Still don’t know who he is and don’t care and yes, I can imagine your disappointment. While in general I prefer looking at men, I do admire the amazing beauty of Ann Margaret and Raquel Welch.

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