Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Yesterday When We Were Young

Am I the only one to notice that the first decade of the 21st Century will have had eleven years in it when it ends at midnight, December 31st?  In this country with the exception of the way computers think, we have always done our counting starting with the numeral one and ending with the numeral 10 or zero.  Only computers counted 0,1,2,3.  Any pre-schooler  can tell you that.
At least we did until the whole Y2K fiasco, when some political talking head decided that for the 20th century, there would only be 99 years, and the zero that would have been the year 2000 AD was suddenly not the last year of the old century but the first year of the new one, which of course, started a commercial marketing feeding frenzy that split the modern world into the camps of thinkers, i.e. those who know how to count, and politicians/marketing heads, i.e., those who can’t count, caused intergalactic uproar over the whole Y2K computer scare that never materialized and eventually funneled its way down to politically incorrect free thinking BLOGGERS gifted in the fine art of run on sentencing.
Yes, I typed that all in one breath.
Where was I?  I’m old, and easily sidetracked, and
I’ve noticed that the older I get, the older I get, and I have developed in my advancing years a propensity for appreciating the beauty of a freshly brewed cup of coffee first thing in the morning while waiting for, I’m sorry – do I know you?
Did I mention I’m old and easily sidetracked?
Oh yes.  2010 – the eleven year decade. 
It is, you know.  2010 is the last year of the first decade of the 21st century, not the first year of the second decade of the 21st century.  Not at all like things were when they got all mucked up eleven years ago.  Of course, unless clearer minds prevail - and unless we do away completely with lawyers, politicians, infomercial spokespersons, and worst of all, politicians who used to be lawyers and infomercial spokespersons, that’s not likely to happen – it will happen all over again in the year 2099, 2199, 2299, and on to infinity and beyond (say, that’s catchy!).  Odds are looking better every day that I will not be around for any of those successive events, but for those of you who are – remember – you heard it first here!  Please credit all royalties to my grandchildren.
I have somehow managed to write almost 400 words and I’m still not on topic.
Did I mention that I’m old and easily sidetr…Ooooh!  Flowers!
I started out with the idea of reminiscing about my childhood.  I was a child in the days when every major market in the burgeoning television industry had a Saturday afternoon show with some guy dressed up to look like the evil offspring of Jerry Springer and Oprah and acting like a cross between Bozo the Clown and Leno. 
It was called Creature Feature, and it had all the classics.  Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Abbot & Costello Meet the Werewolf, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Crawling Eye, Plan 9 from Outer Space, The Day of the Triffids, It Came from Outer Space, The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The House on Haunted Hill, all those great old Universal Black and White monster movies that used light, shadow, music and overacting that made Bill Shatner look like a headliner for the Royal Shakespearean Theater.
And we loved it!  It was static filled black and white from an antennae on your roof or a set of rabbit years if you were close enough to the broadcast tower, and there were fewer than 35 commercials every 5 minutes.  It was free analog television when Lucy was Queen, Red was King, and Jackie threatened ‘to the moon, Alice, to the moon.’  Father knew Best, Donna was the perfect Mom, and Wally and the Beaver ruled the air.  Every kid on the planet knew what time it was, who was ‘born on a mountain top in Tennessee’, what Kimosabe meant, Rickey Nelson was the original music video star, Ozzie was a cardigan dad instead of a rocker, and that TV stars and Movie Stars moved in two entirely different universes.  It was Mystery Science Theater 3000 before Mystery Science Theater 3000 was cool.  It was corny, slapstick, fall-down stupid shtick, and we loved it.  It was Bela, Boris, Lon and Lon Jr, and Vincent.  And we gloried in it.
And we didn’t get too twisted watching it – well not those of us who didn’t eventually go into law, infomercials, politics or any combination of the three.
And on a good day, you could get a complete set of ginsu knives that would saw through a tin soda can and still cleanly slice an over-ripe tomato for $19.95, operators standing by.  Check or money order, and postal zones had not yet evolved into zip codes.  Superman Magazine cost a dime, and milk was 25 cents a quart in a vending machine on the corner next to a real telephone booth Dr. Who would be proud of.
And the maniacal laugh of Vincent Price later added to the end of Michael Jackson’s Thriller would have us looking under our beds and closing the closet doors at bed time … just in case.
That was yesterday when we were young.
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