Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Well, maybe I am. Just a little, though.

OK, so J over at the littlestpea and I have been having this discussion sort of thing about age. She insists that I am of a generation before hers, I have been insisting that we are just at different ends of the same generation. She is 31, I am 43.

So today I was helping some friends by painting the doors to the woodworking shop. There was an old radio on the windowsill, so I turned it on just to have some background noise. It was tuned to AM 1370 WDEA in Ellsworth, what is called a "nostalgia" station, meaning it played stuff my dad (66 years old) and my step mother (55) listened to when I was a kid and they thought music had just recently gone straight into the crapper. I heard some very old stuff by the Platters (ok, so there is no real new stuff by the Platters, but you get my drift) and some gentle rock 60s and 70s stuff, god help me, there was even a Barry Manilow, a John Denver and Anne Murray and Barbara Striesand. I even enjoyed songs by both Sinatras, and one of the other guys from the Rat Pack. Can't think of his name now, but it wasn't Dean Martin - it was one of the other guys. Not Sammy, either. Anyway. That's not the point I was getting to here.

The worst part of this little trip down memory lane?

I knew every word of every song. No exceptions. All of them. Even the Barry Manilow. Even the John Denver. Even The Drifters.

It is official. I am old. The music was not mine, it was my parents' but I still knew it. J had never heard Melissa Etheridge's first hit single. OK, J. You're off the hook. We are of two very, VERY different generations.

11 comments:

Laura D. on MDI said...

Ummm... sweetie, J is not 31 I am. J is still in her 20's I believe as she was born in the 80's. I believe that you are just fine.

MRMacrum said...

It's okay to know the words to those tunes, with the exception of Barry Manilow. You should forget those ASAP.

1138 said...

Ok, but I get to be old too.
51 I get to be old, so there, I even get to forget the lyrics.

j said...

I know the words to lots of those songs too. and Laura. We're the same age. I'm actually a few months older.

But I think that Dawn counts as a gen x'er in the strictest terms (started in 1961) so we're the same there-

I think it's just a different type of experience - I bet you remember when computers were invented. I can't. I've never lived without a computer, microwave, video games, etc.

I think that's a major split - rather than it being a generation defined by boomer/x/y I think it's more than that.

1138 said...

Computers? How about electronic calculators and LCD watches yeah, we saw it all invented new.

Of course we're not as old as McCain... He was there the day they invented DIRT, in fact one of his people said McCain himself was the inventor.

Dawn on MDI said...

I'd be willing to bet that a large part of the cultural differences between us are more a product of rural/urban and impoverished/affluent upbringing than the 12 years that separate us. I grew up dirt poor 3/4 of a mile down an unpaved road with cows and trees for neighbors. I got up each morning and built a fire in the woodstove and I don't think my parents had a plug-in coffee pot until after I graduated high school.

I remember that computers were enormous machines used by scientists in white jackets to calculate things for NASA, but by the time I was in high school, they were beginning to make inroads into business and offices everywhere. I learned BASIC on a Radio Shack TRS-80. It had a black screen with white text. Our programs were stored on large format floppy disks or else on a cassette player. We had one model that plugged into a color television - that was pretty cool. Once in college, technology moved along quicker, and I remember when we began putting out the college newspaper on a PC (Word Perfect and PageMaker). But I did not own a computer in my house until I graduated (it was my graduation present) in 1993. It was a 486 with 128 K and 32 megs of RAM. I was smokin', I tell you.

I remember some kids I knew as a child who had a video game called PONG. It had an enormous console with long wires with little handsets with turny knobs. The only game was a rudimentary version of Breakout. You could play alone or against someone else. It was in black and white. I think that was in 1970 or 1971 or so.

My grandmother had the first microwave of anyone I knew. It was huge and weighed a ton and when we turned it on, lights dimmed in half the house.

I think you might be right in that technology has made generational separations where none might otherwise exist. But I do like to think that I am not as aged and curmudgeonly as I pretend to be. I was not a Hillary supporter. I think those women are yet one step again older than I. It is worth considering and discussing. Thanks for the opportunity.

j said...

Agreed. I think the huge Hilary supporters are between 45+, and you fall under that.

And, you know, keeping a youngster around you helps keep you in touch:) I get this, I'm with an older chick myself:)

I sincerely hope she doesn't read that.

Robin said...

What mrmacrum said ;-). Except Copacabana. That one's admissable.

MRMacrum said...

I have no worry about forgetting that which I never learned. For some reason the only tunes I remember are a few Kingston trio songs and "It's Crying Time Again" by Ray Charles. Oh and several Hank Williams tunes. He was the first singer to make an impression.

Snave said...

Arrrgh... you even knew the words to the stuff by Barely Man-enough? Aieeee!!! I agree with what MrMacrum says about that matter... And sorry Robin, "Copacabana" is not admissable under ANY circumstances! 8-)>

One of my favorite books of all time is "Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs". It lists most of the ones I have loathed over the years, and he takes on some of the (arguably) worst lyrics of all time, i.e. Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said" ("I am, I said, to no-one there, and no-one heard, not even the chair") and Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die" ("..in this ever changing world in which we live in.." Ow, Sir Paul, check that grammar!!!) If you are into music and you have some songs or artists that touch a raw nerve here or there... Barry's book is priceless!!!

I know what you're going through when you say that, because I KNOW ALL THE STINKIN' WORDS to that stuff TOO!! 8-)> I'm 51, and have been a music buff for about 45 years now... so I know lots and lots of words to songs I don't like, just from having listened to our little town's one AM station for years, suffering through the songs I didn't like, waiting for them to mercifully end, in hopes of one coming up next that might be a favorite.

At least the band I'm in doesn't do stuff like Olivia Newton-John, Neil Sedaka, etc. We play oldies, but we're more into stuff like Steppenwolf, Joe Walsh, ZZ Top, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, basically anything rock or R & B from about 1965 to 1980.

My tastes always tend to run current, that is I was a big fan of New Wave and Punk in the late 70s and early 80s (bring on the Joy Division!) and since then I have pretty much stayed on top of the rock and roll scene. Lately it's stuff like the Dandy Warhols, the reunion CD by The Verve, and bands like The National, Wilco, Robert Pollard/Guided By Voices, most anything "college" or "indie". A couple of friends have turned me on to some amazing music by Aimee Mann I hadn't known existed... I think her last three CDs have excellent.

Anyway, music colors all our lives in various ways. Some people say that what separates us from the "lower animals" is our ability to use language. I think maybe it is in the unique ability of humans to create and appreciate music!

1138 said...

My first boss in the Air Force grew up with and went to school with Barry Manilow.