WHICH WORLD is this?
When the doctor pulled my screaming body out of mom all those 7 decades ago, I landed in a post-WWII world.
It was--compared to today's world--an alien planet.
The world I live in today has nothing in common with the world in which I grew up.
There were no cell phones back then--there were black telephones with a dial-tone and an Operator who placed your call.
Everywhere you found telephone booths! A call was a nickle.
Where did all those telephone booths go?
Where did my whole world go?
TV sets were huge boxes with tubes and small screens. Images were black and white.
It was an idiot box. It still is.
A "computer" was a Science fiction trope and in reality, consisted of vast rooms full of blinking lights and hardware.
Men wore hats, women wore stockings with a black seam down the back.
Everybody smoked cigarettes. Everywhere!
There was "easy listening" music filled with lush melody.
Movies were vivid storybooks filled with comedy, song and dance, and noir.
Only sailors, convicts, and primitive tribal communities had tattoos.
Kids said, "Yes Sir" and "No, Ma'am".
And so on...
I've lived in several worlds on different planets--not literally, but essentially for all the extraordinary dissonances, customs, attitudes, and ethos. (Good word "ethos", look it up.)
Today--what world is this?
Have I lost the thread?
Who knows their next door neighbor anymore?
Who spends time sitting on the front porch in the evening in a swing, sipping ice tea and waving at the folks across the street?
Who reads actual Literature?
Who buys paintings or objet d'art?
Who knows the classical music repertoire?
Who is conversant with dates, names, movements in human history with any certainty?
I was there when TV arrived and the first commercial jingles were created.
I lived in the radio soap opera era.
I was there when Bebop lived side by side with West Coast jazz and the Big Bands faded as Rock n' Roll was born.
I lived among Beatniks, Folk singers, Doo-Wops, Hippies, and the birth of the Long Play record and the death of the 78 shellac platters.
The year I was born, the transistor was invented. (1947).
I was 7 years old when the first transistor radios were sold (1954).
The very first satellite went into orbit when I was 15 years old. (1962)
I was 18 years old as 8 Track tapes were all the rage.(1965)
I was 22 years old when man first walked on the moon. (1969)
I was 32 years old when the Sony Walkman revolutionized portable music. And it was just a cassette player!
By 1975, the first mass marketing of Video Tape Recorders was sold at about a thousand dollars each.
The personal computer was barely a dream in the future!
So what? What point am I making?
If you aren't 70 then:
I'm from a different world than YOU are!
My ways are not your ways.
My thoughts and feelings and ideas and opinions are just plain weird to you because you haven't lived my lifetime.
I've seen people become famous, fade, and pass into obscurity.
I've heard fearful predictions for the future which turned out to be absolute hogwash.
I've seen the rise of horrible political leaders who later fell.
I lived through a great many wars and spent time in Federal Prison, a religious cult, four marriages, and produced 7 children.
I've been Nerd, a religious fanatic, an artist, a composer, a writer, husband, father, best friend, and generally a pain in the ass.
BUT I'M STILL HERE.
It isn't MY world--it is your world.
I AM A LIVING TIME MACHINE.
When I speak--you are getting a message from another era.
Just try to remember that--will you?