Friday, February 10, 2012

The Good Ole Days

A few years ago my mom, brother and I were traveling to Alabama to visit the grandparents. I was really excited to finally be in charge of the radio. We always had assigned seating in the van when we traveled- Dad drove, mom rode in the front seat, Lindsay sat next to the rear controls because she's the oldest and therefore got to be in charge of the radio and air conditioner for Kirby (who was next to her) and me (who was in the back). With my dad and Lindsay not going with us on this particular trip, I finally had the controls to myself. You can tell that this was a monumental occasion in my life, because I remember it so vividly.

I asked Kirby what he wanted to listen to, and after searching through my CD case he decided on Queen's "Greatest Hits". I commended him on his choice, and my mom says something along the lines of "I didn't know you had that CD". Then she tells me I would have made a great hippie.

Are you serious? I would have made a great hippie? Anyone else's mom ever tell them that? It's true, it's just funny to hear it from your mother. I love the oldies. I used to fall asleep to 98.7 KLUV (the oldies station) when I was a kid. I have nearly all of the Beatles albums, including an actual LP of "Rubber Soul" thanks to Chelsea. I love tie dye and Jimi Hendrix and would grow my hair down to my ankles if it wouldn't stop growing when it's halfway down my back. It's funny though, because even though I look at the 60's and think man, THAT's the decade I want to live in, I know that there is no such thing as "the good ole days". It's just a phrase that politicians have been using since the dawn of time to produce false hope in nostalgia.

Even the 1950's, which seems to be perfect, weren't even close. Start of the Cold War, Communism and the Red Scare, everyone smoking cigarettes around pregnant women (I'm watching Season 2 of "I Love Lucy" and I'm shocked- even the doctor smokes around a pregnant Lucy!). In "Dazed and Confused", one of the characters talks about how every other decade is great. The 50's were boring, the 60's were great, "the 70's obviously suck" and so they estimate (sarcastically, in hindsight) that the 80's must be going to be the greatest days of their lives!

Just the other day I watched the movie "Midnight in Paris" (which is excellent and in my opinion the best movie of the year). The premise is that the main character longs to move to France in order to write because it inspires him. He views 1920's Paris as the highlight of romanticism and the greatest time in history. Magically, at midnight each night, an old car shows up and transports him to the streets of Paris in the 20's. He meets people like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter and Picasso. He also meets a girl who complains that the 1920's are boring and she wishes she lived during the 1890's.

It's a perfect example of how everyone sees that we always want what we can't have. I'll continue to watch "I Love Lucy", but I need to stop wishing I was alive to see it when it was first aired. I'll keep listening to The Beatles, but stop dreaming that I was at Shea Stadium for their famous concert. I'm happy that I'm here now, alive to experience the Y2K scare, 4 Spurs NBA championships, the birth of my daughter, and thousands of other momentous and ultimately insignificant occasions in my 26 years.

You can't always get what you want.
You can't always get what you want.
You can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes,
You just might find,
You get what you need. 
-The Rolling Stones


  1. Recently I heard a great lesson where the speaker said you can tell a lot about a person by what they think "the good ol' days" are. For a lot of people, the 50's were economically booming, generally moral-based, family-oriented, etc. But this (African American) speaker reminded us that the 50's weren't necessarily the best for his people...

  2. Exactly! There are no good ole days! It's all a matter of perspective. I hadn't even thought about the racial issue though. If I was African American, what would I say the good ole days were? Wow... would I say there were any? Shame on our country...