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24 August 2006

Let's not even talk about Punky Brewster

Full disclosure: I am a few years older than John. This and my decision to go to law school after working for a few years means I fairly frequently hang out with people who are younger than I am. It doesn’t bother me, because I enjoy these people’s company and age is just a number and all that. I have, however, somehow developed an annoying tic about it, where I make jokes about how old I feel, or lecture on how much more mature and experienced I am, or roll my eyes exaggeratedly when some 22-year-old whippersnapper in my law school class asks, all wide-eyed and sincere, “What was the Challenger?” But I don’t really mean it. I annoy myself when I make these jokes and comments, (it’s all just so trite,) so I can only imagine how irritating it is for my very-patient friends. Yesterday, though? Yesterday I actually felt it for real, this feeling suddenly older. My friend Murphy and I went to pub trivia at a bar up near her place. (Side note: I LOVE pub trivia. Trivia? And Beer? What’s not to love! If you live in Chicago and know of a good place for pub trivia and are looking for teammates, email me. Seriously. I’m good.) The highlight of trivia is the audio round, where the quiz dude plays little snippets of songs, usually revolving around a theme, and you write down the song and the artist. This week’s theme was “animals,” and the third song he played was the opening strains of “Sullivan Street” by the Counting Crows. Both Murphy and I immediately dove for the pen in a race to write down the answer. We hummed along, both of us feeling nostalgic and remembering the summer when “August and Everything After” seemed to be playing everywhere. (Murphy and I have been friends since high school.) Seriously, this album that was so much a part of my early high school experience that I still envision particular parties when I hear the chorus of “Mr. Jones” or am transported back to awkward walks to the beach (to awkwardly make out with awkward boys) when I hear “Anna Begins.” (I’m really showing my stripes as another boring white suburban kid here, aren’t I? Why couldn’t my formative albums have been something cool! Even something totally embarrassing would be better because it would be funny! But Counting Crows? That’s just dull. Sigh.) Then Murphy and I happened to glance over at a group of college kids sitting next to us. There were about 15 of them, obviously new friends out together for the first time, caught up in the excitement of what I assume was college orientation, full of conversations about “where are you from” and “what was your high school like?” and “do you think the bartender is going to notice that my id is fake because I look about TWELVE.” And these kids, listening to the same song that had transported me and Murphy to such a happy nostalgic place, were totally blank. Fifteen of them and not a single one had any idea what the song was. I was so startled by this, that this album that is so tied to that particular point in my life could be so old as to be unknown to these kids sitting next to us. It was kind of jarring. And I felt OLD. Not in a bad way, but in a “holy crap, how much time has passed if the Counting Crows are now oldies it just all went so fast” kind of way. So I’m interested- am I the only one who has really strong memories associated with particular songs or albums like this? For me, the biggies seem to be the ones that were on heavy repeat during summers in high school- the rush of driving in a friend’s car with newly-acquired driver’s licenses, flirting with tan boys at backyard parties, sitting on the beach on balmy nights watching lightning storms cross the lake…. What about you? What were some of the albums that defined particular periods in your life? Or, if you want to make me feel better, has anyone else had some really good “oh my god the people I’m talking to don’t remember _______, I am so OLD” moments recently?


At 8/24/2006 03:29:00 PM, Blogger Murphy said...

So many albums point to different parts of my life. My high school all-time favorites are:
Matchbox 20-Yourself or Someone Like You; Third Eye Blind-Third Eye Blind; Anything by the Barenaked Ladies from BEFORE they went mainstream; and, of course, Counting Crows August and Everything After. (Can you tell Pseudo and I grew up together and listened to the same lame mellow-man music? And I still love it all to this day, regardless of whether 22-year-olds have heard it.)

At 8/24/2006 05:19:00 PM, Blogger Green said...

Everyyyy time I TURN! A-ROUND! Your spirit's lifting me right off the ground!

I could go on and on. I was just telling a friend recently, that if I owned a DVD player between Punky Brewster, Fame, and My So Called Life, she would NEVER see me again unless she came over to my house.

At 8/24/2006 07:22:00 PM, Anonymous samantha Jo Campen said...

We had an intern in the office last year that was 20. She did not know:

--The Beetles were from England
--Who Bob Hope was
--What an 8-track was
--Who Billy Idol was
--Who Lucille Ball was (grounds for dismissal right there sister)

I know these aren't from 'our' generation, but man did that make me feel old. But also? Very, VERY smart.

At 8/24/2006 08:36:00 PM, Blogger hazelblackberry said...

I agree, summer songs do seem to stick. I have a whole list of songs that continue to evoke for me the exact same feeling I had when I first used to listen to them. But I can't think of a single one. I'm old, my memory is...what's the word?...fading, I think.

At 8/24/2006 08:40:00 PM, Blogger hazelblackberry said...

Oh also, I was drving my cousins somewhere and Jet's cover of Black Betty came on the radio and they requested me to turn it up and I just couldn't resist first lecturing them that this was a cover of a song that was huge years before thye were born and that, in fact, that song was also a cover of a song that was first recorded in the 1930s and credited to the great Leadbelly but that some people think it has its origins in the 18th century.

I totally deserved the looks of disdain I copped from the little twerps.

At 8/25/2006 10:36:00 AM, Anonymous Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Wait no - Counting Crows can't be oldies.


(I married a younger man too.)

At 8/25/2006 10:37:00 AM, Anonymous Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Wait no - Counting Crows can't be oldies.


(I married a younger man too.)

At 8/28/2006 01:07:00 AM, Blogger Mary Bennet said...

The worst thing is when the videos of MY songs are hauled out of cold storage for comic effect for a new generation. So what if the cute boys had big hair when I was a teenager? I had no-one else to dream over.

At 8/28/2006 07:53:00 PM, Anonymous el guapo said...

This post hits all too close to home for me. For the last month I've been compiling a list of tunes that I associate with key moments in my life; by this I mean identifiably visceral moments, i.e., "the time I listened to the Smith's 'Stretch Out and Wait' while cleaning a pair of particularly tall windows while smitten in love on an especially sunny afternoon in July 1996" and such. Having read your post, I'm realizing that many songs on this list would be utterly foreign to some young Britney-fed stripling. Ugh.

(Long time reader, first time poster. I'm a friend of John's friend Phil. Love the blog!)

At 9/03/2006 04:43:00 PM, Blogger fin said...

To me, all songs have seasons. I can only listen to them at the right time of the year.

At 9/04/2006 11:14:00 PM, Blogger The Girl with Moxie said...

Songs and smells do it for me. I catch a whiff of a shampoo I used in high school or college and it's flashback city. Listening to New Order's Substance 87, Erasure's The Innocents, or Public Image Ltd. takes me back to the first few months of college. And yes, I did just date myself, dammit all.


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