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?