Give Me Those Old Time Traditions (tf)

People laugh at me when I start talking about the “old days”. I kinda laugh at myself too. Until I look in the mirror and see all the gray hair….and do the math with my birth year. I was born when LBJ was in the White House. I think that entitles me to some nostalgia, especially considering that my formative years were spent under Nixon, a paranoid sociopath with access to the launch codes.

Yes, I too long for those simpler days of yester-year. I’m one of 6 kids, so my Dad bought a station wagon….the SUV of its day. On hot summer nights, after we’d taken baths and put on pajamas, he’d sometimes announce it was time for ice cream and we’d all pile in the car, still dressed for bed. If there’s a more perfect way to end a sizzling summer day, I don’t know what it is. Maybe running through the backyard, catching fireflies comes close. I don’t think I’ve seen a firefly since I was a kid. Are they extinct? Maybe they just got annoyed at being put in jars all the time and migrated?

But Stevens brought up Antique shops. They always intimidated me. Just like I could never tell bad jazz from good jazz, or the difference between great art and the stuff they nail to the walls at the Mid-Valley motel, I have no idea if what I’m looking at is a priceless relic from another age, or something just plucked out of a nearby dumpster. The assumption, of course, is that since it’s in an “antique” shop it must be worth considerably more than it looks. But how do I know? Remembering my Nixonian past, the idea of simply trusting the guy behind the counter telling me it’s a toilet seat from Napoleon’s days on Elba and as such is a steal at a gabillion dollars is not going to happen. I just figure I’m being fleeced and buy some refrigerator magnets instead. Antique shops make me feel stupid, and I don’t need any help there.

Now a museum? Here we go! I’m the type that goes on vacations and seeks museums out. Just like bookstores, the more ramshackle a museum is the more I like it. I don’t want technology intruding. I don’t want mannequins talking to me when I press a button or computer displays bleating about the 18th century. Just leave me alone so I can read through all the yellowed paper and inspect the photos on the walls (I love it when people scribble words on photos. Years later it provides a bit of mystery to it all).

Sadly, I seem to be the only person in the museum. Museum’s need money. Libraries need money. You’d think that even the most craven ideologues could agree on this. You’d be wrong. We live in a country filled with headlines so ridiculous that future generations will no doubt think we were only kidding. Congressmen taking pictures of their willies and posting them on the internet? Perhaps a little odd. Just taking the picture itself is creepy enough. Yet surely we have more important things to consider? At least on the nation’s front pages? No? Ok.

As the great Kurt Cobain once said, “well, whatever, nevermind”.

The way things are going, the only place to find a library will be in a museum….which will be a wing in an antique store.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on June 9, 2011.

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