Quote of the Day:
“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” –Mark Twain
Ever since Man’s eviction from Paradise, he’s been looking over his shoulder and pining for the old days. Things were always better in olden times to most folks, at least they often seem that way. In one way I think the clichéd sentiment is absolutely true. Who wouldn’t long for their youth, the constant in anyone’s trip down memory lane? In other ways, its less true. For instance the 1950’s are commonly seen by many as flush times for America. Victors in war, champions of commerce, with technological innovations and domestic stability; these were the hallmarks of that decade in popular memory. Less recalled, but all too real, are the civil rights restrictions of women and blacks of the era. Most of us wouldn’t trade our daughter’s right to sit on a jury or our friend’s right to vote in exchange for a Leave it to Beaver neighborhood.
Like a lot of my essays, this one was inspired by a convergence of stimuli upon TB’s roving noggin. I’ve been revisiting the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and reveling in the (surface) simplicity and innocence of a nineteenth century child’s life on the Mississippi. With Saints fever peaking I went you-tubing for old footage of the Chuck Muncie–Hokie Gajan–Guido Merkens era teams. Finally, and I know this is heresy to some of you, I picked up a throwback Pepsi yesterday. They are running a radical promotion using, of all things, sugar to sweeten the soda. It is dang good too. The point is, I started ruminatin’ on the relative virtues of the good ‘ol days vs the times we live in now. Here’s what I determined.
- Old school sugar made soda vs new school corn syrup–Advantage old school–no contest
- Kids today, with the Wii, year-round baseball and the internet vs Kids back in the day, with forts, sports and bikes–too close to call
- Saints 1980 vs Saints 2009-10–The modern-day version–no contest
- However NFL 1980 vs NFL 2009-10–Old school without a doubt
- On television it’s also a mixed result: Young Letterman vs Old Letterman, give me the old school version over the old. I’ll take Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert over Johnny Carson. Give me Entourage over MASH, though if Henry and Trapper had stuck around the entire time I might have a tougher time with this one. I’ll take Hogan’s Heroes over The Office, Battle of the Network Stars over The Bachelor and Richard Dawson’s Family Feud over Deal or No Deal. And definitely Walter Cronkite over Anderson Cooper. All that said, 150 channels beats the hell out of three to thirteen, even when nothing’s on, so the point goes to the present.
- Non-steroidal baseball beats monster mash baseball, another point for the good ol’ days.
- But don’t count out the here and now, because Iphones crush the rotary dial.
- War on Terror vs Vietnam, Katrina vs Camille, Great Recession vs gas lines and inflation, Watergate vs the Broken Branch–call it a wash.
I don’t know. TB’s good ol’ days were good. I think its true though, that overall things aren’t so bad nowadays. In fact, for my daughter and her generation, these are the good ‘ol days. I just keep coming back to that constant I mentioned at the top though. It’s the ultimate tiebreaker. We were soldiers once (and pirates, professional athletes, explorers, Duke boys) and young. So if I have to take sides, I’m going with the good ol’ days over the here and now. But when you break it down, it’s a closer contest than you might expect.