A thousand years ago when the Cold War flourished and teens like myself watched MTV to see the latest videos Frankie Goes To Hollywood put out a video for Two Tribes that caught our attention.
Eighteen wasn’t terribly far away and some of us wondered if one day we’d sign up for Selective Service and be asked to do as some of our fathers and grandfathers had done.
We all agreed there wasn’t a question about whether we’d fight the Commies because we knew our way of life was better and there’s wasn’t.
Thirty-three years later I am sad to say the current political rhetoric reminds me a bit of those junior high and high school days before the wall fell.
Except the feeling I remember is very different as a 48 year-old father than a teenager who still could imagine playing for the Dodgers.
The More Things Change, The More They Don’t
The first time I caught Lee Dumbass reading her diary I told him he was shlattered and said it was classless.
“Dude, you’re such a wuss. What are you going to do, hit me.”
I laughed and told him not to test me.
“Besides, I only hit men. You’d be slapped with a open palm.”
His eyes flamed and I knew he was offended but I didn’t care.
A meathead like that was certain to get himself into trouble and sooner or later someone would give him the attention he deserved.
South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2017
I am not a fan of diplomacy via Twitter. It is far too easy to be misunderstood, especially when you are dealing with leadership that won’t buy into Mutually Assured Destruction.
This isn’t Kennedy/Reagan dealing with Khrushchev, Brezhnev or Gorbachev.
And though I am quite hawkish by nature I wonder and worry about the ability of the current administration to deal with foreign affairs.
Mattis seems competent and clearly has an understanding of military options and endeavors that far exceeds mine but our president is a different animal.
Is he smarter than a matza ball?
Does he have an attention span that is greater than a gnat?
Respect for the office of the presidency ought to require my not saying those things but the office out to require better and more qualified men/women to serve so we’ll call it a wash.
And to be clear, I am rooting for our president to exceed my low expectations by a magnitude of a 100. Maybe that is what happens when we are Living in A Lollipop Land of Lying Liars, Dopes & Dummies.
Every Breath You Take– The Police
Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)– The Hollies
Spirit In The Sky– Norman Greenbaum
The Sounds Of Silence– Simon & Garfunkel
Through The Morning Through The Night– Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Over the Hills and Far Away – 1975 Earl’s Court- Led Zeppelin
I sometimes wonder what happened to one of my old neighbors.
J was 76 and lived in the house next to ours. Our kids loved her because they had full run of her strawberry garden.
We loved her because she was fun and she drove a little red Corvette.
J and her now deceased husband were the original owner of their house and among the first to live in the development.
“Josh, you don’t need to worry about life because you are a Taurus and they don’t come anymore grounded than you guys.”
I thanked her for the compliment and told her I wasn’t sure I was as grounded as she thought I was.
“You’re exactly the kind of person to deal with tough situations. A Taurus doesn’t know how to give up during tough times and you won’t panic. I see who you are.”
I thanked her again and told her I wasn’t so sure.
“I have been out of of work for a while. That grinds upon me, makes me wonder.”
“Josh, you are not old enough to see how much time you really have left. Things will get better, watch and see.”
I nodded my head and J told me about the plumber that slept with three of the neighbors and about all of the other neighborhood shenanigans of the sixties and seventies.
“Young people forget we were all young too and we had lives that were filled with all sorts of activities, some good, some bad and some you can’t label. You are going to be alright.”
It is six years since we sold the house and 16 since we moved in. I am sorry to say I haven’t heard from J for about three years and don’t know if she is still around or not.
Sometimes social media magnifies moments in ways that aren’t always useful or significant.
And sometimes it intensifies those same moments and if you aren’t careful you lose sight of how much importance to place upon things.
During these volatile times I make a point to remind myself of these things and to take a deep breath because some things aren’t quite as bad or horrific as they might seem.
In a few days the family will assemble to celebrate my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah and I’ll watch my parents talk about how fast time has gone.
Someone will mention how last week they became grandparents and this week we’ll dance at the fifth of these life cycle moments.
Depending on how things go this might be the last time I see my oldest nephew before he goes off to college next Fall and I’ll wonder how time moved that fast.
I’ll grab him and remind him that if he ever encounters a situation that requires some help he has a friendly uncle who will do what he can to help him navigate it.
And s0mewhere intermixed with it all I’ll think about how many friends have turned, are turning or will be turning 50 soon.
It used to sound so damn old and now it sounds…different.
Not old but certainly not young either.
And given certain things I see, hear and have experienced it is clear that the more things change, the more they don’t.
And if you open your heart to it you will find that the person you never knew you needed hasn’t disappeared or gone away.