Here we are, the last week of July, and I love it (Cue Peer Gynt Suite here).
I’m thinking mornings here are not unlike the beginning of the play Our Town where the stage manager comes out and starts describing where things are in town and who the residents are and what they do. Not that there are comparable people from the play here necessarily, but it evokes the sensibilities of small-town life and how people cope and change with the times. Old folks pass away and babies are born, a business will close and a business will open, and all the while we continue on and take things in stride.
On the other hand, things are really, really, getting complicated.
What Heraclitus said around 500 BC still goes, that the only thing that’s constant is change. I’ll be the first to say that change isn’t necessarily bad, but so far this year we’re getting a triple whammy. For all I know, the voodoo queen of New Orleans is giving us all the evil eye. I think I saw that in a movie one time.
It seems like all too often I find myself lapsing in doom-scrolling. You know, the urge to read every single disturbing or scary thing on the internet, or looking to see who’s being nasty to whom on Facebook.
All that makes me want to offer the WWII Nat King Cole song I heard once where he sings...“straighten up and fly right… cool down papa, don't you blow your top.”
I don’t mean to wax nostalgic, but something tells me nostalgia is not a bad thing. I mean, it can take you briefly away from disconcerting stuff. While the Buddhist might say, “be here now,” I’d like to “be somewhere else now.”
I’m pretty sure every generation gets nostalgic at one time or another, be it the nineties, the seventies, or what have you. Yep, I get nostalgic over all those decades, too, but mainly for those times before our dependence on the digital age. Before hashtags and those kinds of things. Back when you didn’t have to log-in and log-out everything.
When we could write more than a paragraph with a pen before our wrists began to ache. When we could add numbers in our heads faster because we had to do it more often, and we knew our “times” tables better. When we relied more on knowing how to spell words rather than using a machine to create our sentences.
Speaking of writing, letters were hand-written on paper and could be saved, and re-read without having to turn something on and remember a password.
We played and worked outside more, rather than on a device. We were healthier for that, too. Excuse me for getting carried away, but that’s nostalgia for you. And, frankly, it piles up with age. I was thinking of the elderly gentleman in a Tom T. Hall song whose wife had passed and his friends were gone: “Ain't but three things in this world that's worth a solitary dime, but old dogs and children and watermelon wine."
Of course, at my house, it would be the prickly pear wine that my wife makes. But I have digressed.
All our digital advancements can be hard to keep up with, but if you think about it, based on the brisk business of all the Apples, Android, Chromebooks and wall-sized flat-screen TVs, I’d say we love progress.
But on the other hand, along with the good tech stuff comes not-so-good tech stuff. Say, for instance, if you wanted to bamboozle someone out of their life savings or at least a good chunk of their money. Apparently, all you’d have to do is call someone out of the blue and tell them you are the IRS and the IRS is filing a lawsuit against you. But these days you don’t even have to make the call yourself, just set up a robocalling system and have them call you back so you can wheedle out of them their name and social security number.
One of the new scams sweeping around the country these days are offering things like a "COVID-19 kit," "Coronavirus package," or face mask exemption cards. Even Medicare discounts related to the virus, but only if you tell them your Social Security number.
Regrettably, this is an example of one thing that hasn’t changed over time; that some individuals will go to incredible lengths to take something that isn’t theirs. And that goes for something as small as that Milky Way bar Mr. Owens caught me sneaking into my jacket when I was eight. He marched me straight from his store to our house around the corner where I sobbed out my confession to my mom.
I didn’t want to sit down for a while after that and my life as a seasoned criminal ended right then and there.
As I said, that’s nostalgia for you.