Monday, April 25, 2005
Whenever I see a sign that says something like, “Doing Business For Twenty-five Years,” I think, “Wow, they’ve been in business since before I was born.” Doing the math, most of you know that since I was not born in 1980, that in fact I was born several more than twenty-five years ago, nineteen to be exact, that they have actually been doing business since I was nineteen. I think I’ve just figured out the key to this sort of thinking. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that someone would start a sentence with “Twenty-five years ago,” and I would think, “Wow, that was before I was born,” and it would be true. 1980 seems like a while ago, to be sure, but not twenty-five years, and the truth is, it seems hard to believe I could have been doing anything for twenty-five or more years. Plus, I’m personally more inclined to start sentences with, “When I was nineteen,” or, “When I was in my twenties,” than I am with, “Twenty-five years ago,” or even, “Back in the (fill-in-the-decade),” and as such, I am not directly forced into thinking about how many years ago any given decade was. Not to get too far off track, but when I was in seventh grade (see: when I was thirteen), I was listening to a lot of “oldies,” which at the time were the greatest hits of the fifties and early sixties. Since this was around 1974, doing this math you will understand that these so-called “oldies” were only fifteen or so years old, but I posit that because they were made before I was born, that it was indeed a long time ago. Last night I heard a John Cougar Mellencamp song (John Cougar? John Mellencamp?) which, it was implied, was an “oldie,” but because that song does not remind me of either my early childhood or a time before I was born, it’s hard for me to think of it that way. (It doesn’t remind me of anything particularly good, it just doesn’t remind me of a time that is sort of vaguely not-today but definitely not way-back-when.) (Plus, and I think this complicates the matter some, although music styles do change decade to decade, songs from the fifties and early sixties have a considerably different sound than any music that came after, and thereby inherently do not sound like “oldies” to me. Nobody would ever play “God Save The Queen” on one of those oldies stations, am I right?) Bringing this back to my original point, I will now propose that something is only a long time ago if it took place “before I was born.” Me, Elizabeth Crane. Unless you are one of my ex-boyfriends. Then it really was a long time ago. ‘Kay?