I stopped by the grocery store in the way to campus this morning to pick up a birthday card for a colleague and what song did I hear coming from the speakers but the theme song from The Poseidon Adventure. When I'm still feeling my way around on a dark, dank, dreary morning, the last thing I want to hear is Maureen McGovern wailing about the morning after. What a pill.
"1972," I told the cashier. She looked puzzled. I'm sure she's an expert at blocking out the music that loops endlessly through the system at the store, and besides, she's far too young to have had her youthful psyche permanently warped by repeated viewings of The Poseidon Adventure. If Shelley Winters stood before her in a dripping swimsuit and said "In the water I'm a very skinny lady," she would probably faint dead away. (Which would be appropriate, since Shelley Winters has been dead since 2006.)
Which reminds me of my creative nonfiction students, who will discuss in today's class an excerpt from The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe, whose name no one in the class confessed to recognizing when I mentioned it last week, and when I followed up by asking if they'd heard of Chuck Yeager, they all said no even though THERE'S AN AIRPORT NAMED IN HIS HONOR JUST DOWN THE INTERSTATE. For today's writing students, The New Journalism has become old hat.
1979. That's when The Right Stuff was published. Back in my youth when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
After this kind of morning, my only hope is that there's got to be a morning after.