“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”
Those Old People
John Prine is still alive. He is a song-writer and a very good one, I have several of his albums. He made is mark in the 1970s with a couple of anti-war songs and anti-pollution songs. Good stuff.
One of his songs is called Hello In There and its about old people sitting on the porch and how lonely they are and how sad they are and he encourages you to stop by and look into those ancient eyes and say hello.
If you are super-curious, my favorite version of the song is a cover by Bette Midler on her Live at Last double album from 1976. You might be amused to learn that Barry Manilow was in her orchestra pit back before he made it big.
I found myself doing an old people thing last week. I sat in my apartment for a few hours in silence. The tv was on, audio off. And, to anyone who could possibly see me, which, of course, they couldn’t since I was inside, I’d look like one of those John Prine old people who are sad and burned out and lonely.
But, I was thinking about a story. Maybe one set in World War I and maybe German spies had bought a farm in Mexico near the border and were spying on the naval base in San Diego. Maybe they had a barn with a secret chamber dug underneath with radio equipment, something pretty new at that time. And how could a hero capture them and get the German Code Book.
Details can be hard and I didn’t sit solid for hours, I popped up to learn about fashion at the time. I was curious about where we were at weapons-wise. And I read a very interesting copy of the original Espionage Act in 1915.
Still, mostly I stared at the images on the television in silence. Like one of those old people in a John Prine song. But, come on. That song is a lie. It is not like that at all.
If you were to come over and knock on my head to say hello, I’d tell you all about an era way before we both were born when the balance of the World teetered back and forth and but for the efforts of just a few heroes, it would be a very different place.
Dare to knock on my old bald head and I’ll tell you all about many different eras like the Sun King (who?) or some other time when things were changing in the world and changing fast.
And those early years were really interesting. Old people don’t sit there are replay their lives over and over. Wotta crock! He’s a good song-writer but, back then at least, terribly naïve.