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Tuesday, July 01, 2008


In Defense of my Childhood

My wife and I had dinner tonight with a long-time friend of ours. I try to avoid saying "old friend", because that can lead to hurt feelings.

Anyway, said friend had her two-month-old with her. Great baby. Truly. He's got absolutely wonderful cheeks and a very intense-looking stare. And so very well-behaved. Good kid.

Our friend's husband was not able to be there, as he was with his family across the river, making sure their nineteen-month-old got to bed at the proper time. (This parenting thing sounds like it requires a level of precision that I'm not certain I'll be able to muster.)

The child who was unable to make it to dinner is named Waylon and my wife, our friend and I took a little time to discuss the name. The obvious pop-culture connection here is with the late Waylon Jennings, the country musician who recorded the Outlaws albums with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristoferson and narrated/sang the theme song for The Dukes of Hazzard.

I took things a step further and invoked Waylon Flowers and Madame, to utterly blank stares. "Y'know! Waylon Flowers and Madame? Gay guy and his flamboyant puppet? 70's game show panels? Hollywood Squares?" Nothing.

Revisiting the conversation later, my wife accused me of having absolutely wasted my childhood in front of the TV. Hey! I played outside. I played the fuck out of the outside. In the woods, at the lake, on the railroad tracks. I did not ignore the great outdoors.

But childhood's a long, long project. I had plenty of time to sit on the sofa, soaking in those glorious televised moments that stay with me to this day.

And isn't the world a richer place for me, now that I can reference Waylon Flowers? (Actually "Wayland"; I fucked that up a bit.) Is not my contribution to the planet made that much better because I know that Bert Convy played a jewel thief on The Love Boat? Would I be as deserving of love if I couldn't name every spin-off that Happy Days ever produced? I say thee nay.

I come not to bury 70's junk-culture television, but to praise it.

And if you makes you feel any better, I just mentioned to my husband a couple of nights ago that Judi Dench was looking more and more like Madame. (We were watching the movie Chocolat.) And MathMan said "I was just thinking the same thing!"

Not that I would line up with you against your pregnant wife or anything. I'm not that stupid.
Me and my BJ and The Bear lunchbox, and After M*A*S*H frisbee agree with you.
After seeing the picture I STILL don't recognize them. Sorry.
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