Monday, February 27, 2012

You know you're getting old when...

... you enjoy the music played at Wallgreen's.

This means that you are officially part of the "drugstore demographic" and management wants you to be in a good mood and eager to buy stuff - specifically things that the pharmacy sells.

Gone are the days when the "drugstore demographic" is listening to Al Jolsen on the Victrola, Tommy Dorsey or the Andrews sisters on 78s, or even Elvis or the Beatles on 45s.  We have even progressed beyond Pink Floyd on LP.  No, sir, we're long past that in the world of the pharmacy.  In fact, 70s and 80s music is increasingly de rigueur on the apothecary airwaves (now piped in via satellite radio).

The playlist for FH's evening excursion tonight was a couple of old, memory evoking faves, reproduced here :

1) Arlo Guthrie's "City of New Orleans" (1972)


2) Van Halen's "Love Walks In" (1986)

Quite different tunes, but I like 'em both.

"City of New Orleans" is one of those American folk tunes that is impossible not to sing or hum when the refrain debuts in your head.  As I made my way to the cash, a middle-aged Gretna police officer was singing along softly.  I walked past him whistling the chorus.  The tune makes me think of our family's trips in recent years between New Orleans and Chicago by the Amtrak line of the same iconic name (and between Chicago and Milwaukee via the Hiawatha): the various sights and sites mentioned in the lyrics, the feeling of being rocked to sleep, the little passing slice of Americana that one inevitably encounters in such an epic rail trip in a cozy sleeper car with wife and young son:

Mothers with their babes asleep,
Are rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.

"Love Walks In" is more personal to me - being a tune that reminds me of playing it on cassette (these were crude plastic shells that contained - it's almost embarrassing - a cellophane tape rolled manually around two spools with music encoded - it sounds ridiculous these days - magnetically onto the tape.  I played the album (Van Halen's 5150) cranked up as loud as it would go in the stereo unit mounted in the fairing of my Suzuki GS850L motorcycle - which I rode everywhere from work, to church, to picnics and parks with friends, to solitary camping trips in the mountains - at the ripe old age of 22, five years before meeting my future wife.

Contact is all that it takes
To change your life, to lose your place in time

Such glorious memories - thanks to Wallgreen's and their blasted marketing strategy to lull me into being a good consumer according to my own mortality!

However, I can be encouraged that I was not there to buy pain killers or stool softeners or supplements for the prostate or denture cream.  I am not quite surfing that demographic wave, at least not yet.  Instead, (and this may be one of those sentences never before written or spoken in the English language) I was buying a gallon of milk, a cat bed, and a package of Fig Newtons.

Yes, I was Jonesing for Fig Newtons.

Does that mean something?  Am I just this side of having to stock up on Doan's Pills, hot water bottles, enemas, and Grecian Formula?  How far does one have to connect the dots to get from Arlo Guthrie, Sammy Hagar, and Fig Newtons before this becomes a "Remember, O man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" thing?  Then again, I have just been reminiscing about the cassette tape and the days before cellphones, PCs, downloadable music, and my motorcycle that was made 30 years ago (which would today qualify for antique plates).

Well, I guess I'll know for sure that it's all downhill when Wallgreen's starts playing 1990s grunge.  And I can only hope and pray not be fated to picking out a new walker while Britney Spears sings "Oops, I Did it Again" - a fate worse than death.

Meanwhile, for the time being, I'll gladly take Guthrie and Hagar, Amtrak and Suzuki and Nabisco and reflect between Fig Newtons:

Another world, some other time
You lay your sanity on the line
Familiar faces, familiar sights
Reach back, remember with all your might

Good night, America, how are you?
Say, don't you know me I'm your native son,
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.


Mike Green said...

Drink a gallon of milk and eat a pack of Fig Newtons. You'll never need a stool softener or an enema.

Okiebud said...

Never took my bike to the mountains for my solitary camping trips. I demanded the luxury of a Goodwill mattress in the back of a Chevy LUV pickup with an aluminum shell. I REALLY feel a connection with you, now, Pastor.

The Rev. BT Ball said...

Did they play The Cure too? Did you have an '80's Robert Smith phase Fr. Hollywood?

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Mike: Moderation in all things! :-)

Dear Okie: I made an epic journey from Ohio to Oklahoma with my dad on a Suzuki 250. It was cool beyond measure!

Dear Ben: I have yet to hear "The Cure" at Wallgreen's. But one would hardly imagine a better name for Pharmacy Rock. Let us hope nobody ever starts baby-boomer supergroup called "The Viagras."

rogue evolent said...

One of the best Lenten devotions I've read in quite a while Fr. H!

James said...

I grew up listening to classic rock. My only complaint about that genre is that radio stations, gas stations, grocery stores, etc. play the same four songs by a single artist ad nauseum. The lack of variety makes the music sound dated and stale. For example, how many times do we need to hear "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones. The Stones have been around for decades, and they have a lot of additional good material that is unknown to most people.

After two decades of listening to classic rock, I have burned out from it. I have moved on to jazz and to lounge music. The old is the new new. I am glad I am not alone in my musical tastes. By the way, I am too young to be a baby boomer. Retro is cool.