Tuesday, September 18, 2007



My roommate and I were watching I Love 1972 on VH1 last week, and started to notice that a lot of the people providing commentary seemed a bit young to be waxing nostalgic about the year 1972. For instance, Michael Ian Black. He was born in August of 1971, which would make him just barely a year old by the end of 1972. In my mind, this means he probably does not possess any actual memories of 1972 pop culture. My earliest memory seems to be around age 3 or 4.

I was born in September of 1979. What do I recall about the pop culture of 1981? Not a damn thing. I was too busy attempting to master the art of not shitting in my pants to realize that MTV was being launched, or mourn Bob Marley's passing. I just wanted to use the big boy potty and get out of those diapers. Can I now reminisce about Thriller? Sure, but I can promise you that I don't recall actually hearing it before around 1986, a few years after it entered the charts. Man, I hated hearing that song...not because it's a bad song (it's not, I love that song now,) but because I saw the video at age six and the wolf howling at the beginning scared me. Yes, I was frightened by dancing zombies. Back then, I found Michael Jackson creepy for entirely different reasons than I do today...or maybe I was just an extraordinary judge of character at age 6.

All of this got me to thinking: when do most children really begin to retain memories? Do they fade with time? Will my earliest memory of eating chocolate ice cream at Hite's Dairy Bar fade into obscurity as I age? I decided to do a little research on the matter (read: I am making up everything after this point. I didn't do research in college, and I damn well won't start now.) Here's what I found out (made up):

Childhood Memory Retention (CMR) depends heavily on a number of factors, not the least of which is the exposure of said child to clowns. It is a scientifically proven fact (something that I just now made up) that the more exposure a child has to clowns, the earlier that child will start retaining memories. Also, before I go further, when I say "retaining memories," I don't mean language or motor skills, I remember things like your first kiss, or more importantly, your first taste of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Which brings me to an interesting story (I got tired of making things up and decided to switch subjects):

Brian, my boss at the Village Idiot, has started carrying PBR...kind of. He orders it, and there is PBR in our beer cooler, but I and I alone wield the power of who gets to drink it. It's not actually for sale to the general public. Unless I give someone the okay, no one but me drinks the PBR. So far, I have only allowed Melissa and E-rock (one of my co-workers) to partake in the PBR goodness. It really messes with people when they order a PBR and no one will sell it to them while it's clearly visible in the cooler, and I'm clearly drinking one at the end of the bar...while dancing to Thriller. Did I mention we play that song a lot?

Life is good, except for the whole getting hit by a dump truck thing.

Peeber (the cat, not the beer) update soon, Scout's Honor (I was never a Boy Scout, so take that with a grain of salt.)

JT out.

All the hipsters drink PBR up here, so the whole city is lousy with it. Probably because we brew it here, but that's beside the point.

My first concrete memory was going to see ET sometime in June of 1983. I remember falling asleep and being carried around for the remainder of the night, which makes sense because I was 16 months old at the time. I know you're not supposed to remember things that early, but I seriously do.
I'm old enough to remember "Thriller," and that's probably when everything began to unhinge for 'ol Michael. It went from songs of the streets of Gary (where he was born) and such (like "Billie Jean") to....well, I don't even want to remember it.

And then it got to "Fat" (oops, "Bad"), and "I don't know if I'm black or white", yikes....
Yeah...he went downhill fast.
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