Thursday, February 24, 2011

Generation Gap

My parents were about ten years older than most of the parents of my friends in high school. They were children during the Great Depression. My father's family was very, very poor but my mother's family made it through fairly unscathed. Still, it made its mark. While some of my friends had parents who had things like liquor cabinets and who wore clothes that looked at least vaguely fashionable, my parents never went out, wore pretty much the same clothes for our entire childhoods, and used words like "suntans" for chino pants and "bushkins" for a certain type of shoe. I've have never heard anyone else call a shoe a bushkin but my mother seemed surprised when we all looked at her and said, "huh?". She saved buttons and could make a meal from next to nothing. Not a very good meal, mind you, but our stomachs were full and that was what mattered.

Given these circumstances, if there was one sure way to instantly reduce something from extremely cool to extremely uncool, it was for my mother to express her approval of it. At some point during the mid-1980s - the apex of my attempts to be cool - I remember bringing home my current boyfriend, who was about as cool as it got in suburban, northeastern Massachusetts, or at least I thought so. We were talking about music, natch. My mother was listening in and said, "Oh, I like the reggaes" and I think she even did a little dance as if imagining the reggae beat.

I don't think either of us ever really listened to reggae music the same way after that.

What brought this all to mind was that yesterday, Finnian asked me a question about some song by Lady Gaga. I was actually somewhat able to answer his question, which surprised all of us. In explanation, I confessed that sometime earlier "I looked up this Lady Gaga person. I googled her on youtube." Well, this sent Finn and Lucy into gales of laughter. Googled on youtube? Ah hahahahahaahahha! This Lady Gaga person? ah hahahahahahha!

Even as the words were coming out of my mouth, I was having an instant flashback to "the reggaes".

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