Wednesday, February 06, 2013

My (last) year of living relevantly

Today is my birthday and I am turning 49 years old.
Oh thanks, but this is kind of frightening. Not because of any fear of mortality, of hurtling off into the all-encompassing void of the unknown. Yawn. No, the significance of beginning my 49th year  means today I am entering the last year of my life when what I do and think matters. I'm not talking about in life out in the world, like interacting with friends and family or being a productive part of society, operating under the philosophy that my actions directly affect others and that I should always try to remain conscious of that fact, and if I can't do good, I should at least do no harm. Who cares about that shit? I'm talking about something important. Specifically, as a white man, this is my last year as part of the most powerful group on earth...
"A18-49" or Adults 18-49 Ratings - this is the advertising demographic advertisers are usually most interested in. It's the important number in terms of how well a prime-time television show is doing. Total viewers (P2+ above) don't really make a difference.
Next year, year 50, I'll just be a part of "Total viewers". I won't make a difference. Meaningless. Pointless. Irrelevant. I'll be invisible in the eyes of those who matter. Cripes, for all intents and purposes, to those in positions of power I might as well be a black woman.
Wishful thinking, white boy.

From that point on, if I buy an iPad or a laser toaster or some kind of phone with 13 sharp, whirling blades (Why would a phone need any sharp, whirling blades? Because The Future!) or whatever gimmick is popular then, I won't be a trendsetter, I'll be an old person with something that's basically wasted on the likes of me. At best I'll be one of those senior citizens who seems a tad more tolerable adorable because I'll be participating in a trend. "Oh look, grandpa is on the internet! Isn't that cute? It's like watching an old bald monkey play with a keyboard as though it knows what it's doing. Hurry up and get off, pops; I need to download a PBR." In other words, if I'm lucky, I'll be held in the same regard as rappin' grannies.
Me, in a year, God willing.
Needless to say, this is a sobering thought. Nobody wants to be relegated to fringe status, but I have no say in the matter. If there's one thing you can say about the inevitable, it's that it's unavoidable. With that in mind, all I can do is look back at my own personal history as a person of influence when it came to setting trends and try to make this year really count...
  • Video games - Yes!
  • Video arcades - YES!!
  • Home video game systems better than any arcade - OH HELL YES!!
  • The British Invasion (U2, Duran Duran, Culture Club, A-Ha, etc) - Eh. Not really. Some good songs, sure. But as a movement? Overrated.
  • Rap music/Hip-Hop culture - I've bought albums by Run DMC, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy over the years, but that's about it. I also bought the Tone Loc album.
  • The Minneapolis Sound (Prince, The Time, Sheila E., Jimmy Jam & Tery Lewis, etc) - Yep, now we're talkin'!
  • Swatch Watches - Nope.
  • Apple Computers - My first computer!
  • Rubik's Cube - Had one, couldn't do it, lost interest.
  • Guys with one earring - Nope.
  • Neon (clothings, bracelets, signs, etc.) - Nope.
  • Spandex - Definitely not.
  • Mullets and Rat tails (long strip of hair in back of neck) - Double definitely not.
  • Ripped jeans - As a mishap, yes; as a fashion statement, no.
  • Big Hair with lots of hairspray - Big fan (when it comes to girls) but not a participant.
  • Lace fingerless gloves (like Madonna wore) - See above.
  • Miami Vice Fashion - Nope.
  • Trivial Pursuit - Yep.
  • Ray-Ban sunglasses - Not a slave to brand loyalty but I do like the Ray-Ban Wayfarers.
  • Sony Walkman - The greatest invention until the iPod.
  • "Members Only" jackets - Nope.
  • New Wave music - A little bit. Some of it. Ok, a lot of it. All right, most of it.
  • Pee Wee Herman - Yep.
  • Grunge music and fashion - I like some Nirvana and Pearl Jam but have never owned a flannel shirt.
  • iPods - The greatest invention since the Sony Walkman.
  • American Idol - Never.
  • Blogging - Duh.
  • Reality TV Shows - Nope.
  • Energy Drinks (Red Bull, Full Throttle, Monster Energy, etc.) - Nope.
  • Cigars - Nope.
  • Ed Hardy fashion - Nope.
  • Tattoos - Nope.
  • Texas hold 'em Poker - Yep.
  • Old dudes with greasy, yellow ponytails - Nope.
  • Text messaging - Yep. Reluctantly.
  • Hipsters with their stupid little fedora hats and shit - Nope.

You're welcome or I'm sorry
Huh. Looks like I've never really had that much of an influence. So all along, even at the height of my decision-deciding power, I had already relegated myself to the margins for the most part. I guess there's nothing to worry about after all. As usual.


Anonymous said...

this was great. i loved it. i shared it. i'm almost as old as you are. but i'm sending it to my brother, who is as old as you are, even slightly older, and he will get a kick out of it. or he will kick me. either way, there's gonna be some kicking going on. just you wait. maybe i should. too late. already sent. no matter. :)

Ruprecht said...

Oh! My! Gordness!

Do you have any idea how inspirational this post came across?!?

At "Next year, year 50, I'll just be a part of 'Total viewers'. I won't make a difference" I could here the distant baritones of men beginning to sing The Battle Hymn Of The Republic, the music swelling ever upward as the sentences progressed!

I felt my chest begin to expand, my lips purse, determination in my reading of the post became focused and concentrated. As certain words were read, I surprised myself by beginning to state, then state more profoundly, then outright shout at each item:

Swatch Watches: "No."
Spandex: "No!"
Miami Vice Fashion: "Hell, no!
Trivial Pursuit: "Absolutely!"
Pee Wee Herman: "YEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS ... !!!"

Good, googily moogily ... I'm inspired! Past the point of 49 years of age ... but nevertheless inspired!

Thank you, Clark! My day is that much better!

"I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel; As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal; Let the hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel ... His truth is marching on ..."

Dunkin' Violets said...

You sound resigned, yet you are relevant. I don't know you but I think you have disappointed me.

You still have time to weigh in on
Harley Davidsons?
American Pickers?
Velcro wallets?
Strip joints?
Porn sites?
Chat rooms?
Axe-type body sprays?
Jump drives?
Coffee houses?
Chick flicks?

.......will post later when I think of more.

Thanks, Rupe, for sharing Clark's blog.

ps. Rupe: "here" ? really? you must have gotten a case of the vapors.