Thursday, December 13, 2012

Roger Daltrey's Chest vs. Kanye West's Skirt

Every once in a while, something happens to remind you, beyond any reasonable doubt, that you're getting old.  It happened for me rather acutely while watching the 12/12/12 concert for Sandy relief.

Don't get me wrong. It was a phenomenal concert for a great cause, that made me proud to be a New Yorker and thankful for all I have.  But something in particular about it made me feel old.  Like, really old.

It wasn’t when all the cool, brash rockers of my formative years took the stage one-by-one looking wrinkled and worn and hobbled by time.  It wasn’t when I took a moment with each to look them up on Wikipedia, as they worked their way on stage without assistance, to see their actual ages … 67, 68, 69, 70.  And it wasn’t even when my 9-year-old daughter said, as Roger Daltrey’s shirt came unbuttoned, that he looked pretty fit for a grandpa.

Roger Daltrey strips down to Oldies but Goodies.
All those things could have made anyone of my vintage feel a bit old (and out of shape).  But it didn’t.  Seeing all of them hop, and jam, and do windmills on their guitars made me think maybe 70 is the new 40.  Which would make me like a teenager.

No.  Reality crashed the party when Kanye West took the stage and started “playing” music.  And all I heard was noise.  It hit me:  this must be the same noise my grandparents heard when the generation before mine started listening to those crazy English chaps.

I turned to my daughter, sounding like a Jackie Gleason character, and asked, “What is this junk?”  She stared at the television, purposely ignoring me so I didn’t tell her again that she was up past her bedtime.  But I didn’t care about bedtimes anymore.  I was obsessed with the infernal noise.

“Do you listen to this stuff?” I continued.  And she continued to stare.  As each noise-filled song ended, another one would begin.  I kept waiting for a song I enjoyed.  I mean,  he's had four number 1 albums and he's sold 30 million digital downloads, which I think is a lot.  He must play something I'll enjoy. 

Then I thought, maybe it was not him that was the problem.  Maybe it was me.  And that's when I decided to do something about it.

I hit mute.

At that very moment I realized exactly how old I am, or at least how old I am becoming.  Not on the outside, mind you, but on the inside.  On the outside I’m not all that old, relatively speaking.  But on the inside, I am ancient to the core.  And I’m not terribly hip, either -- although that was well established before.

So, what can I do about it?  Well, I have decided to embrace it.  It just seems like the old-person-type thing to do. 

Yes, I admit it: I like The Who better than Kanye West -- and always will.  And yes, I’m going to yell upstairs to my kids to turn that racket down when they play it, and I might even hit the ceiling with a broom.  And yes, when I have the chance, when I see an opening, when the opportunity presents itself, I’m going to hit mute.

If that makes me old, so be it.

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