A reader recently wrote to tell me that — among other things — I was “old-fashioned.”
It was easy to deduce that she was convinced that I’m a bit lost as regards many things as they are today.
Regarding her contention in this matter, she’ll get no argument from me. She’s right and I’ve known it for a long time.
As early as my college years, I shone in this arena. My roommate back then, Bruce McCroskey, once remarked — following the ingestion of several adult beverages — that I would never be a “now” kind of guy because I was congenitally stuck in “then.”
In the early 1980s, I had to run several field trips to the Florida Keys for a laboratory in North Carolina. This involved taking a number of scientists along with all of their gear on long road trips up and down I-95.
On the first such trip, they quickly formed the opinion that my choice of music was downright awful. That’s because I enjoyed listening to Glen Miller, Della Reese, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, the Andrews Sisters, and a bunch of others. This, before I’d turned 35.
I explained to them that I liked songs having to do with people looking for love, falling in love, getting married, and stuff like that rather than listening to something with doubtful lyrics being played at decibel levels just less than those involved with the launching of a Saturn V booster. I told them to listen to the theme song from the original “Moulin Rouge” movie and they’d understand my point.
It didn’t work and, needless to say, on all future trips, I seldom got to sit anywhere near the radio controls.
It’s the same with movies. I don’t enjoy seeing more of today’s actors and actresses than their doctors do. Nor do I care for movies that give us seemingly unrelenting examples of the various uses of four-letter words. I’ll take something starring Alan Ladd or Maureen O’Hara any old time.
To further explain, “old-fashioned,” for me, has many more meanings.
It’s when I see someone wearing a hat indoors and remember coming home from playing, taking two steps into the house, and hearing my maternal grandmother, Cora Wells, asking if I was feeling a draft or, more likely, had I forgotten my manners?
Short version: “Take off the hat indoors — most especially if you’re at a table.”
It’s men of all ages, without a thought otherwise, readily giving women a seat and opening and holding doors for them.
It’s not calling a new acquaintance by their first name but, rather, using “Mister, Miss, or Mrs.” — a habit hammered into folks my age while we were growing up. It’s also frequently using the terms “Sir” and “Ma’am” when speaking with those same, just-introduced individuals.
It’s about a time when sentences could be constructed without the constant use of the words “like” and “go” — as in, “So, I’m like standing there, waiting for an answer, and she goes ‘whatever.’ “
It’s about not trying to hand out self-esteem like it was candy. It used to be a fairly universally understood rule that self-esteem kind of shows up when you do things that no one — including yourself — thought that you could do. Like the day when the 1973 Tulane football team beat LSU 26-13 for the first time in 25 years. You could’ve harvested a boatload of self-esteem that day. Well-earned it was, too.
It’s about neither needing nor wanting any member of the government at any level dictating what size soda I can drink and remembering a time when we were responsible for ourselves and could figure out stuff like this without the need of a nanny.
It’s about television news organizations understanding that the people who’ve suffered a tragedy have enough on their hands already and don’t need to be bombarded with intrusive questions that are, generally, some inane variation on “How do you feel?”
Finally, it’s about knowing that this nation has been on a downhill slide ever since the adoption of the Designated Hitter Rule.
And pleased by the compliment.
Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to:email@example.com