Way Back When In The Here And Now

Try as I might to pretend life is still as good as it was in the 60’s and ’70’s,
it simply isn’t, and won’t be. The comparable simplicity of that time, the
almost naive sincerity of that time faded into oblivion somewhere in the
mid-’80’s. Funny that it took me twenty years to notice it and another ten
to bitch about it. But bitch about it I will.

Of course world communication has changed 180 degrees in that time.
Technology now rules, and would-be clerks, receptionists, even CPAs and
teachers now live in campers and tents in our large cities, and are called
homeless, which, in fact, they are. The computer, the cell phone and the
digital age in general have totally changed how we live every day. Hell,
I check the weather and the scores on my phone all the time, and send and
receive texts nearly every day. And, much to my amusement, use my phone for
every other function it offers WAY more than its ability to be an actual “phone.”

I still watch old TV shows from time to time, and have to chuckle at all
the land lines, rotary-dial phones, the huge monitors on the first computers
and how many more of us smoked back then. Think how much more crazy
shit we might have done back in the ’70’s if we’d had GPS, for instance. Well,
maybe not… we were crazy enough as it was.

I was thinking about all this the other day, and trying to mix and match what
I loved about the ’60’s and ’70’s and what I might have dragged from the
present time back to those times, given the opportunity. So much has changed,
and changed dramatically for the most part. I flew from Boston To Montana
on an American Airlines flight on Dec. 21, back in 1965. I clearly remember
the seat size, the room, the comfort and the great service in coach that was
exactly what first class is now. I felt so cool, enjoying a brandy at 30,000 feet,
having no clue that this pleasant luxury would soon disappear.

And, speaking of which, what is “cool” these days, anyway? Hm. Never thought
I’d get old enough to not be cool any more. It’s a fascinating development,
given the fact that I’ve lived a somewhat interesting and adventurous life and
have thought, from time to time, that I would not live this long. But I did, and
here we are. I now look and dress pretty much like the old duffers I used to
laugh at.

I was young once, really… when i began at the Berklee School of
Jazz back in ’64, the cool thing to say was, “I’m hip,” meaning that I know, I
understand, I agree. In Boston, that was cool. As soon as I left Boston, “I’m
hip” wasn’t cool, so natch I stopped saying it. Now I hear young guys saying
words like “dope” and “I’m down for it.” When, exactly did being “up for it”
become “being down for it??” To me it seems as if our youth will go to
ridiculous extremes to separate their cool selves from the rest of us. I get it,
we did the same things when we were young. I still have an occasional
passing desire to be cool again, but it ain’t gonna happen… and I’ll never
ever say that something good is “dope.” The original meaning is way too
strong in this archaic old mind. And “easy peasy??” Pul-easy… what ever
happened to “quicker than owl shit?”

Anyway, I have figured out how to hold onto the past, with maybe a little
help from the present. It’s restricting, to be sure, but it works…
1. Stay out of large cities
2. Don’t fly anywhere – you feel like the last sardine in a full can
3. Repair your old stuff whenever possible – always better than the new stuff
4. Don’t go anywhere where young people hang, it’s depressing… and you
won’t understand their new slang. I know, I tried. I started every phrase with
“Dude,” or “Wait, what?” but it didn’t work… they just stared at me. And I
didn’t get their “LOL’s” or their “WTF’s…” all BS to me. ( not entirely true…)
5. Don’t update your cell or your computer’s OS every time they tell you to…
Wait until one of your fave apps won’t upload, then grit your teeth and change it
6. Drive an old car or an old truck – you’ll be amazed at how good it feels…
a CD player with ’60’s rock & roll makes it even better. I have a ’59 Chevy
pickup, I drive it to an old dirt road, turn on some Hank Williams, sip on a crotch
beer, and for an hour or so the world is right where I want it to be.










While a little of this “holding on to the past” is okay and fun, it’s not healthy
to overdo it, though I’m tempted from time to time. Sitting in our back yard
in the sun, with a cold beer and The Beatles playing “Here Comes The Sun”
is just right, but that’s about the limit. Following that with a Jameson’s, with
Miles playing Kinda Blue is over the limit, and I end up really missing the past,
killing the buzz of the deep contentment of the previous hour, proving to me
once again that the past, in small doses, works best.

So for now I’ll drive down to Toby’s, a 100 year-old bar here in town. I’ll
belly up, order an Alaskan Amber and ask the barkeep how the Mariners are
doing. Then I’ll whip out my cell phone, check my texts and be eternally
grateful for still being here at all, still able to enjoy being a tiny speck of
continued existence, hovering here between what once was, and what now is.

Steve Hulse

One Reply to “Way Back When In The Here And Now”

  1. My Dear Mr. Hulse: I have perused your comments above several times trying to make sense of them. My first and so far the most popular thought was that “B” had changed your Irish Whiskey brand from Jameson to something extremely cheap and that was what had altered your mind-set. You are correct in that the 60’s and 70’s were a fun time – for some of us. I was hitting the books and becoming a serious student – you were hitting on girls all over Madison County and points beyond. I should note that one very good point about the 60’s is that I, somehow, convinced the beautiful Joani to marry me The 80’s – I was heavy into the books – you were heavy into – well – the opposite sex and a lifestyle that I didn’t even knew existed..
    As to your flight in 1965 where you thought you had so much room – the aircraft are the same size today – possibly it was a part of your body that had expanded that made you feel like the “last sardine in a full can” when you last shoehorned your butt into a seat on a plane.
    Yes – you are correct once again – there were a lot of “cool” sayings and yes they have changed. As usual – a task that befalls me when I read your blogs, is that I feel duty-bound to correct some of your more egregious errors. And so we turn to “quicker than owl shit”. The correct saying is “slicker than owl shit”! The leader of my golf group is always saying – “the greens are slicker than owl shit”. Now I would not just take his word that owl shit was really slick, so I researched the saying. There are many citations – all of them reference someone telling a story about something being “slicker than owl shit”. The interesting point was that all the writers of those stories had never stepped into or put their hands in owl shit – nevertheless – the saying has held. Furthermore – there is NO reference to “quicker than…”. And if that was not enough proof – Ms. Joani, after reading your blog, said “that shouldn’t be ‘quicker’, it should be ‘slicker'”. Hah – that from your stout defender. I love it!
    Now get back on the Jameson and quit screwing around with great memories!

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