I don't watch much television, but my colleague The Moose informed me this morning that he had viewed an advertisement for a retirement plan that featured "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" as its soundtrack. I made some lame response about Iron Butterfly rebranding itself as Iron Lung Butterfly, but not two hours later, as I picked over the offerings at the Super Buffet near my office, I realized I was listening to what must have been a Sarasota Strings muzak version of "Strawberry Fields Forever." I dropped a couple of decidedly non-hallunicogenic mushrooms on my plate and felt very old.
It's been inevitable for a while, I guess, that the Youth Culture of the baby boom generation would ripen, mellow, and then rot, despite the atypical abilities of a few Mick Jaggers to sell their Sympathy for the Devil for eternal muscle tone and dancing feet. A couple of weeks ago I was at a social event in Florida at a "blues bar," surrounded by twenty-somethings mocking the forty- and fifty-somethings who were doing the White Man Shuffle on the dance floor. "It's hard to shake that booty when the booty's gone," I observed, more in sorrow and sympathy than derision, keeping my own booty out of sight on a bar stool.
But far worse than that scene is the prospect of hearing the rebellious and hormone-driven songs of one's youth reformatted for the different rigors of old age. Will hip-replacement ads for women soon feature a soothing version of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady"? Is it a matter of time until Senior Mall Walks are spurred on by Easy Listening takes on the MC5's "Kick Out the Jams"?
I dunno. I try to stay semi-hip, with songs on my Ipod dating all the way up until the late 90s.
But when a young friend recently reminded me that I was listening to music recorded before she was born, I could only respond that her generation's remakes didn't sound any better than the originals.
I remain haunted by the prospect of being wheeled into Snack Time at the Assisted Living Center to the strains of "Free Bird." I hope I have the energy to raise a fist in protest. --