Did you ever get the feeling that you were born in the wrong era?  Maybe it's an affinity for the styles, the music, the social attitudes and expectations.  Or maybe it's just a general feeling of not fitting in to where you are.

For me, I've always felt I was born a couple of generations too late.  I should have been hitting my stride right after The War....you know, the big one, WWII....or maybe a decade later, to have been hitting the sock-hops and parking at Inspiration Point with my best girl.  That's when I think the stork should have dropped me off. 

I spend a good portion of my tv time on Turner Classic Movies.  Watching the great black & white detective movies, screwball comedies, and epic masterpieces.  My iPod is filled with music from today, but also with a bunch of standards and oldies: Sinatra, Big Band, Coltrane and his fellow jazz hounds.  Progressing to the foundations of rock & roll with Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, and Doo-Wop.  Music that to me is timeless because it set the standard for all modern music that was to follow it. 

These were times when art reflected a seemingly simpler time.  When society roles were clearly defined, but conformity was slowly fading away.  A time with innocence on the surface but an underlying unspoken and festering rebellion if you scratch the surface a little.  I picture it like living in a film noir.  Where men carried a certain weight on their shoulders, a result of the daily grind.  Caused perhaps from the street corner grifting and run-ins with the typically shady characters that seemed to paint the landscape, both the perpetually rich and the hopelessly broke.  A time when an implicit and understood caste system was in place.  And a man's life was spent defying his status or resigning to fate.  Either way, there seemed to be no struggle that a few high-balls and the company of a dame with questionable morals couldn't fix.  Every home had a bar with crystal decanters filled with scotch, rye, bourbon and gin.  And every room had a low hanging ceiling of Chesterfield or Pall Mall smoke.  And while men held their dominance, women were beginning to exhibit their own power.  A strength drawn from the awakening of their sexuality and embracing the liberation of showing off their gams above the knee.  There's a certain radiance that comes from women like Veronica Lake and Rita Hayworth, because they're among the first to make being unladylike very womanly.

I've always been drawn to characters and personalities that seem to exemplify these times.  Any character Cary Grant played was someone whose shoes I wanted to walk in for a few days.  One part confidence, one part charm, a dash of ne'er-do-well, and a twist of unapologetic selfish desire.  Or to be an entertainer in those days.  Dressed in a sharp tuxedo, hair slicked back.  Surrounded by broads willing to bend to your every whim for fear of being kissed by the back of your hand.  Being sent drinks by the local mobsters and taken out to eat with the infamous legends of the underworld.  To do that today, you'd be marked as a troubled risk and general douche bag.  But back in the day, you'd be looked on as, well...Sinatra.  Oh, how times have changed.

On the other hand I've felt a direct kinship with the polar opposite characters of someone like Holden Caufield who is in his formative years during this time (give or take a few years), or James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.  The quintessential disenfranchised youth, who sees the hypocrisy, abuse, and false bravado inherent in personalities like those.  Looking upon the selfish and arrogant with a disdain that can only come from a history of neglect and disregard.  And there is still something comforting but exciting about women like Myrna Loy, Grace Kelly, Donna Reed, and Ingrid Bergman.  Powerful women who entice with their brains more than their frames.

Life seemed easier back them, even though it was a culture shaken by a global war, crippling economic struggles, and threats from the advancements of weapons, and mysteries of illness and disease.  I guess a lot hasn't changed.  The good old days might be alive and well...and just as scary and unsure as ever.

Well, at least we have polar ice caps that we can depend on, stable and loyal companies that we'll probably retire with, affordable homes to raise a family in, and a country that provides the basic needs that everyone needs to live, like affordable health care and education.

Maybe yesterday seems so much easier and simpler because today is so fraught with doubt, anxiety, and the potential for incomparable disasters.

Which is great because today I'm unemployed, have hypertension, and live in an apartment with no parking and inflated rent.  And if I've learned anything it's that tomorrow's problems will make today's look silly and insignificant.

You'll excuse me while I go look through my kitchen cabinets for some bourbon...or scotch....or paint thinner.

Here's to tomorrow being better than yesterday.  And good riddance to today.

Blah, Blah, Blahg!
2/11/2010 09:50:15 pm

Take it easy Ozzie, Harriet will be home soon to fix you a cocktail.

2/15/2010 01:44:30 am

Lindsey would mop the floor with your hypertense ass if you ever raised a hand to her. Think about that before you hop in the Delorian headed for 1950, see.


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