In defense of one’s time


After all, it’s your time, your narrative and your unrealized dreams.

You and I must take ownership of this. And not hesitate to come to its defense.

Whether it’s hard rock or soft rock (Seger finally went digital), hardback or paperback, boom box or boomers, software or soft drinks.

We had no other choice (from my vantage point, we used to laugh at silent movies, showing people  holding up the ear-piece when answering the telephone – Charlie Chaplin style).

Yesterday’s  music has become today’s Muzak (the Beatles in symphony heard in doctor’s waiting room).

Hard Rock is now a Cafe and Casino.

Harley can seat two comfortably.

And the U2 will give a concert on Yahoo celebrating Clinton’s 65th birthday (Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow).

Inaugural Balls from Carter to Clinton  had a spike in between thanks to the show-biz excess during the 80’s ( astrological charts were consulted before there was Windows Calendar).

I graduated when the country swung to the far Right (remember the AID’s scare, so “girls just wanna have fun”)

with nuclear annihilation a real possibility. The trickle-down economy did not trickle down to me. Instead, it drove inflation all the way to this day.

A lot of senseless shootings (JL and Brady). A lot of tele-evangelists got rich quick and went down quick (could have been quicker in the age of Twitter and Wikileaks).

My Dad came over in the mid 80’s, and lived the rest of his life in the NorthEast.

Toward the end, he got tears in his eyes when I suggested that he accompany me on a trip back home. “Too old, too weak,” he said.

No more in defense of his time. Just a slow surrender to institutional inertia (nursing home), gravity and fate.

Somewhere in this decade, we will see  a surge in Baby Boomers‘ revival, not so much in Burning Man’s style, but in giving, cruising or traveling (Clinton vs Clinton).

They all read up on CEO Ray Anderson, champion of sustainability in business, who had just died. They all knew “the good died young”. So they party on

and stop thinking about tomorrow.

Flowers children turned flower (senior) citizens (The Playboy Club, Pan Am).

Every face in the NYT obituary is now recognizable while every face in the presidential debate unrecognizable (even the familiar Lehrer has now retired). Names of  far-away war (Kabul) now replace forgotten ones (Hue). I spent a night in the basement of Henry C Lodge’s house. And that was  a highlight (according to Jackie’s oral archive, Kennedy appointed his Republican opponent to take charge of a conceivably unwinnable war.)

It’s time to tell the story in defense of our time.  Transitioning from performing to directing, the mother of self-reinvention, Madonna, took up her place behind the camera to follow in the footsteps of  Clint Eastwood  and  Jodie Foster).

We will need a host of Oliver Stone, not Oliver North to reframe our narrative.

Story of a lifetime, of our time, of living in a place where there are so much, yet still much to be done (poverty rates on the rise here in the heartland). We can limit the tweet, but then they retweet. Facing engineered scarcity, society ends up wanting more (bandwith) to tweet and shout (even in conflict, the two sides in Kabul now use Twitter the way the red phone once was in the White House).

It’s not 9/12 that we are facing. It’s 2012, the year of fear.

It’s almost like the Mayan scare, that our best time had already been behind us. If anything, it puts pressure on us and forces us to be mindful (that other great civilizations had already succumbed to ruin). They said when you jump, it gets faster as you drop nearer to the ground. We who are older are cast as wise men, whether we like it or not. It’s been a set pattern, hand-me-down from time eternal. Wise because of forced choices ( and of short time that remains).

I wish I had the vantage point of  a supernova, to see our short span here on Earth. Our time in the context of sweeping light years would count for much less (each life would have an equivalence of a mere short tweet).  But, then, each life is ” a wonderful life”, for at one point or another, we have given and received, intersected and influenced others’, blessed and cursed, but always forward. This makes story telling in our time all the more urgent. Yesterday we laughed at silent movies (Chaplin), today, even DVD format seems obsolete (HD?). The audience now demands to see the story in 3-D and to talk on the phone hands-free. Nothing is wrong with Progress, except for its planned obsolescence. Certainly its clock doesn’t seem to be in sync with ours.  As someone aptly puts it ” the more things stay the same, the more they will have to change.”

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