About sixty years ago, when Jeff and I were first married, we went to dinner at the home of some friends of my parents' --Art and Sondra. They were older than us. Really old. They were, let's see carry the one divide by...they were about my age now. But they were always fun (still are) and made us nice food and drinks so we loved to see them.
As we got a tour of their grown-up home full of teenaged children we came to one of the daughter's rooms. She had a poster on the wall and Art said, "Oh yeah, that's that singer Michael Johnson." This SLAYED us! It was the early 80s and the poster was of course of Michael Jackson. We made fun of Art and then later laughed about it more. In fact, we laughed about it for years assuming that old people just don't know who pop singers are.
But lately, I am not laughing so hard. Because it turns out, this happens to all of us. After filling our brains with useless things like the names of the Brady Bunch (Greg, Peter, Bobby, Marcia, Jan, and Cindy) you find the names of more recent celebs tend to not fit in there. You will not be able to fit Kylie Minogue and Nikki Minaj and actually know the difference. And forget trying to put Kardashian names in there, you have stuffed that space with Shaun and David Cassidy.
On Saturday I came in the house and said to Lilly, "I was just listening to the funniest interview on NPR with Justin Timberfield." As soon as it was out of my mouth I knew it was wrong. I sort of looked at the malaprop as it slipped to the floor. Then I looked her in the eyes, praying she hadn't caught it but I could tell by the snarky smile forming at her lips I would have no luck sneaking it by. I came clean. "Did I just say Justin Timberfield," heh heh, I laughed nervously. "Aren't I funny?"
A few weeks ago I was on the phone with my mom. She was telling me about my sister's trip to New York City, "Yes, she went to see the spot where George Hamilton was shot." Umm, what? "You know, the Beatle." I whooped at this, "Mom," I said, rolling my eyes as Lilly does to me, "George Hamilton is the tan actor your age, I think you mean George Harrison." Of course it was two hours later when I told the story to Jeff that he had to remind me I meant John Lennon. Oh. Right. Shit. When I told my friend Beth this story she pointed out helpfully that at least I didn't think she meant Alexander Hamilton who was shot by some vice president...was that Dick Cheney?
Then Beth suggested we could have a game show for older people in which you say things like "What is the name of the actor who starred in 'Love at First Bite'" and then one of you would say, "Wasn't that girl from 'McMillan and Wife' in that movie?" and "I think he was on 'Dancing with the Stars'" and another would say "And that movie about spring break where boys are, what's the name of that movie?" and the other old person would say "Where the Boys Are" and the first would say, "Yes, I know that's what it's about but what's the name of the movie?" and so on and so on until the game show host's ears would bleed and no one ever would come up with George Hamilton unless my mother was there and she could say "Wasn't he shot in front of The Dakota?" And the funniest part of all is that ALL of the older people will TOTALLY follow this conversation like a lot of you just did.
So there you go. You can make fun of older people but then one day you're older too and you'll have these silly half conversations and it will be oddly comforting.