years ago, I was working in a hospital. One of my co-workers was
a good friend, and also a year younger than me.
place isn’t important. Neither are the job duties. Instead it’s
that age difference.
we worked, there was just about always a radio playing. The usual
setting, as you might expect, was kind of a classic oldies station.
Local. Some news. Some weather. And those great songs you grew
up with. Even for the songs you don’t consider favorites, the
lyrics are etched in the stone of your memory.
day, my friend and I were walking into the area, and Herman’s
Hermits was playing, and I called out to one of the ladies we
“Second verse. Same as the first.”
“You know it, Bobby,” Paula responded.
“What the heck are you two talking about?” asked Troy.
“The song,” I answered. “‘Henry the VIII, I Am’ by Herman’s
was at that very moment that I realized a line had been drawn.
There was a generation gap involving those younger than me.
and I tried to explain to Troy that the song was about a widow
that kept marrying guys with the same name. Our efforts didn’t
go well. He used that to head off into a conversation about how
I always ended up dating girls with the same first name. (Which
was, at that time, true. True with a blindingly hysterical run
of stories. True to the degree that I eventually vowed to never
ask out a girl with that name ever again. The stories of my unfortunate
dating experiences, to this day, remain comedy legend.)
tried to bring him back with thoughts about “I’m into Something
Good” and “There’s a Kind of Hush” and more. Didn’t work. Actually
fell apart when another friend of ours, a wonderful lady with
that kryptonite of a name, came around a corner and sent Troy
right back to the first verse of his tangent.
did end up laughing quite a bit that afternoon. The damage though,
had been done.
scary part wasn’t really that a generation gap existed between
me and those younger. No. The scary part was that the line for
the start of that gap had been clearly and distinctly drawn less
than a year after I was born. That part hurt.
like to say there’s more to the story. Something about being young
at heart, even for having an older soul. Something like that,
or at least founded on similar nonsense. But it wouldn’t be true.
it was just my gray hair moment. The immediate realization that
I had climbed a few steps on the ladder, and had some age under
least when it happened, the soundtrack was pretty good.