Friday, June 1, 2007

"When You Are Old..."

First, my apologies for not writing sooner. Pure and simple, there wasn't much worth writing about [Then again, some people believe that to be true about everything in this sector of Blogatopia].Still, the Muse tapped me on the shoulder [while I was in the tub. Does that happen to other bloggers as much as I suspect it does? If every home had a working bathtub, instead of those omnipresent shower units, would there be a flowering of inspired writing? And, if there was, where in the name of God would we put it all?], and, apparently, it's my turn to dance again...

One of the inevitable results of the diversity of modern life is the lack of shared experiences. You know, the kind of event that people used to plan on taking part in. In older times, communities would gather for social events, or worship, or maybe to watch a solar eclipse [or a hanging]. Only the most anti-social souls would skip the gathering, which, I suppose, is why many older people remember big events in their community's history.

Nowadays, though, we follow our own drummers, to the point that those things that may be worthwhile for everyone get drowned out by the cacophony of drumming. But we try. A lot of the shared experiences we have are manufactured events, things like sporting championships, charity concerts, and, frequently, reality TV competitions [Television, oddly enough, both brings us together and tears us apart. The multiverse of channels available to many watchers gives them more than sufficient options to avoid the potential shared moment, in favor of a Hawaii-Five-O rerun. Not that Jack Lord and Company aren't compelling, under the right circumstances...].

This all comes up because of Thursday night's broadcast of the finals of the National Spelling Bee on one of the American television networks. It got me to thinking that, while college athletes at least have the championships of their respective sports to remember, there are almost no shared moments for non-athletes, and nothing at all for High School - or younger students to look forward to [except the Spelling Bee, the kids edition of Jeopardy, or those occasional High School All-Star games that ESPN carries from time to time].

I remember my Eighth-grade trip to Washington, DC vividly, even after a distance of more than 35 years. I'm told a lot of schools still try to make the journey, although, with rising costs and security concerns, the number is probably going down. I wonder if there is some equivalent experience in other countries [International readers, please help me out on this one. That's one thing the "Comments" section is for...]?

By the way, I missed the Spelling Bee. I couldn't help it; Wo Fat was the featured villain on Hawaii Five-O.

-Mike Riley