Thursday, April 02, 2009

Stealing From Linda Lou

Dammit, she beat me to it.

One of the things I do as a writer/blogger is have a loosely organized file of things I want to write about, just in case I get the urge but don't have a subject. Of course, by 'loosely organized', I'm talking about scraps of paper, post it notes on the mirror, quick snapshots with the camera phone, and random thoughts floating around in the attic. It's not much of a system, but it works for me.

Anyhow, one of the things I was going to write about, the next time some newsworthy event went down, was to put to paper a list of 'Where was I when X happened?' Of course, Linda beat me to it, and she even stole my headline, too!

Great minds think alike, I suppose. But for her, the tipping point of newsworthiness was The Day They Canceled The Guiding Light. Oh dear lord. Ok, maybe great minds don't think exactly alike...

But here it is, my list of where I was when the shiat went down:

1) The earliest memory I have, of anything, was of the Apollo moon landing. Of course, I didn't have any clue at the time, I was just over two years old, but I remember being up late and seeing the black-and-white news coverage, and my parents trying to explain it all to us. Since then, I've seen the grainy footage of Walter Cronkite taking off his glasses, obviously thinking Holy Shit! There's a man on the moon! dozens of times (you *know* he wanted to say that), and it's only cemented the sketchy flashes of memory even further. But anyhow, when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, I was motoring around the living room in footie pajamas and a diaper, kinda sorta watching it on TV.

2) If that wasn't the earliest memory (details are somewhat hazy), I also remember getting lost in the woods in Oregon that same summer the Helter Skelter news story broke. I remember vividly getting found by a construction crew and peeing on the guys lap in the dump truck, but I didn't know until much later that it was the same time as the whole Charles Manson thing. Of course my parents freaked out for awhile until I was found, but Mamasan said later that she was worried that Charles Manson got me.

3) Even though I was alive at the time, I have no recollection at all of the news about Bobby Kennedy or Martin Luther King. But then again, my family comes from a long line of Republicans, so it doesn't register whenever a lefty gets whacked (KIDDING!).

4) The fall of Saigon. That happened on my eighth birthday. It was on the TV. We were living in the woods of Ridgetop Tennessee at the time.

5) The death of John Lennon. I'd like to be able to say I was watching the Monday Night Football game where Howard Cosell made his famous announcement, but I was not. I didn't hear about it until the next morning at the bus stop, as one of the kids in my neighborhood was a musician and a huge Beatles fan, and he told us about it.

6) The assassination attempt on President Reagan. I've written about this at length before. I was in 6th period gym class at Barnwell Jr. High in St. Charles, Missouri when this happened. I broke my leg later that afternoon and the doctors had a tv wheeled into the treatment room and watched the news when they set my leg and put the cast on.

7) The final episode of M*A*S*H. I was in 10th grade at the time, and that day was MASH day--everyone encouraged to dress up and whatnot. But that night, my sister Nancy and I went over to our friend Ken's house with a bunch of other people for a MASH farewell party. Good times!

8) Game Six of the 1985 World Series. I pretty much lost my faith in humanity that day. Not only did the Cardinals get robbed of a World Series title, I had a huge it's-over-forever fight with my gal Stephani (who I was totally in love with, such as it was at 18) that evening, then went to a church dance. Being a guy, and on the rebound, I hooked up with hottie named Nanette, and we found our way to the backseat of my buddy Jim's Mustang in the parking lot of Pantera's Pizza on South Lindbergh. Just as things were getting good and hot, Jim and my other buddy Mark (cockblockers!) snuck up and jumped in the car, catching us in the act, ruining the vibe, and capping off an all-around shiatty day.

9) The Challenger explosion. I was having lunch in a pizza joint in Gainesville Georgia, watching the TV in the corner of the dining room. I saw it happen live.

10) The day the Berlin wall came down. I was on a charter bus from Pocatello Idaho, coming back to Rexburg with my girlfriend Brenda. We'd spent the day at Idaho State University, where they did the collegiate version of wining and dining us, offering me a 2-year full-ride scholarship. They had the radio playing over the sound system, when they cut in for breaking news out of Europe. I remember everyone started cheering when they made the announcement that they'd opened the gates between east and west. We spent the night watching the party/news on TV. Pretty cool.

11) Operation Desert Storm, the first go-round in Iraq. I was in college, but working as a cook at Denny's in Prescott Arizona. Probably the lowest point in my life. Ugh. It wasn't a surprise that the war was coming, so there was a TV set up in back in the managers office that we were all watching whenever we could steal a moment away from the slop-trough.

12) The Branch Davidians get firebombed. I was sitting in the student center at ASU watching the news in one of the lounges.

13) The OJ Simpson chase. I was in Vegas at the time, watching the NBA Finals at the Hilton sports book. They cut away and had the chase on the huge screens--it was surreal.

14) The Oklahoma City bombing. This was a weird one--I was working for a brand-new start-up company at the time in Phoenix, but we had no customers yet, so they we were doing a lot of make-work, waiting for the day they hit the switch. But the news was on the office TVs and all activity ceased. The weird part was a few hours later I went to lunch across the street with some of my co-workers, and we met Alice Cooper.

15) The Columbine massacre. I was working at Schwab, and it was my very first day in a new job on an Active Trader team. Of course, CNBC dropped the market coverage to show the news out of Colorado, and it was a very slow day for me, as nobody was trading very much.

16) September 11th. I had just gotten home to Phoenix from Vegas a few hours before, and was sound asleep in bed that morning. I woke up to the phone ringing and my buddy Derek was telling me to get up and turn on the TV--they'd closed the markets and sent everyone home. Unemployed at the time, I spent three days straight on the couch watching the news.

17) The Columbia space shuttle disaster. I was at Mamasan's house in Nashville, working on the computer, doing resumes and looking for a job. She heard about it first and told me, and we spent the rest of the morning watching the news.

18) Iraq, round II. I was sitting in a training room in Nashville TN, having just started a temporary shiat-job for Suntrust Bank. We had internet access, so I was refreshing all morning, not paying attention to the instructor--I knew I'd be walking out on that job within a week or two.

19) The historic Obama election. I was playing poker at work when the networks called the election results, and I caught some sort of nasty cough that night that took over a month to recover from. I also lost fifty bucks betting on the judgement of the American people. Won't do that again.

20) The day they canceled The Guiding Light. I was lying in bed listening to the Adam Carolla podcast and surfing the web when I heard the news. Clearly it didn't affect me nearly as much as it bothered Linda Lou, but even after all these years, I remember that it was also Stephani's favorite soap opera, too, so the circle is now complete.


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