Lee Pitts: I Can Explain Everything
Any day now I expect to get an e-mail from one of the many editors of the magazines and newspapers who run this column informing me they no longer want my essays because I can’t relate to the millennial generation. To which I say, “Their parents can’t even relate to them and they’ve been living in the same house with them for 26 years, so how do they expect me to?”
They say this because of…
• My continuing reference to things or people that only old geezers like myself have heard of, such as Pall Mall cigarettes, Rexall Drug, soda fountains and the two Andys, Andy Griffith and Andy Williams.
• The fact they are unable to reach me on my cell phone, find me on Facebook or “tweet” to me. Maybe that’s because I’m not on Facebook, I don’t twitter tweets and all the phones in our house have something called “cords.”
• I continue to refer to countries that no longer exist, like Yugoslavia, and sports teams that haven’t been around for decades such as the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Jazz.
• The handful of millenials who do read my column don’t like it when I make fun of their lip jewelry, colorful tattoos or that they are struggling to repay their $200,000 college loan while writing an advice column on their blog while living in their parents’ basement.
• I continue to use words that are no longer used by the general public such as cattywampus, chucklehead, dance hall, varmints, lunch bucket, cooties, gallivanting, persnickety and pipsqueaks.
• I also use too many phrases that the majority of Americans have never heard, such as twiddle your thumbs, hubba hubba, jumping Jehosaphat, and tan your hide. When I refer to “eenie meenie mo” my readers confuse them with some hip hop group from New Jersey.
• Quite often I refer to breeds or diseases of farm animals that haven’t been around since Hector was a pup. Oops, there I go again, using phrases that no one has ever heard before.
• Editors also don’t like it when I refer to appliances that are no longer in use such as my mother’s Mixmaster mixer, Oliver tractors and Oldsmobiles. I also date myself when I refer to the toys I played with as a child like steelies (marbles), blocks and rocks. Hey, we were poor, what can I say? Young readers today simply can’t begin to comprehend that a single orange could be a kid’s total take from Santa Claus.
• I lose people when I mention my cowboy idols like Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Hopalong Cassidy and The Lone Ranger. They aren’t interested in what time the Ed Sullivan Show came on (eight o’clock on Sundays), or that Bonanza came right on after it, but on a different channel. I make myself unbelievable as a writer when I say things that could obviously not be true, such as the fact we only got three channels on our black and white television set and cigarettes made up the bulk of the advertising on TV.
• My continual reference to people like Bob Hope, Douglas McArthur, Mamie Eisenhower, Ed McMahon and Sandy Koufax leave readers scratching their heads. And my Watergate and Woodstock references have readers going to Google to find out who, or what, they were.
• A more urbanized audience knows little about agriculture and I only confuse them when I refer to things like PTO, brucellosis and lactation. They either have never heard of, or have never used, tools such as the hoe, shovel and ball pein hammer.
• Younger readers are miffed at my continued use of proper spelling and complete words when I could get by using a few letters such as “u”, “r” and “LOL.” I suppose they think I should save letters as if they are on the endangered species list. I’m sure there is probably a group somewhere trying to save the “Z.”
• Editors say I should reinvent myself and “grasp the new paradigm,” whatever that means.
I suppose I should look forward to the future more but it’s hard when you know you won’t be around for most of it. So I’ll hang on, trying to remain relevant while insisting that the past isn’t dead as long as I’m around.