Another New Year’s celebration, another decade begins and another excuse to write a little drivel about the many meanings of a number. 2020 is a number that unfortunately floods my memory banks with typical unrelated, disturbing, random images.
When I was 20, my twin brother also turned 20. This 2020 represents the first time in my life I went and saw the same movie twice in the same theatre. Animal House was the film I felt necessary to spend another $6.00 dollars to see again, because people around me during my first viewing laughed a little too loud. I had missed the subtle nuances of a good food fight and sought a better understanding of the lyrics to Louie Louie.
My family had a tradition of all going to a movie every New Years. That year’s movie was Superman. I made immediate comparisons of Christopher Reeves portrayal to my black and white George Reeves Superman. At the time I felt the Commander Tom version of Superman could never be duplicated. This movie was a cruel insult to a childhood memory. I only hoped it would bomb at the box office and that would be that. Who could have predicted that decades later, Superhero movies would become a genre.
To add more tragedy to this year of the twin 20, Boogie Oogie Oogie, was one of the number one songs of that year. The Bee Gees dominated the rest of the airwaves with 5 number one songs from Saturday Night Fever. If you were not a John Travolta fan, this was not your year. The songs from Saturday Fever were eventually replaced by the songs from Grease. Grease was the word and also a pretty good description of my rarely shampooed hair that year.
Another random 2020 memory transported me farther back in time to my first high school dance. With a pimpled face, and a nervous changing voice, I asked 20 girls to dance and 20 girls said “no thanks” to my resistible offer. In a blog titled 2020, I am under representing the numbers here. The truth was it was more like 25 offers, to 25 rejections, but I won’t be around in 2525, if man is still alive, if women can survive…
$20.20 is precisely the 10% tip I was taught to leave, for a dinner out costing $202.00. This accepted percentage of gratuity has now changed to 20%. I know this because every time the server brings the magical machine to settle the bill, I have to scroll for a half hour to find the 10% option. I suppose service has improved so dramatically since my first restaurant dinner, that 20 is the new 10.
As a protest to this inflationary percent, I make the waiter or waitress work a little harder during my meal. As they bring the meal to the table, the server will always be carrying a pepper grinder the size of an Apollo Rocket ship. They politely ask “Would you like some fresh ground pepper?” I surprisingly decline their offer, asking if they have any stale pepper? Like a wine snob, when they bring me my stale pepperI complain that the pepper isn’t stale enough. I ask to see the manager. When the manager arrives, I suggest that if they put their pepper in a carafe, gently let it breathe, the staleness I seek would occur much faster. If the carafe is made of Waterford crystal I leave a 30% tip!
I have saved the most obvious 2020 connection for last. 20\20 vision is a condition few possess. My New Year’s resolution was to have better eyesight this year. As I take off my glasses to celebrate this commitment, I nuticwed thaet thises rasoltshun is nottth goieng to eand wellll. In early high school I began to wear reading glasses. My sensitive high school friends described my lenses as coke bottle bottoms, though I was more of a Pepsi guy. I still take my glasses off when cameras are flashing
20\20 vision is a condition a few of my circle of similar aged friends still possess. I peer through my bifocals with admitted envy, as I wonder how an aging process can deplete their hair, but not their vision. This admiration is a little insincere, as over time I have learned to admire not the sight of my friends and family, but the insight they offer. As a child, the comic books I read offered X-Ray glasses on the back pages of the of each volume. I ordered a pair, and the disappointment of the ability to see through walls and blouses was less than impressive. A painful, yet valuable life lesson learned. When seeking insight, the X-ray technician at your local hospital, might not be the best person to help in your search.
I have been a lucky guy over my working career. For no discernable reason, I have been blessed to work with some very, very smart people. Not in the academic sense, but more on the street smart, emotionally intelligent side of the equation. I have learned that when I am offered advice, ideas or even a contrary view of my opinion my sight has improved. The moment I quietly think, “I hadn’t thought of it that way’, I have been given insight.
This pause of perspective has been received more than given. Deeper insight has been delivered by bosses, colleagues and subordinates. It was never based on theory, but always based on life experience. I suppose that is why there are very few successful 20 year-old real estate agents. It is difficult to persuade a family to purchase a house, if you have never owned a house.
I appreciate insight over sight these days. Some people with the worst vision offer the greatest value. Conversely friends who have never worn glasses could use a newer pair with broader lenses. So as we tip toe into another decade, I wish all happiness, contentment and the occasional uncomfortable interruption. That contrary view will have great difficultly penetrating our large, overcrowded, strongly opinionated brains but if it is successful you will have one new, unrealized idea to ponder. A Fresh perspective, similar to freshly ground pepper.
He’s as blind as he can be, just sees what he wants to see, Nowhere Man can you see me at all?
Cue the Blong. UPDATE, as my Soundcloud sight reachees 10,000 listens, surprisingly this is the most popular song I have posted. For those who occasionally click to this link, I thank you.