Oh, right, it’s day 3 of this wretched 25 days of song. This one is supposed to be a song that reminds one of a parent(s). There were a lot I could have chosen, like “Cats in the Cradle”, except my parents weren’t totally absent from my life and that song is quite possibly the worst song ever, ever, ever known to man. There’s also “Butterfly Kisses” if you want to vomit or “Daddy’s Hands” if you want a song about how your dad beat the crap out of you with love.
Then I remembered the song “A Battle of New Orleans”. This is a really old song, from the 50’s, but that’s okay because it’s about something even older, the War of 1812. I think of my father when I hear this song because he is a huge history buff, as am I. The man can name all our presidents, in order, with their vice presidents, and the men who ran against them.
Our country has a short history, but we make it count. If all you’ve ever seen of American history is a textbook, you are most unfortunate. I’m not sure how they do it, but somehow textbook writers manage to suck all the interesting parts out of history and leave you with mind numbingly boring facts. But if you get a good teacher, history comes alive. It did with my father, who was my first teacher.
One thing America loves more than anything is the tale of the underdog defeating the much larger force. The British had a huge trained, disciplined fighting force whereas we had a small group of random angry guys. Of course, the British were already divided what with also fighting Napolean in France at the same time, but nevermind that. We beat ’em! Not because we were all that skilled or honorable, but specifically because we were devious little upstarts, which the British probably should have remembered from the Revolutionary War.
But wait, this is supposed to be about my father. Well, one other thing we liked to do together besides talk history was sing. Neither of us was a particularly good singer, but we liked it anyway. And this song, “The Battle of New Orleans”, exemplifies both in a catchy song about actual history. Though they might have made up the part about using an alligator butt as a cannon.
In order to make it more appealing to some of you with intense dislike of country music or history, I have left you a video acting out the song through lego people. You’re welcome.
I’m not sure when I got old. For most of my life I’ve been the youngest. I was the little sister. My birthday is in June, so I was the youngest in my class. When I became a teaching assistant in grad school I was the youngest TA at 22. Then when I became a reference assistant at a public library at 25, I was the youngest reference assistant. Later when I started working at another public library, I was one of the youngest employees there as well. When I first got my current job, I was one of the youngest.
Than came Young Alice. I call her Young Alice because she has my name. Which is unfair, because I had it first. Not only that, she has a job that makes way more money than mine makes. While filling in, I decided I really wouldn’t like that job because you get a lot more students expecting you to help them, whereas at the moment I work on the far end of the second floor and no one comes here unless they really, really want to, or more likely, they’re extremely lost. So it’s not like I’m jealous of her position per say. But her age disturbs me.
You see, Young Alice is almost 12 years younger than I am. How is that possible when most of the time I feel like I’m 12, even though my eldest child is almost 14? And these babies are just going to keep coming because I keep getting older while new people continue to be born and get jobs and crap. WTF. This is not the way I ever pictured it. You never picture growing old when you’re young. It’s like, I will be this way FOREVER, yay!
Young Alice is where I was so many years ago. Young, idealistic, full of energy. I realize now why some women get really irritated at younger women. It’s like, will you get older and get jaded with life already? But honestly, I bear Young Alice no ill will. I don’t want to be that age again. I’d like to have that energy and awesome metabolism, sure, but you couldn’t pay me to go back to 26.
I like where I am now, because – dare I say it – I actually have a little wisdom to offer. I offer it to my children, all the time. Know when to hold ’em, I say. Know when to fold ’em. I talk to them about my values, and why I have them, while trying to precariously balance between telling them how I feel and telling them what they should feel. Yet it really is a gift to be able to offer the younger generation some of what you’ve learned. It’s something that some of my former bosses, as bitter as they were, didn’t get because they were busy being jealous of that all revered youth. Youth is fleeting, but intelligence (or dumbness) is not. It’s with you forever, or at least until you start losing your memory and pooping in your pants again. Okay, that wasn’t a great endorsement for growing older.
Sure, there is a lifetime ahead of me of working at a job that – no matter how much it fits me – is going to be long and boring a lot of the time. And eventually I’ll get gray hairs and wrinkles – I think I may have some wrinkles on my forehead though I try not to look too hard. Because then I see the very faint mustache that no one else notices but me. I hope. So far my kids appreciate what I have to offer, though I’m well aware there will come a day when, as my mother has said, I will turn into Cassandra from Greek Mythology. She knew the future, but no one believed her. Welcome to the teenage years.
I am becoming living history. I remember the Oklahoma City bombing and the babies that died. I remember 9/11 and the terror we felt. I remember what it was like to carry two babies inside me. I remember what it was like to be a young mom, poor and half-insane from sleep deprivation. I remember what it was like to fail, to feel hopeless, and to rise back again.
Everything that has happened to me, good and bad, has shaped who I am now. I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve also made a lot of mistakes – but not nearly enough. Because I’ve been afraid to try. I don’t want my kids to be afraid. I have the power to help them with that. And one day, if I’m lucky, I’ll live long enough to be a grumpy old bag that goes to the library and annoys the crap out of people but gets away with it cause isn’t she sweet? Young Alice may be the one helping me find that elusive book that doesn’t exist cause I just made up.
Till then, there’s a lot of life left to do. Time to get to it. As soon as I’m done watching this youtube video with cats.
Ever heard Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”? I love how he was able to take a history book and just fling a bunch of historical events together and make them rhyme and sound cool. He started with his birth year and ended up in the 80s I believe. So I thought I might do the same thing, only starting with my birth year and not rhyming or sounding very cool. I found my facts on this website www.thepeoplehistory.com.
I’m sure it’s at least as accurate as Wikipedia. Away we go!
Stuff that happened –
I was born. And there was rejoicing. Especially from my mother who was glad to no longer be pregnant. My brother was so happy he kept the toys he got for me and knocked over my bassinet.
Apple Computer Company started. My family would get the totally hip Apple IIc when I was in grade school. I played a game on it called King’s Quest that took 8 floppy disks. You had to turn the disk every time your little guy walked from one screen to another. I loved that stupid game.
A panel warned that CFCs from aerosol cans can damage the Ozone layer. Americans said “Pfft.”
The U.S. celebrates the 200th anniversary of independence from Britain. Interestingly, Britain celebrates the same thing.
Stuff happens in other countries, like earthquakes that kill a few hundred thousand people. The U.S. was busy introducing the two-dollar bill and punk rock.
I turned four. My brother suggested a Psych evaluation on account of my new invisible friend.
Ronald Reagan was elected. He would go down in history as the GOP’s personal Jesus.
Pac-Man arcade game is released, creating the dreaded “Pac-Man Fever” which killed the brain cells of thousands of kids worldwide.
Someone shot J.R.
John Lennon (actual person) was shot and killed. Jessica Simpson was born, though, bringing balance back to the Force.
Stuff happens in other countries like wars, hurricanes, and terrorist attacks. The U.S. invents the Post-It note.
I turn eight. We get to vote in our Weekly Reader. I randomly circle the guy my friend circles. Many people continue to vote like this into adulthood.
My parents decide the best gift ever for my brother and me are Sony Walkmans (with tape decks) because we shut the hell up on long car trips.
Ronald Reagan is re-elected. 70 US banks fail. Trickle-down economics at work?
Actual music is played on MTV.
Wham! is a popular band. Their “Wake me up before you go-go” really spoke to me.
Stuff happened in other countries like famine, explosions, and the USSR boycotting us right back on the Olympics so there! Or possibly the Russians just didn’t want to go to Los Angeles.
I turn 12. Hormones commence their dirty work.
U.S. Shuttle program resumes 2.5 years after Challenger disaster. Maybe they’ve forgotten about that incident, thinks NASA.
The new drug Crack appears in U.S. cities. No one say we can’t invent stuff.
George Bush Sr is elected, but fortunately Prozac is developed the same year.
1/3 of Yellowstone National Park is destroyed by fire. Yogi Bear and Boo Boo forced to relocate.
The first major computer virus infects computers connected to that promising new Internet.
Stuff happened in other countries like more wars, terrorist attacks, and various natural disasters that kill millions. The U.S. shoots down an Iranian passenger jet. Whoops.
I turn 18. I leave that hive of scum and villainy, er, graduate high school and start college. I go to the local college and live with my parents, which seems like a good idea at the time.
Tonya Harding whacks Nancy Kerrigan in the kneecap and suddenly people care about ice skating.
O.J. Simpson flees police in his bronco in the slowest and stupidest car chase ever.
Republicans dig for dirt on President Bill Clinton (who after two years they have not accepted as president) and come up with the Whitewater scandal.
Stuff happens in other countries like war, outbreaks of the Ebola virus, and the building of the Channel tunnel between France and England which allows them to more easily insult each other. The U.S. genetically engineers a tomato!
I turn 22. I switch majors at the last second, start dating my future husband, graduate college, move, start grad school because they offer me a job as a TA, get married and move again. I take stuff slow.
Bill Clinton (who after 6 years Repubs still haven’t accepted as President) denies he had “sexual relations” with that intern. Republicans are so excited they nearly wet themselves. Politicians discuss whether BJs are sex or not as the World looks on at us in awe.
The U.S. has the first budget surplus in 30 years so naturally the president is impeached for not keeping it in his pants and telling big old fibs about it.
Tobacco companies get a big handslap cause it turns out sucking smoke into your lungs is bad for you after all.
Google is founded and people start doing all their research on the totally reliable Internet!
The FDA approves Viagra. President Clinton is elated.
Stuff happens in those other countries. Russia goes bankrupt, and the Japanese bail out a bunch of banks. This will never happen to the U.S. again because our money comes from Jesus.
I turn 24. Thing One is born. My husband and I wait for her real parents to rescue her from our incompetence.
We have the dumbest election in history. The presidential race is not decided for over a month because Florida has pregnant chads and can’t figure out their own ballots. Bush Jr. is eventually declared the winner and I’m sure it had nothing at all to do with his brother being the governor of Florida.
Nasa says the hole in the Ozone layer over Antarctica has increased like 16 sq miles in just 12 months. Americans go “Pfft.”
The dot.com bubble bursts and lots of white collar geeks in Silicon Valley are no longer able to afford trillion dollar houses. Sadface.
Reality shows “Survivor” and “Big Brother” have their first seasons. It is the beginning of the end of real T.V.
Stuff happened in other countries. Mad Cow disease spreads throughout the European Union, and cellphone disease spreads worldwide. The US finally gives the Panama Canal back to, uh, Panama.
I turn 25. I had a one-year-old. Nothing else happened to me personally.
Two planes flew into the World Trade Center on September 11th, a day that would live in infamy partly because the news continues to talk about it constantly which I’m certain is great for the healing of the people who lost loved ones during the attack.
The U.S. (or rather President Bush Jr.) declares war on Iraq. Phones are tapped. No one dares not support the war in fear of being labeled a terrorist sympathizer. I am as frightened of my own government as I am of the terrorists.
The Dept of Homeland Security is organized, and Bush institutes the Patriot Act. Librarians become heroes. No, seriously. Librarians (both conservative and liberal) are asked to turn over their patron’s records (cause if you check out a terrorism book you must be one). Instead they dump the records, at their own risk, and continue to do so. HA. I love my profession.
Stuff happened in other countries. Like we declared war on one of them.
I turn 28. Stuff start to get normal again and settle down, so we have Thing Two.
Bush Jr. is re-elected. The rest of the world looks at us like we’re total morons, which apparently we are.
Lance Armstrong wins an unprecedented 6th consecutive Tour de France. Nothin’ can stop him now!
Martha Stewart is convicted of a felony and five months in prison. She launches a new show about prison decorating.
First same sex marriage performed in Massachusetts. A plague of locusts happens in West Africa. COINCIDENCE?
Environmental protection laws dropped to allow more logging in US forests. Cause trees are highly overrated.
Stuff happens in other countries like this hurricane in Haiti but the big news is Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction! A BOOB was spotted!
I turn 32. I start my MLS degree online cause Librarian is listed as one of the fastest growing occupations. The recession, naturally, will hit in the middle of this, causing librarians to hold on to their jobs instead of retiring. Naturally.
Barack Obama is elected president to the great surprise of the Republicans, his own party, and probably himself. He is the first African-American president in history and inherits the reigns of a bankrupt country that is hated by almost every major world power. Congrats, Barack!
Though McCain (the Repub candidate) lost the election, he introduced us all to Sarah Palin, the woman he chose as VP because, um, she was a woman. A brainless one. Who talks and talks and talks. And is still AROUND. I will never forgive John McCain for this. Neither will a lot of his party.
Republicans aren’t sore losers, they just suspect Obama shouldn’t be president cause he like is a Muslim terrorist non-citizen unpatriotic anti-Christ. All valid concerns.
Increasing oil prices cause inflation. Unemployment increases. Wheee!
Katy Perry kisses a girl and reportedly likes it.
Writers start expecting to get paid for their work on T.V. and go on strike. TV stations are like, pfft, who needs writers? More reality TV comin’ up!
Stuff happened in other countries but SERIOUSLY we were broke and had no entertainment. SUCKAGE!
Add it up. I arrive on WordPress. Ta-da! I gain “fame” by covering 50 Shades of Crap.
Barack Obama is re-elected to the surprise of the Republicans, his own party, and probably himself. I experience relief on a scale I haven’t in ages, but am very respectful toward the losing side. Not really. This doesn’t happen often. I gloat like hell.
Wackos fear the world will end and stock up on the 3 foods most bought from Wal-Mart during emergencies (for realz): beer, peanut butter, and pop tarts.
The world doesn’t end. Surprise!
I’m about ready to give up on my blog. I toss a post up randomly. It is Freshly Pressed. WOOT.
Alice remains Alice.