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Dive Bar Time Machine

I spent most of a week visiting the oldest and her husband recently. There is a lot going on in the larger world as well in my own personal sphere, and it was good to have a bit of a break. I'm not sure if it was a spur-of-the-moment thing or planned out, but one evening, with my daughter tied up, my son-in-law took me out on the town to their local dive-bar.

Now, applying the term 'dive bar' to any drinking establishment is certainly subjective, but as dive bars go, this one was distinctly un-divey, at least in my personal experience. Sure, it was a bit run down, and the crowd was not wearing, nor might not have owned, suits or ties, but there wasn't sawdust on the floor, both the crowd and music volumes weren't overwhelming, and no fights broke out over the course of the evening. Nor did I see any dried blood in the men's room. Hell, there wasn't even a fenced in area for musicians to be shielded from flying bottles.

But I digress.

As we walked in, my SiL informed me we would be going to the back room.

The back smoking room.

Yeah, I know. I'm an idiot. Let's simply agree that it is a nasty, horrible habit, and leave it at that, shall we?

As we entered this den of 1982, I looked around at the varied clientele, the pool table with a

hovering cloud of smoke over it, the jukebox with a solid selection of 60's and 70's tunes, and wondered if there was a hot tub or DeLorean tucked away somewhere nearby. I poured a PBR from the oversized shared pitcher and straightened my spine, ignoring the twinge and clicking sound, and for a moment, felt like I was back in that long ago age when my knees didn't pop and I could go toe to toe with the best of them. And I felt a warm glow at the memories.

Then I overheard another not-overly-young patron commenting to their partner about the general state of affairs across the globe which brought to mind multiple recent instances when friends had gone off about their version of 'the good old days', taking apparent pleasure in listing all that is wrong with the world today. While the specifics they gave sometimes varied, the lists always fell into two general categories - younger people's laziness and/or self-centeredness and the prevalence and over use/abuse of technology. Per all of them, the world is going to hell in a handbasket. And it all boils down to those dang youngsters.

My opinion and response has been consistent.

Well, yeah, about the world. But no, about the younger generation(s).

Folks, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the world is ALWAYS going to hell in a handbasket. Sometimes for other people, sometimes for you, and, generally speaking at a macro-level, for everybody in one way, shape, or form.

Look, I'm not here to take anything away from anyone's memories, including my own. Nor to downplay the problems and challenges across our shared big blue marble right now. Pretty daunting and certainly not simple.

But those golden days we all like to remember are simply recollections of a different time when you were a different you with different perspectives and different problems and joys. Some personal moments might have been golden, but I guarantee they were puke green and sometimes black and blue for others.

My parents' and grandparents' generation had the same complaints about the world, and about my friends, and me - and you. Long hair, short hair, clothing, prices, wars, music, politicians, kids having things too easy, damn TVs, damn stereos, damn abacuses, damn...well, everything.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, griping without end, amen.

And 'kids today'? They're doing exactly what we were doing way back and most likely are still doing today. And what our parents, and great-grands to the nth degree were doing in their youth right through their waning years - trying to figure things out, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing, being jerks, being caring humans, messing up, fixing things, sometimes working hard, sometimes being lazy, often confused, always amazed, and undoubtedly blaming the previous generation for screwing things up.


There was no point in poking my nose into the conversation between the complaining gent and his partner who nodded agreement at each point the gent made, so I took a drag and another drink, and watched my SiL make a perfect cut shot, then follow it up by dropping the eight-ball in at the wrong time, thus losing the game. He shook his head with chagrin as he re-racked the balls.

Trying, succeeding, failing. And chagrin. I'm quite familiar with all of the above. As we all are.

Might be helpful if we all work a bit harder on remembering that.


Thanks for reading.

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