Everything old is new again. As life moves ever too rapidly from one moment to the next, icons appear and then fade into our shared experience. One minute, we are all enjoying “Scooby Doo,” the next is “Hill Street Blues,” then “Friends,” then, in an instant, “The Big Bang Theory.” We come to love the characters, and they dissolve like “Newhart” and “M*A*S*H” into our usually imperfect memories.
Our favorite actors and tag-lines give way to new ones. The coffee mugs and T-shirts reminding us “let’s be careful out there” are traded for ones bearing images of Ron Swanson and now even “Stranger Things.” Our deep, emotional investment in whether Tony Soprano would ultimately get whacked turns out to be no more important to the subsequent generations than who shot JR.
It is all quite disheartening. Did we waste those years spent waiting to see if Coyote would finally perfect an ACME-fueled scheme and get the Road Runner for dinner? Maybe. But surely, our perfecting the ideal way to separate Oreos or rapidly remove the orange from Cheetos will have use as we accelerate even further into adulthood, but it doesn’t seem to come up in the corporate cafeteria as it did in the elementary school lunchroom.
Still for many of us, a skill mastered only requires an opportunity to reemerge. Let each generation decide the content. But shouldn’t our grandkids know how to drain the crème filling out of a Twinkie? And that proficient spoon work ensures the proper ratio of toasted oats to Lucky Charms? Don’t our children deserve to know the sublime joy of Igor’s hump in “Young Frankenstein?” And, aren’t we the ones to tell them? Even more, it seems that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos pair beautifully with an aged barrel-strength bourbon. We can still learn!