There are certain moments in your life that tell you that, despite what you think, you’re old.
The first time a server calls you “Sir,” for example. The first time you visit a physician who is younger than you are. The first time someone looks at your daughter and then at you and says, “Your granddaughter is lovely.” Or the first time a store clerk selling you a six-pack of beer laughs when you ask if you need to show your ID.
Me: Need my ID?
Store clerk: HAHAHAHA. (Pause.) Oh, you’re serious.
But those examples are all just minor “you’re old” slaps in the face. A gigantic “you’re old” haymaker to the face is something different. It’s something that knocks you back and forces you to say, “What? That can’t possibly be right.”
But it is right. And as you rub (to continue the tired metaphor) your aging jaw that has just been sucker-punched by old age, you’re forced to say, “Holy (bad word)! I am (another bad word) old.”
For me, that moment occurred a couple of days ago when I read an Associated Press story about a team of archaeologists who are combing through the original site of the Woodstock music festival.
That’s right. Archaeologists. Combing through the site of Woodstock as if it were the site of an Egyptian pyramid or Cleveland.
I apologize to Cleveland for that joke. I really didn’t mean it, and I’ve been told by many people that Cleveland is a great city. But the name “Cleveland” just lends itself to jokes. The name “Cleveland” is a perfect punchline — even if the joke has nothing to do with Cleveland. “Cleveland” is what you say when you have no real punchline.
So, I’m sorry, Cleveland, for making a joke at your expense, but I really needed a punchline, and you were all I had.
Now, where was I?
Oh, right, Woodstock.
For the record, I wasn’t old enough to attend Woodstock. But I wanted to. I was in junior high school when the Woodstock music festival was held, and like all junior high school kids, I thought Woodstock was the coolest thing ever. When the big Woodstock double album came out, we all bought it and played it over and over. When the movie about Woodstock came out, we … well, we didn’t get to see it because we were too young, but we heard it was pretty cool.
So even if we didn’t actually go to Woodstock, my friends and I felt as if we were part of Woodstock — even though the Woodstock music festival was held in upstate New York and my friends and I were in Junction City, Kansas, which was pretty much the exact opposite of upstate New York.
I realize that Woodstock occurred almost 50 years ago. And I realize that by any calculation, the fact that I remember an event that happened almost half a century ago officially makes me old.
But still. Archaeologists?
According to the AP, one of the things the archaeologists hope to discover is the exact location of the huge stage set up for Woodstock.
I guess I can see that. I mean, even though hundreds of thousands of people attended Woodstock, it stands to reason that none of them can remember were the stage had been.
I mean, it was Woodstock.
Guy leaving Woodstock: That was faaaaar out, maaaaaannn.
Another guy leaving Woodstock: Duuuuude, remember how close we were to the stage?
First guy: What stage?
Second guy: Duuuuude, you’re an iguana.
First guy: Far out.
Woodstock memories are likely a bit fuzzy, is what I’m saying.
But that doesn’t justify treating the Woodstock site like some sort of ancient civilization.
You know, like Cleveland.