As many of your know, I’m celebrating my like my 186th birthday this year, give or take a millennium—and yes, I don’t look a day over 500. Thanks!
And as my kids have heard over and over again, I’ve seen a lot in my time … the invention of fire … the first wheel … bread before it was sliced. Heck, I remember ol’ Abe Lincoln back when he was a wrassler! Them was the days, by cracky …
“I am appearing in this idiot’s blog against my will or knowledge.”
Actually, it was less than 200 years ago when Lincoln was tossing his fellow grapplers around Illinois, which still sounds like a long time ago to most of you. But consider this: Right now in 2016 we’re closer to the Civil War (1865) than the Civil War is to the Salem Witch Trials (1693)—and by one score and a few years, to use Lincoln math.
How about this for you pop culture fans: The birth of MTV (1981) is closer to the death of JFK (1963) than to the death of Michael Jackson (2009).
Speaking of dearly departed musical icons—the release of Prince’s “Purple Rain” (1984) is closer to Elvis’ first hit single “Don’t Be Cruel” (1956) than it is to the recent untimely death of Prince himself.
All shook up? Then let’s get crazy with some more time-bending fun, you know, like it was 1999! [*groan*]
Two epic poems, Homer’s “Odyssey” and Virgil’s “Aenid,” are often taught together, so you assume they’re both from the same general era, right? In fact, they were written nearly 800 years apart—or the distance between the typing of these words and the signing of the Magna Carta.
If there’s anything I know for sure (other than one measures a circle beginning anywhere), it’s that 800 years from now no damn dirty computer (or talking ape) will be contrasting and comparing this blog with the Magna Carta.
Okay, let me a-splode your grey matter a bit with this oft-quoted gem: We’re closer to the time of Tyrannosaurus Rex than Tyrannosaurus Rex is to Stegasaurus … by about 16 MILLION years.
Possibly not historically accurate.
In fact, dinosaurs were the dominant form of life on Earth for 135 million years. By comparison, humans as we know us, have been around 200,000 years, or less than .1 percent of that time length. (Note the decimal point there.) Yikes.
And one more (to loop this back round a bit): Man landing on the moon and the New York Jets winning the Super Bowl (1969) are both closer to 9/11 than we are to the launch of MTV.
For one brief, shining moment …
Yeah, some of you are o-l-d.
So as Einstein generally theorized, time is all about perspective, right? Which is why I worry about our (or my) particular point in history.
As I mentioned earlier, we’re more than 150 years after the abolition of slavery, and it’s clear to everyone alive right here right now that it was a horrible thing that none of us want to even be remotely associated with.
But in the year 3000 when someone (Skynet?) is teaching “ancient history,” will anyone be able to distinguish 1864 from 1964, or even 2016? Like how people now vaguely recall/jumble important facts from their edumakation, such as Alexander the Great fought the Spartans (he didn’t as the Battle of Thermopylae—famously and gratuitously portrayed in the movie 300—was more than a century-and-a-half before he was born). I worry that future ‘Muricans will be like, “The slaves were freed in 1864 and like a century or two later, they finally got equal rights when homosexuals were also allowed to vote and get married.”
Yeah, that seems like silly talk now, but my future brain floating in jar will not be surprised if our legacy gets all sorts of other mashed up. I can only imagine what they might be saying …
• “What? Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we say it is. It wasn’t over when Osama bin Laden bombed Pearl Harbor and the Twin Towers!”
• “Today, I presented my women heroes of history report on Kim Kardashian-West-Bieber-Manziel-Timberlake-Minaj-Lovitz-West, who invented the intrawebz and photography.”
• “We’ll never forget how Hitler launched the Hollacaust to exterminate all the Jews in Hollawood, and then how Gwen Stefani led the fight against him.”
• “Today we learned how Walt Disney was looking for the Fountain of Youth when he discovered Florida, which is why he built an amusement park for kids on the spot.”
• “President Clinton was the first transgendered president to hold the office as both a man and a woman, and even married himself at one point.”
• “Wayne Brady won four championships as quarterback of the New England Patriots and after he retired, turned to improv musical comedy.”
• “President John F. Kennedy was shot by aliens dressed as men in black, who then hid at Area 51 with Bigfoot, Anne Frank and the first Carrot Top.”
• “I didn’t know that the ‘M’ in MTV stood for its founder, Michael Jackson, the King of Music, who was also the first man to walk on the moon (which is why they still call it ‘moonwalking’). His son The Prince taught doves how to cry.”
Party over, we’re out of time …