All of us at one time or another were younger--except for fellow rodder Bob Klessig of Antigo, Wisconsin. To my good friend Bob, you were born old, grew up old, and will always be an old you-know-what! Before I get too far off the subject, Bob is an avid street rodder of the highest regard. Unlike me, he is a successful businessman who could afford to kick back and enjoy life. This means he attends everything that has a street rod attached and always manages to tell me how much fun he's having and wishes I could enjoy the same. So, Klessig you old you-know-what--take that!
For starters, I realize "younger" can be a relative term meaning some of us have had more years to be younger with! But we all remember times that were more fun, less stressful, and it didn't hurt so much when getting out of bed.
When I was young, it didn't matter how late I stayed up. Come the early morn' I could get up at roughly the same time that I went to bed! But, that's what youth's for--to try everything at least once...in one day!
So, when we go out and enjoy our hobby, please remember to be patient with today's younger rodders and give them a hand, offer advice (when asked), and be smart enough to let them build it "their way," as the rest of us already know what we can do.
For the record, be aware that there are youngin's in college that were born in 1982. To street rodders that means "we" were enjoying the 13th National Street Rod Association's Street Rod Nationals. (Can you remember where it was held? For the record, St. Paul, Minnesota, and there were 5,566 cars registered.)
In case you have forgotten, here are a few notable happenings from way back when in 1982. Michael Jackson's Thriller sells 20 million albums; did you have a headache in 1982--do you remember the Tylenol scare; one of my all-time favorite princess' of a movie star suddenly dies in a car crash--Princess Grace of Monaco; and one of my all-time favorite comedians checks out--John Belushi dies of a cocaine and heroin overdose. Here's something none of us needed before 1982, but now many of us have at least thought about it--Liposuction is introduced. The break up of all break ups--Ma Bell is broken up into 22 distinct regional phone companies; the Vietnam Memorial is erected in Washington, D.C; and the first artificial heart transplant takes place. Here's one for the record books--the all-time You Gotta Be Kidding Award goes to Larry Walters, who ties 42 weather balloons to a lawn chair and flies as high as 16,000 feet before he begins shooting the balloons with a pellet gun. Oh, yes, the FAA fined him $1,500--go figure!
But, for Klessig, and all those of you out there that say I need to keep my editorial more auto-focused, this one's for you: the Delorean Motor Company goes bankrupt!
Back to my lists: I am reminded of a list that's put together each year by the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin (I'll bet Klessig lives somewhere nearby) to alert the rest of us just what "normal" is for our future street rodder and college students.
Today's rodder of a college student most likely has no significant recollection of the Reagan Era and probably did not know he had ever been shot. They were pre-pubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged. They have never feared a nuclear war, which means they also don't remember bomb shelters in backyards. (Rumor has it that Klessig keeps his spare parts in his--not "his" as in his bodies' spare parts, but his as in "his" Chevy's spare parts. At least I think that's what he said!)
Atari predates them, as do vinyl albums. The statement "You sound like a broken record" means nothing to them--they have never owned a record player. Both of which could explain why the record store chain Licorice Pizza didn't fare so well.
They have likely never played Pac Man. Now, that's criminal for the greatest contest ever waged over a game of Pac Man was between myself and Lil' John Buttera one night while attending the NSRA Street Rod Nats in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Yep, 4,608 street rods were registered.)
Our youthful future rodders and today's college students may have never heard of an eight-track. (Tech Editor Ron Ceridono listens to his faithfully after all these years. And, yes, I still have one with a library of several hundred tapes.) The compact disc was introduced when our future rodders were approximately one year old!
Our future rodders probably have never seen a black and white TV set, much less one with only 13 channels! Oh, yes, both Ron and I have black and white TVs with 13 channels, and they work!
They don't know what a cloth baby diaper is--neither do I. Those of you who have read about my parenting exploits on this page, that shouldn't come as a surprise.
Feeling old yet? Wait, there's more! Many of today's future rodders were born the year that Walkman was introduced by Sony, roller skating has always meant inline for them, Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show, and popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
That big-deal movie we all went to see a few years back about the finding of the Titanic? They thought we always knew. For the non-trailer crowd, Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America, and Alabama are places, not rock bands--and that's the way today's young rodder and college student views it. Do you remember when both were true?
To them there has always been MTV and, this pains me the most, they don't have a clue how to use a typewriter, and some would say neither do I.