2
min

On With The Show This Is It

Image of Bill G

Bill G

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You know you’re a child of the 50s and 60s when you wake up on the morning of open heart surgery and all you can think of is the Bugs Bunny Show theme song. Couldn’t remember it all and had to look it up , but the lines “This is it, tonight’s the night “ and “no more rehearsing and nursing a part” kept popping into my head. When I actually did look it up I found the first line to be different than I remembered. It’s “ Overture, curtain, lights and I always thought it said “ Overture cut the lights “. Makes more sense the actual way.
The whole idea that something from my childhood, a show I watched every week for, I don’t know, maybe 5 or 6 years, would be the the first thing I thought of says something about how the brain works, or doesn’t, and that’s simultaneously comforting and scary. Comforting because I loved growing up when I did and scary because what else is lingering deep below the surface of that mass of brain cells. Time will tell for the answer to that second one. Will I be one of those old guys who can’t remember what he had for breakfast but could tell you the cast of “Combat” or “Hogan’s Heroes” in order of appearance on the credits. I hope not but it occurs to me that those early days of television left an indelible mark on my ever developing psyche. This is amateur psychoanalysis at its finest, but with all the chaos surrounding my little world in the early 60s it’s no wonder it was easy to turn to Bugs Bunny or Andy of Mayberry or the Dick Van Dyke show. The chaos was not at home. I couldn’t have grown up in a more idyllic situation, this chaos was what I saw every day in the newspaper or on TV news. Between the Cuban missile crisis, assassinations of JFK and Medgar Evers, the first images of a Southeast Asian war gone wrong, and racial tensions back home, my 9 to 12 year old world was inundated with traumas that had to have had some lingering effect. Is it possible to have PTSD from merely living during that time period? It certainly wasn’t that bad, but I wonder if the cynicism and contempt I now have for our political process and much of the world in general was partially rooted in having witnessed those events in my formative years.
Having said all that, every generation of children growing up was or is faced with their own traumas, so here we go again, another Baby Boomer who thinks no one else in the history of the world ever experienced what we did. Can’t imagine growing up Jewish in Eastern Europe one generation prior, or even as a child of the depression in our country. How about growing up in the Deep South as a black child in the 1840s separated from your parents because some white asshole thinks they actually own you and everything about you. How nice would it be to be a child in a small village during the Crusades when a bunch of sword wielding religious zealots ride into town slaughtering anything that moves in the name of Jesus or Mohammed depending on which side you were on. I could go on and on but it seems at some point the innocence of childhood gets swept away by some adult or adults who arbitrarily decide what’s best not only for them but everyone around them and most of the time we generally know how that works out. It’s a wonder anyone survives and grows up reasonably sane. I think every generation has their own PTSD issues as it turns out. I’m just glad mine had Bugs Bunny to fall back on. That’s a hell of a long way away from waking up at 3:00 am the morning of open heart surgery but what else have I got to do.

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