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FOULDS: Oh, those Happy Days when Fonzie fought for India’s freedom
Age has a way of surprising you at the oddest moments — of turning a veritable saint into an iconic leather-clad character in a Midwest diner.
Just as you are enjoying a stretch of days during which you feel (and believe you look) like yourself 20 years ago, a song can come on the radio and knock you senseless — and back to your senses.
The song was It’s My Life by Bon Jovi.
The place was my car as it travelled down the road en route to the movie theatre to drop off my son, who was riding shotgun and looking forward to meeting some friends for some free time at the cinema.
The song was released in 2000.
I didn’t know this, but my son did as he knew everything about the tune, having used it last year for a school project on inspirational songs.
He called it “old” and, I suppose, it is dated to him, considering his existence was but a rumour when It’s My Life sounded fresh to the ears of pop music lovers.
Me? 2000 remains a shiny memory in my head, a year that my mind’s eye considers brand new.
My son mentioned Jon Bon Jovi was 38 when the song was released.
I mentioned I still think of Bon Jovi as looking as he did in the 1980s — big hair and all.
My son corrected me, told me the singer’s hair had changed by then.
“It was all styled and up, like that Gandhi guy who says, “Ayyyyyy!”
Of course, he meant “that Fonzie guy” and he knows the difference between Mahatma Gandhi and Henry Winkler/Arthur Fonzarelli, but similarly sounding words like “Gandhi” and “Fonzie” can become jumbled in a brain that too often races faster than the tongue can keep pace.
When I suggested he take a quarter in case he needed to call me for a ride after the movie, my son informed me that payphone calls are now 50 cents — a fact that floored me.
Fifty cents? When? Why?
(Then again, I should be equally surprised my son knows what a payphone is in this age of so many smartphones.)
“They haven’t been a quarter since the 20th century,” my son advised, each word likely acting as verbal fertilizer for grey hairs in my scalp.
It’s not only personal interactions with the next generation you helped create that serve as your mortality compass; current events also enter the picture.
The past weekend’s Globe and Mail included a feature story reviewing the NDP’s loss in the May election.
In the story, Adrian Dix, soon-to-be ex-leader of the party, mused on his experience during an interview in the Collingwood Neighbourhood House in his riding of Vancouver-Kingway.
At one point, Dix noted that, because he had lost the election, he was holding court in the building’s activity room. Glen Clark got the building’s larger gymnasium when he became premier in 1996, Dix observed ruefully.
That landmark election took place 17 years ago.
How can that be?
Seventeen years? The campaign, the battles, the weird popular-vote numbers — they are all still so fresh in my mind.
Even when I see Clark these days — as I did in February when he accompanied the Pattison Group in helping launch the new Cooper’s Foods in Westsyde — I am looking at the premier, circa the mid-1990s.
Then again, in my mind, Richie Cunningham and Mrs. C. and Potsie and Arnold’s Diner never appear in reruns — even if, despite my son’s claim, I cannot remember the Fonz using his cool to fight for Indian independence.