Archive - January 2005

Don't Touch That Dial

            She was a blue, 1975 Chevrolet Impala sedan.   Just blue.  This was 1975, crayons came in sixteen colors, and for all I knew, that’s all the colors there were.  The car was blue.  Not Powder Blue, or Cyan.  Not Baby’s Breath or October Sky.  Blue.  You wanted a blue car, this is what you got.  I remember a lot about that car.  The quintessential family sedan of the mid-seventies.

            I remember it was a behemoth.  That was its classification for registration purposes: Behemoth.  I never actually measured it, but my best estimate placed it at forty-seven feet long.  I remember because it was waiting for me in the driveway when I turned sixteen.  It’s a wonder I ever got my license.  Most sixteen year olds can’t parallel park a Yugo (and not just because they don’t run), let alone the Nina, the Pinta, or the Santa Maria.  The car was big, people.  I had tractor-trailers flashing their headlights at ME when I had enough room to change lanes.

            I remember the radio.  No, not the stereo, the radio.  This was a fancy one for the day, it had both AM and FM.  Two knobs on either side of the dial and five buttons under it. 

Ah yes, the mechanical preset.  All you had to do was tune in your favorite radio station and yank the button violently out, then shove it back in with equal violence.  Now, simply by pressing said button gently (gently = seventy-five pounds of downward force.) you could be listening to a radio station very near the one you had wanted.  The violent nature of setting the preset button invariably caused the tuner to move upwards of three quarters of an inch to the left.  But it got you fairly close, fairly quickly, and with only minor injuries.  The first known cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are directly linked to the use of these radio-preset buttons.

            I remember the one, lonely speaker mounted in the dead center of the dashboard.  I remember when the speaker ever went out it was replaced by one, lonely speaker placed precariously on the floor because it would have taken three days to get the old one out.  The sound quality was that of playing a CD on a Victrola through a bullhorn with half-dead batteries, underwater.  If you were in the back seat you couldn’t hear it at all; in part due to the poor sound quality coming from the speaker, but also due to the fact that you were nearly a mile and a half from it.

            I was at that age where I knew what popular music was but I wasn’t old enough to get a say in what was on the radio.  I remember hearing the music (if I wasn’t sitting in the backseat) coming from the radio.  The station Mom had picked.  Old People One-Oh-Four, I think it was.  “I grew up on this!”  She’d cry in exasperation because she could actually hear my eyes rolling back into my head when she turned it on.  The difference between the songs on the easy listening side and on the rock-n-roll side was mind-boggling.  She always yelled that it WAS rock-n-roll, but we never recognized it.    

            My, how things have changed.  What, you may ask, is the difference now between the edgy rock-n-roll of today’s youth, and the easy listening stations of today’s parents? 

About six weeks.  At this rate, parents will be listening to newer music than their children in about four years. 

I started paying attention a few years ago.  At my age, I’d tune in easy listening for the traffic report, and then back to the “cutting edge” rock station for music.  That’s when it hit me.  About six weeks after a song ended its airtime on the rock station, it ended up on the easy listening station.  I remember when parents could look down with scorn upon their children’s music indefinitely.  Now, the scorn lasts only about a month, month and a half.

            The days of forcing your children to listen to the music you grew up on are almost over.  I know it’ll never happen in my car.  But that’s mostly because I grew up in the eighties, and eighties music wasn’t good enough for me to listen to then (nothing personal Mr. Springfield), so I don’t think I’ll listen to it now.  So parents are indeed getting cooler.  We can revel in the fact that we ARE cooler than our parents.  We’re only running six weeks behind the cool kids.  Heck, that’s better than I did in high school.

Dear Grumpy Llama,

I've known this guy for about 8 months and he's my best friend. We have a lot of things in common and we just seem to click. There is one problem though, my friend who introduced us has liked him for 4 years.


He pretty much ignores her and spends time with me.  I don't know what to tell her.  We are attracted to each other and we keep sneaking around so she won't see us in town.  I told her that I like him and she was upset.  What should I do?


Confused in Cornelius


Dear Confused,


Hope that helps, 


Dear Grumpy,

I have been dating a guy on the net.  We are close and even told each other that we loved each other and we both really mean it.  I am almost 17 and he is 19. 


Now he won't email me back or even try to find me on the net.  I know he has a steady job but shouldn't he make time for his girlfriend?  Is there something I could have done differently?  Please tell me what to do.

A Drive in Alberta


Dear A Drive,

Yes, he SHOULD make time for his girlfriend.  Let me try to ease your concerns about whether it's something you've done.  Your dating "situation" leaves us with only two real possibilities.

1.  You are e-dating a dork.  A classic, socially inept, Dungeons and Dragons playing, porn addicted geek.  That's why you met him online.  Face to face does him no favors.  And when this geek realized you were referring to yourself as his girlfriend, he used a geek's only line of defense - FULL PANIC SHUTDOWN.  You will not hear from him again.  Although you may meet a surprisingly similar person with a different screen name in six or seven months when his panic subsides.  Until then, he will be regaling his friends with stories of the girl he did when he was on vacation with his family at the Grand Canyon.  He will use you as the basis for his model.

2.  He is not 19.  He is 47.  And he is currently in the custody of the FBI.

Hope that helps,


Dear Grumpy,

I have been having romantic feelings for my cousin. I know the feeling is mutual, and we both know it is wrong. Nothing has happened, but I am scared our emotions might get the best of us. What can we do?

Pining in Peoria


Dear Pining,

It IS wrong.  The feeling are NOT mutual.  And NOTHING is going to happen.  And if don't stop talking to me about this, I'm going to tell Aunt Trudy.

Hope that helps,


Dear Grumpy,

I have recently asked my future sister-in-law to be one of my bridesmaids. Right after she accepted she told me she was going to have to give me the scoop on real life since she is 10 years older than I am. She started telling me that life was really hard and cruel, and that although I may be happy now, I won't always be happy.

She said that she explain about how horrible relationships can be. She said she has so much experience and I know absolutely nothing about real life.

I have no idea how to tell her that I don't want to listen to this negative perspective. How do I deal with her tactfully?

Torn in Topeka


Dear Torn,

Fuck tact.  Tell the crazy bitch to shut the fuck up.  Then deny it when your fiancé confronts you.

Hope that helps,


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