Cumberland Times-News

October 6, 2012

It can be hard to wait for things to happen

Maude McDaniel, Columnist
Cumberland Times-News

— All my life I have tried to be patient, but, it seems to me, I have finally reached the time in my life when I get to be impatient. I deserve it. There are so many things I can’t wait for — and so little time for them to happen. In my life, at least!

For instance, I can’t wait for this generation of pop singers to grow up. Oops, no, I mean — to get old. Pop and rock and rap talk about young stuff all the time, and it seems to me it has gotten worse. Music these days is simply out of touch with the real world. Who cares about the scuzzy stuff, all those youthful fixations on crushes and sex, jealousy, and despair? No, I want to hear what they have to say about knee replacements and memory loss, diarrhea and orthotics, deafness, and cataracts. Unfortunately, I’ll probably not be around when they catch up to these new developments in their lives, but I plan to listen for it anyway, wherever I am — unless the flames crackle too loud .

I can’t wait for college to turn back into an opportunity to learn and advance in your chosen work, instead of being a total venue for partying. Honestly (and if I’ve said this before, you can handle it) when did youth turn into a party? Not when I was one! This is not to be ashamed or to be proud — just to state a fact — but I can’t remember a single time in my life when I “partied,” as partying is understood these days. Boring of me, I know — but still. Four years of booze and booty at your parents’ expense ? Or yours, for the rest of your life? Folks, I gotta say it — parties like that are — boring, boring, boring! They’re as boring as, well, anything I can think of that’s boring, like dusters, and logarithms. And why in the world would you want to “party” if you can’t even remember having a good time. And if you did remember it, you would be ashamed.

Or not, as things go these days.

I can’t wait for Rachel to disappear off the face of the earth. You know Rachel. She’s the one who calls on the telephone, oh, two, three times a week to chat you up about your credit card. Which credit card she never bothers to mention. Or maybe she does; I never stay on long enough to find out. She has a pleasant voice and I’m sure she means well, but, RACHEL, SHUT UP!

Sorry, Mother. I know you told me never to say that, but sometimes it seems like the best choice for all concerned. Better than murdering the next Rachel I meet, anyway.

I can’t wait any longer for one old myth to be exploded someday, and I’ve decided to be the one to do it. Somehow or other, the idea has gotten around (I have seen it actually asserted by various self-appointed experts with no more qualifications than I have) that, back when radio programs were the most up-to-date media of the day, in the ‘30s and ‘40s, everybody sat around the radio set and watched it as they listened, like a TV set. They do this on the Waltons, and I have seen it referred to in other respectable places — but I’m here to tell you, it didn’t happen! I was there at the time, folks, and I can’t remember even once when the folks in the room sat there and stared at the radio as it performed for us — not even during the riveting experience of the announcement of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I remember because I was there (not at Pearl Harbor, but in our family room listening to the report.) And we sat there reading, or studying, or petting the dog — not LOOKING at the radio!

I do remember that every Sunday night we ate lunch in the family room around the radio. (We had already had Sunday dinner at noon.) Yes, I will concede that we made it the center of our attention. Not much family-based conversation there, although we took care of that at other meals. But we sat around two card tables that were set up for the five of us, and not a one of us ever watched the radio while we ate. Which doesn’t mean that we didn’t laugh at Jack Benny and Fred Allen and — oh, don’t get me started on the superiority of the humor in those days! You could get your fill of belly laughs without a single filthy word or raunchy reference. In those days we laughed at the funny side of real life, not its perversions.

Finally, I can’t wait to share with you the singular wisdom of this time we live in, as expressed in our modern magazines. They say, no matter what your problems are — just be sure to accessorize! Now, I have already chosen what I will wear to my funeral, but I had forgotten to work out the accessories. Let’s see a purse to match, which can also carry the list of questions I plan to take along. And maybe gloves — how formal are they in the next life, I wonder? — no hat, I think. Although — I never did like hats much, but I still have a precious blue straw picture hat from the fifties. A new ribbon on it and it would be good to — well — go.

Or, as Art Linkletter once said, and was quoted in this very newspaper, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”

Don’t wait for anyone to say it better than that.

Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears on alternate Sundays in the Times-News.