A “Wiki-Life”–what would your wiki-life say about you?
With the help of Wikipedia and my own sketchy memory, I have embarked on a little adventure to highlight some of the events from my 75 years of life (3/4 of a century people tell me) that have somehow stuck with me, or that in revisiting the years on Wikipedia have “moved me” to discuss them here.
In light of keeping this as long as it is, and not any longer, the significant others of my life–grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, wives, ex-wives, girlfriends, friends, and assorted in-laws and out-laws–(except for my kids)–will have to remain absent from this list.
I have unreasonable faith they know how important they are, or were, and I won’t attempt to roast them here–perhaps another time.
With any such exercise, the things that one picks out, the things that resonate in a stream of consciousness fashion, can give one, and hopefully others, a glimpse of not only what has informed one’s life, but also of what one finds interesting in life–a “wiki-life.”
The goal here was to “channel” one or two things from each year.
Since it is likely few will have the patience or interest to read my entire life–you might want to check out the year you were born on my list–unless of course you are older than me and then you are stuck reading the whole thing.
What would your wiki-life say about you?
On March 6th, 1947, I apparently survived being born–no small deal for any of us, and at 9+ lbs (at least that is what I am told) I am sure my mother was more than ready. I also, according to certain authorities, apparently survived the crash of a UFO in Roswell. A gallon of gas cost 15 cents and there was absolutely no awareness as to the actual “real” costs to the planet.
In 1948, I was lucky enough to not be an infant in Palestine. (Although this is likely true of anyone born between then and now–and even before.)
In 1949, I was too young to be included on a list of communists that included famous people like Helen Keller, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Katharine Hepburn, and many others, but then again, I was too young to know what being famous was.
In 1950, I was not old enough to even “dream” of helping the U.S. soccer team beat England in the FIFA World Cup–I was not even kicking my sister under the dinner table yet.
In 1951, on this birthday, I turned 4 years old. History would show that I would have wished that I could have been old enough to be on the jury of the trial for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg–they could have used a four-year-old that was not damaged by years of propaganda and fear. By the end of kindergarten I would probably have been useless to them.
It is 1952, my parent’s brains, and the brains of all parents around the U.S. of A, were altered forever by “I Love Lucy.” Polio was also on everyone’s mind.
In 1953, I was still WAY too young to be interested in the first issue of Playboy Magazine. That Hugh guy did seem to be the ultimate rabbit though!
1954, marked the saddest year in my young life. The last episode of the “Lone Ranger” aired, and I would be stuck with re-runs for the rest of my life. But, I did get to see my first movie, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
In 1955, I may have heard the word “Vietnam” for the first time–it would not be the last. It was also the first time anyone asked the $64,000.00 question–that question could have just as well been about the Vietnam War.
In 1956, my sister likely got her first “dose” of Elvis, I was passed over by the Asian Flu Pandemic and without 1956 what would we have called the “56 Chevy?”
In 1957, we all watched the first piece of Russian space-junk, shining, and moving slowly across the star filled Connecticut sky. Also Zorro came along to save me from that Lone Ranger issue.
In 1958, sentimental pop culture was skewed forever as John, Paul and George paid a recording studio the equivalent of $3.99 to record Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day.”
In 1959, the twilight zone I had spent most of my life living in, became real on TV’s “The Twilight Zone.” We also found some long lost relatives hiding at Olduvai Gorge.
In 1960, even to a 13-year-old-Connecticut-Yankee-WASP, the notion that it had taken until 1960 for the Supreme Court to deem Southern segregation laws “unconstitutional” seemed at the very least “hypocritical”–and possibly even “un-American”–yet all too American.
In 1961, a guy with an accent like mine became the 35th president of the United States–and a hottie name Marilyn liked him too. Even I was growing up by 1961 because I knew what “hottie” meant.
In 1962, the 54-year-long embargo of Cuba began–seems like a long time to hold a grudge. And of course in this same year, the fore mentioned hottie died of an overdose.
In 1963, all ears were glued to news about the USS Thresher, and one can only wonder what her contents are doing down there today. This was also the year some idiot killed that guy with the accent like mine.
1964, was the year of the Beatles invasion, and the vocal cords of 13-year-old girls were genetically altered forever.
In 1965, I watched the Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston fight, but more importantly it was the year Dylan went electric and Dr Zhivago taught us you cannot have too many daffodils.
In 1966, Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton became household names in white America–but very few whites went to the Black Panther Parties being held around the country. Time magazine wanted to know if God was dead. If he is not, he must be in hiding.
1967, can you believe this is the year the Da Vinci Code was discovered? Tom Hanks was 11 years old.
In 1968, we all lost a bit of the Dream when Martin Luther King was assassinated. Public support for the Vietnam war was severely eroded by the My Lai Massacre. And how come there were no “Hot Wheels” when I was a kid?
In 1969, I went back to Connecticut after spending the summer touring the South on my motorcycle. Of course it was the year of Woodstock, and Led Zeppelin. It was also likely the first year I sent my draft card back to Richard Nixon.
In 1970, the Vietnam War came closer to home when 4 Kent State students were killed by the Ohio National Guard. The Chicago 7 were found innocent. We were all guilty of “something” in 1970. It was also of course the year Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died.
In 1971, Nixon declares War on Drugs. That War still drags on 46 years later–with no end in sight. Perhaps we need to learn to pick our fights better. Also, Archie Bunker started putting the truth of our lives right in our faces.
In 1972, George Carlin was arrested for “public obscenities” exercising “free speech” when he said the 7 words you are not allowed to say on TV.
In 1973, after several years of Apollo missions to the moon, “The Dark Side of the Moon” pretty much summed it all up. 1973, was also the beginning of the first oil crisis. Does anyone remember the oil crisis?
1974, was the year of the Watergate Scandal–it could not have happened to a more deserving bunch of guys.
In 1975, my daughter Julia was born–the first time I won the lottery. As Saigon falls so ends the Vietnam War. Microsoft happens.
In 1976, Patty Hearst got us to think about the line between believing and brainwashing–and about picking ones friends more carefully–but ultimately about having friends in high places.
In 1977, my son Klee was born–the second time I won the lottery. The “Force” of Star Wars was with us all. It was no small feat, that small pox was eradicated in this year–do you still carry the scar on your arm?
In 1978, Jim Jones showed us all the power of seduction, delusion, illusion and confusion–taking Kool-Aid to a whole new level.
In 1979, China attempted to lose the term “sibling.” What life-lessons do we miss out on without sibling rivalry?
In 1980, Mt. Saint Helens erupted–she pretty much said it all over the place.
In 1981, AIDS scared the bejeezus out of all of us and still does–whether you are gay or straight–or anything else.
In 1982, we heard about the Falkland War–what the heck was that all about anyway? AT&T was found to be too big for its britches and was ripped into 22 pieces–by all accounts it has not gotten any better.
In 1983, my son Liam was born–the third time I won the lottery, and the year the last DeLorean was made–its Back to the Future again in a couple of years.
1984, turned out to not be very Orwellian after all–I am pretty sure?
In 1985, Tetris and then more Tetris with a dash of Calvin and Hobbes. The French CIA sink the Rainbow Warrior.
In 1986, my daughter Lena was born–the fourth time I won the lottery. Also in this year, the U.S. Senate, in its infinite wisdom, approved a treaty outlawing genocide. Duh!
In 1987, Jerry Falwell learned about free speech the hard way in his loss of an argument with Hustler Magazine, and Barfly was full of free speech!
In 1988, my son Eamon was born–the fifth and last time I won the lottery. This is the year the Soviets left Afghanistan–me thinks we coulda-shoulda learned something about Afghanistan at this time? It was also in this year that the idea of the WWW came into being–oh what a web we have woven.
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez, showed us what our addiction to oil can cost the environment–and–we are still not listening, and seem hungrier than ever. Breaking ground for the first McDonald’s in Russia puts an exclamation point on the old Soviet Union being done.
In 1990, and prior to 1990–and even to this day–the World Health Organization is often quoted as a leading source of “reliable health information.” Yet prior to this year homosexuality was listed as a “disease.” We all, in some way, would be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century–still 10 years away–and that seems to be the biggest dis-ease of all.
In 1991, Russia and 14 other countries were born out of the ashes of the former Soviet Union–and the jury is still out. Dominoes anyone?
In 1992, the Serbians and the Croatians become unreasonable in the extreme–and why does religious tolerance only apply to the other guys religion?
In 1993, “Doom” appeared on computers EVERYWHERE–kids have been doomed ever since.
In 1994, “Shindler’s List” received 7 Oscars and it is now on the “required list” for one to get one’s “Certificate of Being Human”–it is self evident that most people never acquire one. This is also the year we all ran across the country with Forrest Gump living on shrimp, chocolate and what mamma always said.
In 1995, DVD’s arrived–who can honestly remember life without them? They are not likely to be around much longer the way things are going.
In 1996, a computer finally beat a human at chess, the Singularity was upon us.
1997, the whole year could pretty much go sink itself–except for the movie: “Titanic.” Rose did know Jack after all–saying his name 76 times before blowing the whistle.
In 1998, the Iranians decided they wanted to play with nukes too–the U.S. thought the U.S. should be the only ones to play with them, so Iran was not allowed in the sandbox. Of course this was also the year that Bill and Monica discovered they were nothing like John and Marilyn.
In 1999, Brandi Chastain’s goal won the Women’s World Cup for the United States and her celebration will not soon be forgotten.
In the year 2000, obviously, the world ended. Since Y2K, there has been nothing but the infinite void. Anything you read on this list after this point will be all in your head. Of course Tom Hanks, in Castaway was oblivious that it all ended.
2001, “Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?” Not even Kubrick, or any other rational being, could have anticipated the attack on the Twin Towers. All American lives were changed forever as we watched, with tears in our eyes, the towers collapse on live TV. The Nisqually Fault trembled.
In 2002, we were “sold” a war with “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and bombed a 3rd world country back into the stone age.
In 2003, the Human Genome Project was completed–something that will likely turn out to be one of the greatest human achievements–ever. Of course this was also the year Martha Stewart found much smaller quarters to decorate.
In 2004, one could not miss the devastation and the death of over 200,000 people as a result of the earthquake and tsunami near Indonesia.
In 2005, after 8 years of travel, human beings littered Saturn’s moon Titan. Think about that–pretty impressive really–I can get behind littering on this scale—just not on my street!
In 2006, a Jackson Pollock painting that he painted in 1948, sold for $140,000,000.00.
In 2007, the last Harry Potter book was released–one of these days I will have to get around to reading the first.
2008, was the year of the $700,000,000,000.00 bail out–nothing with that many zeros has a right to live.
In 2009, we learned how important avatars are–we should all have a good one. Otherwise, it was pretty much the same old same old—except for those of you born that year.
In 2010, scientists studying the Neanderthal genome discovered that Neanderthal’s and early humans “fooled around,” thus proving that some things never change–and may even be essential. What is up with ducks that mate for life and yet any given clutch of eggs has several different papa ducks?
In 2011, the era of Osama Bin Laden came to an end, but there is likely no end to the others like him that will follow. Also a wall of water attacked Japan, and the US West coast got a wake up call.
2012 marked the year the world did not end; and as far as we know, cataclysmic or otherwise transformative events have not occurred. Encyclopædia Britannica did however succumb to the 21st Century.
In 2013, wacko’s killed innocent people at the Boston Marathon–but the running will always go on.
In 2014, as a planet, we learn about Ebola, but are more captivated by the disappearance of Malaysian Airline’s Flight 360. Also the US decides its time to ease up on Cuba–such a scandal.
In 2015, Ireland votes, as a people, to legalize same sex marriage. Ireland? It is hard to predict where rational thought is going to jump out and surprise us.
In 2016, we learn about the Zika virus, how many of these mystery viruses can there be? Also the British have a “Momentary Lapse of Reason” and Brexit the European Union. We are all underwater holding our breath to see if his Orangeness fulfills our dreams or our nightmares.
2017, Gas costs $2.49 a gallon, is considered “cheap,” and there is still no awareness as to the actual “real” costs to the planet. Also we learn about world scale ransomware attacks.
2018, The world’s last male northern white rhinoceros dies in Kenya, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get married and I want to know who cares and why, and the United States announces it will withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
2019, Donald Trump confirms that the U.S. will leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987, citing Russian non-compliance, the bodies of 39 people are found in a truck container in Essex, England, highlighting the never-ending problem of human trafficking, Twitter bans all political advertising, and brace yourself, we first learn about Covid 19 (but at least it will be gone in a couple of weeks).
2020, was heavily defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to global social and economic disruption, mass cancellations and postponements of events, worldwide lockdowns and the largest economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. 2020 was the worst year in terms of climate change in part due to major climate disasters worldwide, including major bushfires in Australia and the western United States, and lots of big hurricanes.
2021, more COCVID-19 with no end in sight and the country is absurdly divided between science and science deniers, vaccines and anti-vaxxers, and personal freedoms vs public responsibility. The January 6th riot at the capital, in April is a highlight. Russia is already preparing to invade Ukraine, 1/2 the population decides to get vaccinated while the other half would rather play with COVID for another year.
2022, today March 6th, I turn 75, and I am sure those of you still reading are deeply grateful I am not any older. The end of COVID seems to be within reach now, just as Putin reminds us that the END OF IT ALL is possible. Gasoline approached $6.00 per gallon (approaching the environmental cost of gasoline in 1980, but still nowhere near the cost today of $13.00 a gallon).
While my first encounter with Peter Pan came in 1953, I still like to think that there is a part of me that will never grow up. That illusion may get harder to maintain now that I actually have a Medicare Card in my wallet, that I string senior moments together on the soccer field instead of passes, and that I can no longer actually fly.
Now where the heck did I leave those damn marbles?