- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Trapped In A Time Warp
Science fiction gave us the time warp, an imaginary way people from one era can leap forward and backward in time. Culture and fashion give us time warps, too, but they’re real, and instead of letting people move through time, they set a deadly trap—locking you in the past.
The other day I was pumping gas into my car when I heard a commotion down the street. An old Volkswagen bus pouring smoke clattered into the Hess station. Seemed like nothing but bumper stickers held it together. Things like “Love One Another,” “Peace,” and “Bare Feet, Not Arms.” And of course it had the requisite peace symbol. Seeing it was like going back to 1968. It was a cliché straight from the Haight-Ashbury.
Out stepped an old fellow with long grey hair hanging to his waist. He was as bland as oatmeal except for a greasy tie-dyed T-shirt. Does this hipster smoke left-handed cigarettes and see the establishment as his enemy? Probably. The ’60s surely must have been his golden era. He never left that decade and that’s why he’s trapped in a time warp.
A lot of afternoons when I get my run in I see a fellow in his seventies with a crisp, snow-white Marine haircut taking a brisk walk. His Marine days are long behind him, but he still has that distinctive cut. A recruit’s first haircut is a rite of passage from civilian life to the service, but for him it became a hairstyle for eternity, yet another time warp.
And you’ve seen the Greg Allman wannabes. Long, blond hair, tattooed arms, and a wispy goatee. Problem is Greg Allman’s a rocker with a lot of bucks and his appearance fits his profession. When you’re a hitchhiker, though, that look makes you seem a tad dangerous. Hike on brother and enjoy that time warp!
In the mall, I saw a man with a ducktail cut. I can’t recall the last time I saw one of those. Maybe back in high school? His was industrial strength, a mallard on steroids. I never saw so much hair wasted in such a bad cut. Pomade held back two tsunamis of hair poised to collide in the middle of his head. He was a greaser but all the grease from his era dried out in the ’50s. Yet here he is in 2009, stuck in a time warp.
Last week I saw a woman with big hair fashionable in the ’80s. She had her mane of blonde hair fluffed up high like she was the lead vocalist in some glam rock band. The time it takes to coif, curl, cascade, and sculpt that “do” must take hours. Her hair had more layers than a celebrity wedding cake and more bangs than a 21-gun salute. The only thing rivaling her hair were the high society wigs of 18th Century Europe. What, I wonder, trapped her in the ’80s? I’d wager flattery did her in.
Let’s turn back the clock to 1982 and eavesdrop on two women folding clothes in a laundromat: “Wow, Nicole, your hair is gorgeous. I swear child, you look just like Farrah Fawcett.”
“Why goodness, Rene. You really think so? Thank you!” (Jubilant thoughts: “That clinches it. I’ll stick with this ‘do’ the rest of my life. I’m set!”)
Back in the ’80s, I almost got trapped myself. I was a big fan of “Miami Vice,” in particular Don Johnson. My friends and I loved the show and would stay home to watch it Friday nights or tape it for viewing Saturday. I had a bit of extra interest in the show because a girl had told me I looked like Don Johnson. The fact that she had legally blind status meant nothing to me. I even joked that my name was “Jon Dohnson.”
One evening, my friend, Burns, and I decided to go out on the town in our finest Miami Vice attire. I had a stubble of beard and wore peach-colored linen pants, a mint green T-shirt with a beige linen jacket and, of course, Wayfarers. We went to Panama Jacks, a place awash with music and lovely women. Within five minutes, a pair of lovelies sidled up to Burns and me. We gave each other a wink. And then—disaster!
The blonde cupped her hand over her mouth and said to her brunette friend, “This creep thinks he looks like Don Johnson.” Then they started pointing us out to others and laughing.
Thirty minutes later Burns and I were back home ordering a pizza. Our night was over before it began and—big sigh of relief!—that fiasco saved me from an ’80’s time warp. Ridicule can be a good thing.
Time warps can be of recent vintage too. I saw a guy at the bookstore all dressed up like Yanni in a white suit with a white T-shirt and a mane of hair black as a crow’s wings. He sported a bushy mustache Gene Shalit would die for. He looked like some cat hired to drive a limousine for a high school prom. You’d think his friends would pull him aside and tell him the ’90s ended ten years ago.
Why do some get stuck in a time warp when most of us move on? Maybe they long for what was their day in the sun. It’s a trap nonetheless. Folks, you have to keep moving with the times or risk becoming a dinosaur. So affect your best Clint Eastwood voice and ask yourself a question. “Are you stuck in a time warp, punk? Well are you?”
The times they keep a’changing and if you don’t want to be the target of pointing fingers and stares, laughter even, take a good look in the mirror. Are you in 2011 or some decade long covered in dust?
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Anything characterized by high energy, originality, humor and intelligence is bound to get my attention. I was at an annual fund-raising party for an alternative art center called Nexus in about 1986. Touring the studios I kept being distracted from the visual art by some very interesting Rock 'n Roll. I wasn't the only one. A large segment of the crowd was gathered around the Swimming Pool Qs in the courtyard. Once in their vicinity I was there for as long as they would play. In any field of endeavor certain efforts stand out and the Qs were (are) definitely one Read on →
For some reason, a letter from the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation was characterized as having been received by NBC News, as if it were some sort of privileged communication. In fact, the thing was a press release and rather obviously designed to change the conversation about the Heritage Foundation from trying to defend the indefensible "study" of Hispanic intellectual insufficiency to food stamps, a real two-fer issue. Two-fer in the sense of being offensive on two fronts since the dollars doled out represent a subsidy to industrial agriculture, even as they serve to remind the indigent that, if they're Read on →
My beloved colleagues in Teh Media sure get on my last damn nerve. Most of the time it's just from sloppy work or jumping on whatever bandwagon is rolling by at the time, something along the lines of a pet peeve. Like when my Twitter list of political reporters blows up with some hashtag meme instead of actual reporting. Today it's #Obamacareinthreewords, launched by that icon of credibility, Rep. Darrell Issa. It's the second time around for that one -- Rep. Kevin McCarthy launched it the first time last June. (@WhiteHouse even got in on it, tweeting "It's.The.Law." Republicans responded with "arrogance Read on →
When I sat in that old church built in the Gothic style surrounded by the music that the organist was playing, I was thankful to be in such a peaceful setting, far away in body and spirit from the violence that holds so many lives hostage in this world of cruelty and tumult. In a church where people pray for peace, forgiveness and love--all of which seem so lacking in our world--I wonder at times how we manage to reconcile what we wish the world were like and how it actually is. Sitting there in such a calm and safe spot, Read on →