“That’s an odd title for a blog entry,” you might be saying.
Well, believe it or not, I heard a song the other day that got me thinking and remembering a quieter, simpler time in America. You know, when music, TV, & radio joined forces to motivate a nation. They were days of old when we could communicate with our ears and eyes as well as our mouth. No thumbs were needed, unless you were hitch-hiking. Salad days … when some people would watch others … just to make the time go by and to learn about common human behavior. Those times were even entertaining enough to create music to celebrate…just watching.
The song that brought back my memories was more specifically about girls, a special kind of people. It was called:
Bob Crewe…yes, a real guy, was watching girls on a TV commercial drinking Diet Pepsi, while nearby guys…watched. He absolutely loved the instrumental song played during the commercial and thought it had great hit potential. Subsequently, Mr. Crewe, an accomplished song writer, recorded it, and it did become an enormous hit.
Music to watch people was quite prevalent in those days in many other songs too. There was another hit by a group of studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew recorded in 1966. They fronted so many hit singles in the 60’s and 70’s, it was embarrassing for me to discover they were playing all the instruments on nearly every hit song of that period ever made. The Crew chose the group name of The T-Bones for a song called:
No Matter What Shape Your Stomach’s In.
It was for a stomach pain reliever commercial for Alka-Seltzer for folks who apparently ate too many T Bone steaks. The commercial featuring the song displayed plenty of close-ups of odd shaped people in various unflattering poses…usually with their out of shape bulging stomachs bouncing in rhythm to the notes. When released as a single record it soared to number 3 in the USA.
And who can forget Barbara Streisand singing about People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.
My point is…watching people today ain’t what it used to be. I mean, who has the time? No more spending hours lounging at the airport waiting for a flight or an arrival by enjoying the view…people. No more enjoying the glistening beach bodies by the shore. Usually, it’s just folks trying to stuff too much body into too little suit. No fun there. The mall used to be another favorite hangout of young and old alike back when…before there were cell phones and the Internet.
But today, there’s no time to look, no time to comment, no time to think. We’re all too busy communicating? We’re twittering away our time on Twitter or facing a false reality on Facebook. Communication has certainly suffered and in many cases, just plain died. We now speak in a sort of short hand world which turns the word “you” into “u” and “great” into “g8”. No one would pass a spelling test anymore. No need for writing long hand either…except maybe your signature. Many schools don’t even teach it. And love letters…forget it.
So, what has been lost in this rush to take another selfie, post another comment, and retweet another tweet? Communication has suffered. I always found airport watching was my favorite. I would eavesdrop on conversations or watch people in the minutia of life getting by, surviving, and just plain living. It was an educational experience. There was so much to learn from others and their trials and tribulations. On my best days, I would make up the dialogue they said as they were darting by. “Slow down or you’ll hurt yourself.” “When are we getting to the gate?” “I told you, Fred, to turn left at the reservation desk didn’t I?”
Now we watch our selfies on our cell phones, watch a video on our cell phones, and we watch Netflix on our devices. Devices? Really, that was the best name they could think of? We text, we twitter, we Instagram, we post on Facebook, we…NEVER…look up. But the parade of people keeps marching by. We missed it all. We missed out on real communication, person to person, in our minds, or in our hearts.
Technology will change the world…they told us, oh so many years ago. And it has, and it is marvelous and convenient and exciting. It does bring us closer to the world. But, in many ways technology does not make for as interesting an afternoon at the airport as it used to. Think about it…and today take some time to really communicate with your loved ones, your best friends, your boss. Face to face. Eyeball to eyeball. Mano y mano. Perhaps you will write the next big instrumental hit sweeping the nation called…Music To Stare At Your Devices As The Girls Walk By. Now get writing…but first…did you see what Kim Kardashian just tweeted? Oh, never mind!