Aging Gracefully or Why Dick Clark Should Retire

Or maybe not.

Last night I was astonished to find that “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” had been edited to down to allow regular programming, including the normal Monday evening newscast. New Year’s Eve used to be sacred in terms of programming, as was Saturday morning, but now it seems we must be updated every minute of every day with news. I believe in being well informed but there are times, and places, that I want to be news free. These include the bank, restaurants (except sports bars) and Whole Foods. You read that right – even my local Whole Foods installed a flat screen TV.

It doesn’t help that the Fox News is the program of choice. But I digress – back to New Year’s Eve. Dick Clark celebrated in the background the entire evening of every New Year’s Eve party I ever attended. His music and banter carved out a safe place to celebrate the final moments of a year that (more often that not) had its share of sadness. When he started the countdown everyone stopped and the problems of the world were suspended for 10 shiny seconds when everything was possibility.

Now the world crowds every minute leaving precious little time to absorb and reflect what we see. The moments when we should be celebrating we are waiting – waiting for the next headline, for the second shoe to drop or just plain waiting because we have forgotten how to be in the moment.

It pained me to stay in the moment as Dick Clark (his speech still impaired after his 2004 stroke) struggled through his lines. I did though and shared, with all the world, an altogether human moment. He finished his countdown, did a few scripted lines and then struggled to say more. He couldn’t find any words. He raised his arms and his eyebrows, as if to give up, when his wife rushed to his side, hugged him close and kissed him happy new years.

I checked IMDb (wikipeidia and IMDb keep me up to date on popular culture) – they have been married for 30 years. From the look of it she cares deeply for him. I respect that and wonder, factoring age, available spouses and interest, whether Five Husbands will be so fortunate in her later years.

I hope so.

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