Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Years or Back in the Day?

Paddy, Back in the Day


Back in the Day! Don't you just hate that expression? Well, I do...it's bullshit. It seems like those who are saying, "BAck in the Day" are so young these days that they still lounge in SUV strollers. They are the same offspring whose parents deliberately knock me off the sidewalk with these four-wheeled monster trucks.

I actually just googled to see where the origins of this pathetic expression came from and I found it on a list of the most annoying expressions back in the spring of 2008 even though it was already abused back in 2006 and yes, even earlier.

"Back in the Day" conjures up that stand in the line, last minute book of the same name you can buy at the cashier at Urban Outfitters on 14th St. (the same store I typically cruise, look for decent lighting, fix my hair in the mirror and then walk out empty handed). 

The book of the same name and the same lame abused expression was the smart design of photographer Jamel Shabazz. and powerHouse Books who have continued to perpetuate the "good ol' times" in subsequent other gooey-ooey books. 

For the Hip Hop crowd and those of more or less the same generation, it brings a simple Hallmark smirk to the face. We think back on a kinder times when we danced below revolving and falling television sets at the Palladium and after hours, snorted coke at Save the Robots found on the bathroom floor.  As another coinage used in the age of Oprah Winfrey, "Been there, done it." 

The back in the day calculator is very useful. I calculated mine and it seems that from 1986 to 1990 was mine. Which I actually believe was only off by 3-5 years, as my "Back in Day" continued a little longer than I'd like to admit.

"Back in the Day" is the key that let's you into the so called cool group. It's being on the A list and gets you into Susanne Bartsch night at Club Savage, beyond the ropes and past the bridge and tunnel before you became bridge and tunnel and moved to Jersey. They lift you high in the air and Kenny Kenny  the ubiquitous doorman sees you flying high above the suits as your Holly Hobby doll skirt rises above your ass. You don't care because you'll know you'll be through the doors momentarily and handling a dealt hand of drink tickets. Every time you smile, the Manic Panic kabuki make-upon your face feels like cracked southwestern soil and the glittered extra long eyelashes you pasted on four hours ago are falling off, gashing into the soft flesh below your eyes. 

Later when you are old and frail and fragile as I feel right now..."They" have the nerve to make up this expression, so you can sit around with your other same aged counterparts and feel like you once had a chance to be at the top of the world; in other words, you are completely delusional about your position in society, in denial and suffer from low self-esteem. 

You lived in a minimal railroad apartment painted white and silver and couldn't manage bills without a meager handout once a month from your parents.  You fought with your soon to be homosexual boyfriend over tofu hot dogs and how to wash the dishes properly. And you collected change off the floor to buy your monthly supply of Tampax.

However, the imposed pretense of a lost time once better, not only makes you feel miserable but turns you to placate your unfulfilled desires by shopping. But, you can't because you made the poor decision to be an art major in school and now, things really seem lonesome and scary in the midst of an economic crisis. Oh, how sweet it was.

I want to buy up anti-ageing creams even while I have the simultaneous awareness that it won't do a damn' thing. I want to take a nap. I want to take a flight right away to Ft. Lauderdale and prepare a final residence in an old age home, so that one day I'll be in a group of like-minded same aged people who can talk about "Back in the Day".  I'll be sitting in a wheel chair in a circle of other elders in wheel chairs. 

A nurse's aide will put on "Jesse's Girl" and exclaim, "Remember this one ladies and gentlemen? From back in the day...."?! There will be no more than a condescension from a perfect stranger to look forward to in later years.

"Back in the Day" goes back to our ageist fear of living the here and now.  And of course Death too.

I want to know where this cruel phrase came from because I find it very depressing when I hear twenty-somethings talking amongst themselves about "Back in the Day". What could they be talking about... a memory of mothers applauding them for their first success while sitting on the poddy trainer cushion?  "Back in the Day" is another sign that kids don't have much of chance to play and be children...they are already talking like they have lived long and weary lives. I might feel the same way, if I feasted on "Gossip Girl" and believed it was normal to own your own business at 21.

What about today? 

Jamel Shabazz is still super smart and still is making nostalgic books that pull us into a backwards catatonia. Like many savvy business women and men he makes super bucks on our fears of growing old and are need to cling on to a past far gone,  flawlessly reenacted in the delusional follies of our fading grey matter.

I know I could find out who coined "Back in the Day" if I searched enough. Maybe I'm too lazy...but, I rather someone lead the way and tell me their own personal story about this manipulative expression.

In the name of "Back in the Day." I will now reflect on an East German singer who came into my life and became an early mentor. Nina Hagen. And Happy New Year and Years to come!

Video to come shortly! It's worth the wait. Yes, I know....Beasley needs to learn how to copy edit and make side gadgets and put in cool videos! I need your help. 

Some and most and even myself will say "Beasley, you are a hypocrite!"

Yes, it's true...this is a memoir blog and no less through photographs taken and seen. Every time we click the shutter another memory is bound to be embedded in coming years with a variety of interpretations. But, that doesn't mean that I think they shouldn't annihilate "Back in the Day" from the list of American expressions.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmm...just tried the Back in the Day calculator and it seems to give a different result each time you try it. So if you click around long enough, your desired year will finally turn up.

JuJu said...

thanks for letting me know. i realized that i am still living in the day or at least trying to even if i'm enamored with the tales and lessons of the past.

best!

A. Jesse Jiryu Davis said...

Shabazz talked to a class I was in last year. In Shabazz's defense, he's still photographing and showing new work to publishers -- he said publishers just aren't interested in his recent photos. So blame the publishers.

JuJu said...

That's a good point and it's good to hear that he is working on new material. The publishers indeed are just looking for an easy money maker.