Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Innocently Ignorant

We all know the phrase ‘innocence of a child’, and how imaginative the world seemed when we perceived things through our untainted-by-the-real-world prism. And I find it cathartic to look back to these days when not only were things simpler, but they were also just plain illogical. This is believing in Santa Claus kind of stuff.
 I had two huge misconceptions about how the world was, and in both cases it truly crushed me when I found out how things really were.
The first had to do with radio. Those who grew up in the Akron area in the late 1960s knew of WHLO 640 AM radio. With BIG Tim Phillips in the morning. Big Tim would play the top-40 hits on a tight rotation, and I would listen to The Archies playing Sugar Sugar, then a commercial break, then Donovan would sing Mellow Yellow. I was fascinated by this.
Because you see, in my mind, I thought the bands were actually in Big Tim’s studio playing the songs live. Never dawned on me that he was spinning records. My mind saw The Archies walking in, and when Big Tim announced, “Annnnd here’s The Archies with their smash hit Sugar Sugar….” That was the cue for Archie and Reggie to start singing. Accompanied by Betty and Veronica on tambourines, of course. I wanted to rush down to the WHLO studios, cuz of course I had a crush on Betty. And then they would quickly leave the studio while Donovan waltzed it, set up and crooned Mellow Yellow! And they did this all between a commercial break for Rick Case Honda! Amazing!
Alas, the bubble burst when my older brother informed me one day, “Hey Nimrod. He’s playing records.”
That harsh reality required about six months of frying ants with a magnifying glass as a coping mechanism.
My next shocking wakeup to how the world worked had to do with the American Golf Classic. This was a staple of ABC Sports every Saturday afternoon during the winter months, where, in a given week, Julius Boros would be pitted against Ken Venturi with the winner advancing to face the winner of last week’s Johnny Pott v Bert Yancey matchup. These matches were played at the famed Firestone Country Club in Akron, my hometown. And every Saturday, from December through March, there would be two new golfers playing Firestone in sunny weather, in short sleeves on a course a green as Ireland itself.
Meanwhile, I am looking outside at two feet of snow.
My mind could not comprehend the concept of videotape. It never dawned on me that the matches were recorded last summer for playback during winter months. NO! These pros were playing Firestone RIGHT NOW! I mean, I’m watching them!
So I concluded the following. I lived in Cuyahoga Falls, which is just north of Akron.  Firestone was south of Akron. So in my mind there was a magical ‘line of weather’ that existed somewhere between my living room and Firestone, a distance of about 20 miles, where weather magically transformed from ten degrees and three feet of snow to sunny and 80 degrees. It made total sense to me, because it fit the juxtaposition of snow outside and sunshine on TV.
I informed my dad of this.
I told my dad that I wanted to go to Firestone Country Club TODAY. Being an adult, and my dad (translation: he thought kids were nuts), he said to me, “Son, you’re a kid. You’re nuts.” But no I’m not dad! LOOK! Orville Moody just made a birdie on the 16th hole! See the water tower? It’s Firestone! And it’s sunny and warm! LET’S GO!
My dad, in his usual manner when faced with these sorts of mindfucks I concocted, did his usual routine with me. He pulled out a Winston, lit it, took a couple of long drags, and proceeded to tell me that this was all make-believe.
My dad then laughed, realizing my child innocence. So he took me there. Firestone had the same three feet of snow on the ground that we had in Cuyahoga Falls.
So now it was totally obvious to me what happened.
They got a snow storm right after Orville putted out on 18.
Good thing they got that round in.