Wednesday, June 22, 2011


When I was in 10th grade I was cast as Rip Van Winkle in the school play. At the time I sported a flat-top haircut – the same post-war style my father wore. (I had some of that gel glop that I used to flatten it down when the center started to grow faster than the edges; this was no doubt a very flattering look.) But even I knew that a flat-topped Rip Van Winkle would look stupid; I decided to let my hair grow so that by opening night I was able to comb it over into a style I later learned was called – no kidding – the “collegiate.” This exercise in thespian verisimilitude was the beginning of the end of the flat-top for men all over the country. Soon everyone was wearing the collegiate – and it all started with an experience that could be summarized as “Dick Jorgensen is Rip Van Winkle!”

A few years later, I was spinning a drug-store rack and came upon a book called “The Lord of the Rings.” I was intrigued because we’d just read “The Lord of the Flies” in English class, so I thought I’d give this new book a try. I loved it. The next week the cover of Time blared, “Lord of the Rings Sweeps Nation!” Who knew that a reporter was looking over my shoulder at the Rexall?

Time marched on. I discovered a small restaurant called "McDonalds" and gave it my business; I abandoned my eight-track tape player. Years later, I thought my feet looked stupid (there’s that word again) in Earth Shoes. So good-by Earth Shoes – for me, and for all of the fashion world.

I began to think that I was a trend-setter, or, perhaps, the fabled “Everyman.” And it’s happening again. After giving the Facebook the old college try for a year or so, I find my enthusiasm for the medium waning (oh, certainly not for your posts, dear Friend). So my usage is slipping into infrequency. Sure enough, as soon as I realized this was happening I saw this headline in “Is Facebook’s Growth Slowing?” Sorry, Facebook. And look out, Twitter; I’m about to give you a try. What will Everyman’s verdict be?

(Of course there’s always the exception that proves the rule. Back in those flat-top days I was attracted for a time to a new sensation, “The Beatles,” but quickly rejected them and turned back to my beloved Kingston Trio. The Fab Four somehow managed to survive.)   


Anonymous said...

Hey, where's the picture of you as Rip Van Winkle sporting the " collegiate"?
That's not to be missed!

Warren Hanson said...

The line that collapsed me into giggles was, "I began to think that I was a trend-setter."

Warren Hanson said...

Actually, I was no trend-setter myself. I do remember the hair goop. It was generally called Butch Wax, and the brand I used was Rose's El Butcho Wax. I put it on so thick some days that my head was like a candle with ten thousand skinny wicks.