Every few weeks I get a "Do you remember the 50s?" e-mail. You know the ones. They’re paeans to the good old days when men were men, women were women and life was always better. But where are the realistic fifties e-mails? The ones that tell the rest of the story. Ones like this:
If you’re old enough to remember Nehi grape soda and Studebakers with tailfins, you probably grew up in the fifties, the absolute best time there ever was in the whole wide world. As a child of the fifties, you’ll remember:
* Swimming in the neighborhood city pool on hot, sweaty summer days except, of course, for the times the pool was closed during the polio epidemics.
* Eating at the drugstore lunch counter where you’d get the chololatiest chocolate malted milkshake you could ever imagine and you never had to worry about sitting next to one of those pesky Negroes.
* Riding in your uncle’s ‘57 Chevy convertible with the top down, feeling the wind in your hair and the dashboard crashing into your head since no one worried bout silly things like seat belts.
* Drinking as much beer as you could hold and then driving your friend’s car as fast as you could because no one made a fuss about something as common as drinking and driving.
* Listening to the song stylings of singers like Pat Boone, Bill Haley and Elvis Presley without being concerned about the black original artists who they stole from.
* Watching Billy get into trouble at school for throwing spitballs and then getting the strap from the teacher until his knuckles bled.
* Laughing at stupid Bobby until he cried because he could never read properly and nobody knew what a learning disability was.
* Watching the Army-McCarthy hearings on your black and white TV and being thankful that Senator Joe McCarthy was protecting America from those godless commies including the ones who wouldn’t name names.
* Listening to Father McGuire preach about love and respect after he had just molested one of the altar boys in the sacristy.
* Making fun of Steve and calling him a fairy, a pansy and a homo and not even feeling sorry after he committed suicide because no one cared about gays.
* Smiling when little Susie said she wanted to grow up to be a doctor because everyone knew it was silly to think a girl could do that.
* Calling kids funny names like kike and spic and wop because they were different and it was a fun thing to do.
If you can remember any or all of these things, then you remember the fifties and, if you gave it a moment’s thought, you’d be glad those "good old days" are over.