If visiting Key Largo is on your bucket list, go fetch that Sharpie pen and cross it off, because watching this video is just. Like. Being. There. You will have no need of travel; this video will transport you, not only with Bertie Higgins’ smooth soft rock stylings, but with its scrumtrulescent fashion choices (a white blazer a solid TWO YEARS before Don Johnson would affect the style on Miami Vice), rich, dark locks like a swarthier Kenny Rogers (with a dash of Grizzly Adams), and a gold necklace that so intrigues me.
It takes a certain kind of man to wear a gold parrot necklace, and Bertie is that man.
Look at him, propped against a pole, his lion’s mane blowing in the breeze, his face to the sun like he is a jungle king. He takes a drag and exhales his alpha male breath while his lapel laps against his sun-damaged brown skin. Suddenly, he turns and looks seductively at me. ME! (Swoon). I am weak in the knees. He is whispering to me. Is that a pineapple on his shirt? The way he says “watching” blows my mind. It’s like the lyrics are the breeze, soft and sultry upon my grateful ears. How can that lamp pole against which he is leaning possibly support all that rugged manliness? It must be made of steel.
Just prior to the the minute mark, we witness Higgins in profile, as the sun dances on the rippling sea. Glistening. Then he reaches out to his daughter, a cardigan casually draped about her shoulders like she stepped right out of The Official Preppy Handbook, and she flashes her Aquafresh smile.
What the freak? Suddenly I realize this is not his daughter. This is not my beautiful house! This is his love interest. This big-banged thing, barely past adolescence? She’s the Bacall to his Bogie? Are you kidding me? And then it hits me.
Lauren Bacall was only 19 when she met Humphrey Bogart, 25 disgusting years her senior. Now it all makes sense. They are just like Bogie and Bacall. The truthiness of the song overwhelms me.
Bertie and Courtney Cox’s little sister (let’s call her Ainsley) jaunt up a hill, as he holds steadfastly to his jacket at his shoulder like a mack daddy. Uh-oh. Slow down. There is no chemistry here. How awkwardly they embrace. Like he’s her uncle. And then I see–it wasn’t pineapples on his blouse. It was never pineapples. It’s starfish or poinsettias or some Hawaiian flower that’s not indigenous to my native land, but whatever–I feel deceived. Manipulated. Betrayed.
Soon, they are on a boat together, gazing into each other’s eyes, assessing each other’s caterpillar Brooke Shields’ eyebrows, and giggling. He’s not so bad after all, she thinks. He has a boat. Preppies love boats. He’s wearing another non-pineapple Hawaiian shirt, this time in navy. First it was the innocence of white, but now it’s navy, a harbinger of the thunderstorm brewing not so far away. Can this love last?
At 1:49, suddenly they are traveling down a palm tree-lined boulevard, presumably in a convertible. But where is the driver? Are they on a float in a parade? Are they in Key Largo or Santa Monica? Bertie does his “shrug and cock the head to the side” move to emote his romantical feelings, and she looks away like she doesn’t exactly understand English, like an Italian exchange student, silently cursing herself for not buying Rosetta Stone, or like she just saw an ugly dress in the window of Macy’s and has to turn away before she vomits.
But Bertie soldiers on. He makes more Bogart classic movie references: “Please say you will play it again” (Play it again, Sam), which is lost on her, as she is just out of her Saturday morning cartoon phase. And yet, something attracts her.
At the 2:27 mark, Ainsley moves her teeth to her bottom lip to make the “F” sound. She’s considering forsaking all the feathered-hair frat boys at college and actually getting it on with this dude who is like totally her dad’s age. Gag me. And yet…that gold necklace…is so…reflective of light. And I can nearly smell the Sex Panther wafting off his virile body.
As the song nears the end, he croons, “Here’s lookin’ at you, Kid,” which makes sense because it was only a year ago that she was a kid. But wait. Bogie didn’t even say that line to Bacall in the movie, Key Largo. He said it to Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca. Is he cheating on her? Is this his subtle hint?
The video ends with the couple walking along the shoreline at dusk. I sense the sun has also set on their relationship. As much as she likes his boat, she’s begun to spy little grey hairs in his beard, and he’s been complaining of arthritis in his knuckles. After all, he was born in the middle of WWII. She cannot fathom a life of administering Geritol each morning and separating his white blazers from his colors in the laundry.
But the best evidence are the lyrics themselves. “We had it all.” Had. Past tense. And like Bacall, she will move on to other men and star in a new “late late show.” Yes, it’s bittersweet. But was she really enough woman for all that man? I think not.
Another day, another dorm, another opportunity to ask, “Why?” This here is a shot of the ladies of the dorm labelled simply as “2-A” in the 1973 Indiana University annual. I’m not sure what catches the eye first: the look of ennui and apathy from Heavy-Lidded Ladyfingers in the front row, or her barefoot buddy holding a bottle of Vermont Maple Syrup on her knee. Or is it not maple syrup? Yes, I skipped vested turtleneck woman.
Then we have the skipper, whose eyes are shut, holding some sort of stuffed animal, a girl with a violin, a girl with a tennis racket, a girl with a GOLDFISH BOWL and a shirt that reads “Jesus” where the Pepsi logo should be. We make our way back with the wallflower, the trio of alcoholics, your nobody (she called today), the one in the unfortunate circus pants, the two Jan Bradies (prone to suffering from the Jan Brady Effect), and the girl in the classic mannequin head with a shag hairdo on a platter pose. It never gets old. Speaking of the two Jans, chances were high that one of these girls was actually named Janet or Janice, which ranked high during their birth year.
But the top five names were:
Still, who wouldn’t want to be a Marcia (other than Gloria Steinem, who turns 80 today)?
Today I will use my new 1973 Indiana University yearbook to play an installment of Hat Association Game. Here goes.
When I see this:
I think of Miss Mary J Blige:
And this corduroy-clad kiddo:
When I see this:
I think of afghan throws and crocheted potholders.
When I see this:
I think several things at the same time, but one of them is, “Is he really wearing a floral velvet newsboy cap with a tassle ball on top? That takes juevos.” I believe that Lance Gross proves that hat style can evolve for the better.
And lastly, when I see this:
I think of playing poker in what is clearly not a shower cap, but then I am distracted by the chipmunk cheeks of his friend, and I think of Tito Jackson.
And then I think of Tito Jackson in an oversized newsboy cap.
And Tito Jackson in a brown derby.
Which reminds me of the restaurant, the Brown Derby.
Which makes me hungry. So I’m going to head to the kitchen and fry up some free-range eggs. And I know just the hat to wear!
I realize one day I will have to defend the 1980s to my son. He will ask the big questions, and I will do my best to make sense of that decade. Everything in excess, big and sprayed and sparkly. But NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING can defend the 1970s. What were you thinking? The entire country did not collectively drop acid in 1973, but you could have fooled me. Witness this scene from Indiana University.
I realize the times, they were a-changing. The times are always a-changing. I understand that having your friends and family drop dead right and left in a war we didn’t win was no picnic. In fact, I read just today about a six-foot college man who weighed 145 lbs at the time he was drafted and forced himself to drop down to 123 (officially underweight) to fail his physical and consequently avoid service in Vietnam. Now that’s drastic. The fact that 145 was not underweight for a six-footer is equally absurd.
When the clock chimed New Year’s Day in 1973, our boys were still overseas. The stats are staggering: over 8 million GIs were on active duty during the Vietnam War from August 1964 to March 1973. EIGHT MILLION.
Other things that happened in 1973:
Pong was the big arcade game.
The MRI was invented. Have you had one? I have. It’s like being trapped in a tube with a pounding hammer in your brain while time stands still. And then they bill you $7K and tell you the diagnosis isn’t certain. Awesome!
President Nixon asserted that he was not a crook.
Singer Jim Croce died in an airplane crash.
Bruce Lee suffered “death by misadventure” when his brain increased 13% in size.
The Best Actor Award went to Marlon Brando for The Godfather, but because he was rendered immobile from overcarbing and was overcome with white guilt about the treatment of Native Americans, he thought it would be a most excellent time to send the Mazola lady in his place (you call it corn; we call it maize). Oh, it wasn’t the Mazola lady? Sorry, it was in fact Marie Cruz (Sacheen Littlefeather was not real name) to graciously refuse Brandon’s award for him, because the Oscars was a super forum to do that. Fortunately, his gesture healed all race relations, so it proved to be a great idea. And lest you think I’m harsh on Littlefeather, I refer you to her integrity-filled Playboy spread.
Speaking of air bags, they were first used in the Oldsmobile Toronado that year. I’ve never heard of it, either, but I am saying it with a proper Spanish accent. Toronado.
Anyway, this was what 1973 looked like in Bloomington, Indiana and perhaps most of the country. It’s enough to make a girl staple her knees together and live the celibate life.
I believe it was Grace Slick who said, “And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re bound to fall, well, tell ’em a hookah, a smoking caterpillar has given you the call.” What on earth?
You think that’s odd? These college kids listened to a sermon from a blind Viking named Moondog. I did not make that up.
These were college-educated lucid students who KNEW it was portrait day and yet CHOSE to show up looking like this.
Yummy! A Hollywood Squares of hot bachelors! You KNOW I choose Bachelor #2. I’ve never dated a scarecrow hybrid.
Inflation caused gas prices to skyrocket from 36 cents in 1972 to 40 cents in 1973. I know that’s like COINS, but it was a big deal at the time. They had to resort to alternatives.
Again I stand by my celibacy comment.
These folks may have missed a ticket all aboard the Love Train, but fortunately they found themselves (wasted) in the back of this Chevy truck. I guess The Levee wasn’t dry that day. If only that truck were a DeLorean, they could time-travel to the 1980s, put a clean Izod on, get a shave, a haircut and a hot shower! Far out, man.
Yay, I scored a new yearbook today! You Indiana people (who know who you are) should feel excited! You might want to defend your public university here and explain why these ladies would have posed for a portrait in their towels. Why would they agree to that? Plus, towels then were so small. Think about those awful scratchy towels in your grandparents’ linen closet. Yuck. We don’t even use towels in our house, only “bath sheets” as tall as we are, plush and soft against our skin. Come to think of it, my dorm never took a group shot at all. Not in clothes or out of them. So much about the 1970s that doesn’t make sense…