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.