Confessions of a stick in the mud

There, my deep dark secret is out in the open. But, in my defense, I come by it honestly. My father hated it too.

“The only time a woman succeeds in changing a man, is when he’s a baby.”

— Natalie Wood

I hate change.

There, my deep dark secret is out in the open. But, in my defense, I come by it honestly. My father hated it too.

Dad was the veritable embodiment of resistance to change. And that stick-in-the-mud attitude was never more evident than by his reaction to the Beatles. He hated everything about them. So when my friends starting getting stylish Beatle cuts, I was the odd boy out.

“Why can’t I grow my hair, Dad? Sir John A. MacDonald had long hair.”

“You make a good point, son.”

“I do?” I replied optimistically.

“Yes. And just as soon as you get elected prime minister you can have long hair too.”

Eventually Mom convinced him to relent and I was allowed to grow my hair to a fashionable length. Naturally, Dad hated it. He wasn’t alone. One of our neighbours had four sons all of whom were quintessential long-haired hippies. One day he showed us a picture of them and remarked, “Here’s a photo of my four girls.”

In some ways I’m a lot like my dad. I like tradition. Take hockey, for instance. I’m old school. Back in the day every NHL team had a name ending with an ‘s.’ The Montreal Canadiens, the Detroit Red Wings, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Unfortunately, modern marketing executives think it’s cooler to use the singular noun form. Monikers like Blizzard, Storm and Ice are all the rage.

Half the time I don’t know if I’m listening to a hockey game or the weather forecast.

I’m glad the Canucks got their logo before this trend started. Otherwise we’d probably be cheering for the Vancouver Drizzle. “Go, Drizzle, Go!”

The mind reels.

My reluctance to change has influenced many parts of my life.

For example, I’ve become a genuine technophobe. To me an iPad is something you put on a sore shoulder. X-Boxes are tattered cardboard containers meant for the recycling bin. And a blue tooth is punishment for eating too many popsicles.

It’s the same with TV.

Was there ever a better show than One Day At A Time? Or a better actress than my teenage crush, Valerie Bertinelli?

Someone had the nerve to tell me she just turned 50. Nonsense! I still watch her show on my old VCR and she hasn’t changed a bit!

I recently heard she has a new program. But apparently it’s only available in Cleveland when it’s hot. Must be a summer replacement.

Speaking of crushes, my resistance to change has affected my romantic life too.

I met my dream girl in my 20s. I thought I was a prince. She thought I was a project. There wasn’t anything about me she didn’t want to change — especially my outdated Beatle cut.

Naturally, like any self-respecting Luddite, I dug in my heels. And like any self-respecting woman she called me on it. I whined a little — okay a lot — but eventually made a visit to Fantastic Sam’s.

So I guess we can add a corollary to Natalie Wood’s adage: The only time a woman succeeds in changing a man is when he’s a baby — or acting like one.

Although change is still hard for me, I’m finally come to terms with it. I’m not a ‘60s stick in the mud anymore.

So if you happen to be at Rathtrevor, groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon, I’ll be the guy wearing parachute pants, listening to a Walkman and sporting an achy breaky mullet. But if you recognize me, please don’t point.

Modesty forbids.

After all, it’s reward enough to know I’m finally current, contemporary and cool.


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