The 1970s were one of the best decades in world history! Music was good, atmosphere was good, clothes were comfortable, and all the protests from the 1960s produced a decade of relaxation. Everybody was worn out from the 1960s, cops, hippies, veterans, everyday people, and so on so the 1970s became downtime for all. Of course, had we known what kind of decade it would usher in with the 1980s (remember the clothes and hair?), we might’ve done things differently, but that’s another blog.
My teenage years were during the 1970s and I definitely took advantage of it. I had a large group of friends and we all seemed to get along back then. In Wisconsin (can’t speak for other states) weed and alcohol were plentiful for us kids and our social lives seemed to revolve around it. It was a time of freedom that I haven’t seen since. Even the cops were laid back.
COP: Is this your bag of weed?
KID: Yes, um, I mean no.
COP: See what I’m doing? (He dumps out the bag onto the ground).
KID: Aw man! Um, I mean, my mom sure is going to be upset when I don’t bring her bag of oregano back…
COP: Sure she is. Now you kids run along.
KID: What about our beer?
COP: No sense dumping out perfectly good beer, is there? (Even the cops in Wisconsin value beer).
KID: No, that’d be bogus, man.
COP: So I’ll just keep it for safekeeping until you turn 18, ok? (Drinking age was 18 back then).
That was the 1970s. The cops went from being almost militant in the 1960s to acting like everybody’s big brother in the 1970s. Stealing beer is just what a responsible big brother would do.
One of the shows I really like to watch is “That 70s Show.” Yeah, it’s a comedy, but there are a lot of factual pieces to the show. I remember (barely) having circle times in my friend’s basement, we went to a lot of concerts, everybody had a Kelso in their group (sometimes two!), and they’re always seemed to be one dad who was always threatening to put his “foot in our asses.” Good times…
Another thing we used to do that they did in the show is sneak out. Even though I know other generations snuck out too, this is my blog so we did it better. Sometimes it was out the window, sometimes it was boldly out the door, and sometimes it took some deeply thought out lie.
ME (to my parents): I’m spending the night at Nick’s.
NICK (to his parents): I’m spending the night at Dazeodrew’s.
That master plan is what got me to my very first concert…RUSH! Of course, neither of us had a driver’s license yet and the concert was 30 miles out of town at Alpine Valley, but no matter…we had tickets! We eventually found a ride and it was all worth it. The opening bands were Humble Pie and Sweet, but as good as they were, they weren’t Rush. Rush had come out with the album 2112 and all of us pretended we could air drum the entire first side. Other bands, we would air guitar to, but Rush had Neil Peart, possibly the best drummer who ever lived! Yeah, none of us could get it right. Of course, I mentioned the 1970s were filled with weed and alcohol so we all thought we were drumming the parts perfectly and in unison. The reality was more like this:
LITTLE BOY (talking to his mom): Mommy? What’s wrong with those boys?
MOM (pulling her little boy close): I don’t know. They’re either having seizures or they’re on drugs.
LITTLE BOY: Maybe dad needs to come down here and put his foot in their asses…
I went to plenty more concerts after that, but the first one is always the memorable one. As a kid, when you finally make it to your first one (without your parents hovering around), you have the feeling of, “I have arrived!” I never had to lie to my parents again about going to a concert because it turned out they were cool with the whole thing, but it could have gone differently. You see, most lies eventually unravel, or you have to perpetuate them to keep them alive…but they still unravel in the end.
DAD: Oh, where did you get this shirt? Who’s Rush?
ME: Um, it was a gift from Nick…
DAD: That was nice of him. Did you give him your shirt then?
DAD: Well, I wondered if you gave him your shirt from the concert? Wasn’t the concert the same night you stayed at Nick’s?
ME: How did you…
DAD: The concert dates are listed on the back of your shirt…dumbass.
Of course, it could’ve been worse. Nick’s parents figured out our lie about the concert too. Remember how I said we all had that one dad who threatened to put their “foot in our asses?” That was Nick’s dad…