Becoming older to the cadence of Paul Harvey

February 06, 2013 01:41 pm

This weekend I had the pleasure of being mauled by the nephews. I asked them, “Do you remember trying to cook me last time I visited?” The 8-year-old said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Then he informed me that I am old. He went on to say that old people have trouble remembering things. 

Reminded of their previous cannibalism, I attempted to tell the story of Hansel and Gretel, but I forgot how it went. The 8-year-old helped fill in the important gaps.

My nephews like remote control cars, movies, and video games of which, I’m afraid, I cannot relate, but the 6-year-old and I share a favorite band, as well as his new favorite song, “Johnny B. Good” by Chuck Barry, which is extremely old. 

After the nephew mauling, I went to a concert with the only friend who will stay up past 9 p.m. She asked me when was the last time I saw a show. I told her David Grisman on New Year’s Eve. She said, “Yeah, that’s what old people do on New Year’s.”

Sunday I parked myself on the sofa with my brother’s family for the Super Bowl, a show where you don’t wait for the commercials to talk because, well, those are just as important as the game.

Advertising is an arena that often pinpoints demographics so definitely it is easy to tell the market audience, like the nightly news. I prefer to read my news so as to avoid the lengthy prescription pill and facelift commercials for which I am not their target. Yet.

My favorite commercial, during the hedonistic night of marketing, was late in the game. It was rich with photography, both lush and stark, of “Anywhere, U.S.A.” The recognizable voice of Paul Harvey told us that God made farmers on the eighth day of creation. There were scenes of mown hay fields, mountains, and cattle, dogs and people who looked like they work outside.

I worked in radio during my senior year in high school. The new owner said when he took over the station he changed the news affiliate strictly so he could get Paul Harvey’s show, so I became familiar with his stories and cadence, and oh, talk about a sales pitchman! Any product he promoted you were convinced that you just HAD TO GO BUY IT.

Touched by that ad I had to post how “Wallowa County” it was. Someone replied it looked like New Mexico while another friend said it had to be western New York. 

The next morning I Googled to find out where the commercial was shot. I read the scenes were taken by famous photographers over the course of two years. One article said, “Younger people watching Sunday’s Super Bowl probably didn’t recognize the voice giving the “So God Made a Farmer” voice-over to the Ram truck commercial. Older people recognized the deep voice of Paul Harvey immediately.”

I have no idea how I became an older person in just a weekend.