Judy Collins Who?

Judy Collins Who?

Five weeks ago I underwent repair of a torn rotator cuff. The pain has been awful, but that’s not what this is about. No, not at all. This about the recognition that one’s repository of knowledge is rapidly becoming irrelevant to the advancing world.

Yes, I will explain.

Several years ago. I suddenly noticed that young female coworkers who formerly would never have paid any attention to me were stopping by my office with increasing frequency to spill personal details, including such matters as their sex lives, and to seek my advice, say, as to whether they should undergo breast enhancement (OK, I’m an MD). Sometimes they even flirted a bit. I was puzzled but flattered. Until, that is, I came to realize that the reason this was happening is because they had come to perceive me as harmless. Yes, I was entering that phase of life, and the realization came as a brutal shock, let me tell you.

This morning, I was listening to a discussion on NPR about the Watts riots, which occurred here in Los Angeles fifty years ago. The discussion suddenly came to a halt for a moment when one of the journalists remarked that neither he nor the other fellow had been alive at the time.

During a recent conversation, with a young fellow about guns in America, he casually mentioned how Jack Ruby had assassinated Robert F. Kennedy. I will not detail the history lesson I subsequently delivered to this misinformed twenty-something.

Well, anyway, in the aftermath of my rotator cuff surgery, I’ve been getting physical therapy. During one of my two formal torture sessions this week, I was hauling my pathetic arm to as vertical a position as I could manage with a pulley setup when Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, began playing on the facility’s music system. Without giving much thought to it, I blurted to the young PT tech watching me sweat, “That’s Suite: Judy Blue Eyes. Stephen Stills wrote that for his girlfriend, Judy Collins.”

And the tech replied, “Who’s Judy Collins?”

Yes, I’m sure every generation faces the inevitable reality of of eventual cultural irrelevance. As a leading edge baby boomer, I guess it’s my generation’s turn now. I can’t help wonder, though, about all that’s been lost from generations before mine, and all that will be lost from current and future generations.

I didn’t tell the nice young PT tech about Judy Collins or her wonderful music and how much it evokes in me. After all, someday he’ll probably get the same reaction from some youngster when he mentions Katy Perry. So in the end, all that I could think to say to him was, “Your time will come.”


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