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Column: If only the world could slow down a little
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

My first record player was a Sears Silvertone. 

It played albums at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, singles at 45 and a few scattered old recordings at 78.

Occasionally, I would play an album at 45 rpm. It sounded somewhat like “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” I also used the turntable as a speedway for Hot Wheels cars. Most of the time, they went flying off the spinning wheel.

I thought about this the other day as I was thinking about life. The Earth revolves around the sun at a rate of one revolution every 365 days or so. I think somebody may have left the spinning planet at high-speed.

Things just seem to be going faster. Even with the time spent indoors last year, we seem to be gaining time at a higher pace.

I’ve reached that point in life that my dentist, most doctors and my preacher are younger than me. That doesn’t mean anything bad, it just means that my old frame has logged more miles on it.

When I do fly, it seems that the airlines have pilots that are all younger. I was flying a discount carrier, and a guy with captain’s bars on his shoulders was getting a cup of coffee from a flight attendant who could have been my daughter. This guy looks like his mama could have driven him to work. I think I’d rather the airline hire an actor with a few wrinkles and some snow on the roof to just come out and greet the flying public. It would make me feel better.

I used to go to an older dentist. He had a music system that played instrumental music. I can remember him humming and singing songs like “Tea for Two” while he was drilling on my molars. Many of my fillings have been filled with something that is not good for you. I think if they have to replace them, they have to call the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or some such outfit.

I have seen kids that I knew in diapers grow up and get married. That’s one that will age you. Some of them will have a band at the reception. I can’t hum or sing any of their songs.

I wake up some mornings and feel the way I did 40 years ago. Then, I look in the mirror and see this multi-chinned old man looking back at me. Somebody obviously set the mirror on old guy speed.

Frank Sinatra released a hit song in 1956, “I’ve Got the World on a String.” There are times that 1956 doesn’t seem so long ago. A mere 65 years ago. That was also the life expectancy in those days. If you remember when that song came out, and you’re reading this on the green side of the grass, you are beating the odds.

Since I can’t find the speed control for the world, I would prefer to have the world on a thick, heavy rope. I want to pull the rope and yell, “Whoa.”

I don’t want to stop it, I just want to slow it down enough to let all this newfangled stuff that young folks like to catch up with me.

Well, until next time, as Roy Rogers used to say, “May the good Lord take a liking to you.” If you don’t know Roy Rogers, he was a famous singing cowboy. Most of his records were at 78 rpm.​


Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the weekend Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com.

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