Pop culture and Dougie have not gone well together in my 60 years on God’s green earth.
Growing up rarely did I feel in touch with the modern popular culture of the time. Pop music, TV shows, books, fashion, ideas or other entertainment venues never impressed me much even after I moved from the rural surroundings of Lawrenceville, Illinois, to the big-city lifestyle of Cleveland during my junior high days.
My taste in music, movies, TV programs and books did not match up with anyone in my Cleveland eastside neighborhood.
At the time of my faithful youth, most kids listened to the Beatles or Jackson 5, but I preferred Buddy Holly and a new group coming out of Cleveland called the James Gang with Joe Walsh. When the Rolling Stones and other British bands invaded the shores of America, I cast my lot with a four-man English band called Foghat that mixed old Blues tunes with rock and roll.
A lot of my neighbors just had to have the latest style in clothing, including bellbottom pants and peace sign shirts and blouses while I managed to make stripes on stripes and green over purple work for me. Little did I realize at that time that I was actually suffering from Fashion Attention Deficit Syndrome, or FADS, but that’s another tale.
I would not find any friends who enjoyed many of my interests until I moved from Cleveland to Vincennes at the start of my freshman year in high school.
Let’s just say, when most high school teens lived for pop culture, I went more for pop tart culture. I didn’t mind a few creative crumbs creeping into my youthful existence.
The three darling Carroll children will tell you I never came close to touching on pop culture during their childhood days inside Carroll Castle. I believe their description of old dad — especially during their teen years — was that he was a bit of a fuddy-duddy with a peculiarity to pinch pennies except when it came to buying stuff concerning Red Skelton.
This may come as a surprise to the three darling Carroll children (and to some of you) but I believe I just might be nearer now than ever before to merging into pop culture of the 21st Century.
Well, closer in stuff besides what I wear.
Once you are finished laughing and chortling at my expense, I will attempt to explain.
I owe this personal revelation all to a recently purchased smartphone with more apps, bells and whistles than I could have imagined under my fat-fingered control at one time. I am connected to a world of technology I originally discovered as a mere lad in science fiction stories by Ray Bradbury, Superman comic books and my devotion to the 1960s TV series “Batman.”
Little did I know how unplugged I was from modern society and, yes, pop culture, when I refused to discard my dinosaur flip phone for five years beyond the manufacturer’s suggested life of the product. Heck, the thing was paid for and I did not mind if a simple text took me 10 minutes to compose on a telephone number pad.
By the end, the phone’s battery could not keep a charge without a lifeline to some wall socket. I am thankful my dear wife talked me into letting go of my fone, uh, I mean phone friend and embracing a brave new world.
Although I have not joined President Trump on Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram, I still feel the power of knowing what is going on 24/7 around the globe. My Facebook account is synced to the cell phone so no longer do I have to weed through hundreds of messages or alerts at one time.
Last week I discovered the smartphone connects instantly to my music and old time radio show collection stored up in the cloud of the computer world. I can hear Buddy Holly and Foghat songs or dial in the latest episodes of Red Skelton or “Fibber McGee and Molly” anywhere the smartphone finds Wi-Fi service.
Next my youngest son and his wife introduced me to Facebook video chatting by smartphone. Anytime I need to see the precious smile of my younger granddaughter, all I have to do is pick up my phone and let software technology do its thing.
Okay, maybe I’m not on the edge of pop culture per se, but at least give me credit for being on the brink of shot culture — flu shot, shingles shot, shot of Jack Daniels ...
Doug Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.