Godbey: Did the world change or did I?

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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I was talking to a friend recently and discussing how the world has changed since we were ripping up the roads back in the 1980’s. I’ve heard the saying, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’ve concluded that I don’t believe that at all. I’d be more likely to believe that Bigfoot was spotted at WalMart in the lawn and garden section than to believe that the world hasn’t changed to the point that I’m barely able to recognize it.

In today’s world, failure to wear a seatbelt results in a visit with your local police and a hefty fine to pay. When I was growing up, not only did I not wear a seatbelt, but I could usually be found riding stretched out on the rear deck under the back glass. In fact, I don’t think my first car even had seat belts. These days, my car doesn’t budge an inch unless everyone is buckled up.

In my travels, I’ve discovered that the best food is never found at the big chain restaurant. Instead, it’s always going to be in some backroad shack that would make Mel’s Diner look like a five-star restaurant. I stopped in such a place last week and was enjoying a bologna sandwich so thick I could barely fit it in my mouth when the guy next to me lit up a cigarette and blew his smoke around as if he were the only one in the world. If there’s anything that can ruin a good sandwich it’s the stench of a cigarette. I paid my bill and hightailed it out of there. After I was able to get some clean air in my lungs and regained my composure, I wondered when I became soft. I can remember a time when Friday night meant my friends and I were smoking so much that the smoke in the room resembled a thick fog, and no one batted an eye. Now, I run from smoke like a turkey on Thanksgiving.

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Today, it seems that the rules have changed on what’s acceptable for what jewelry a man can wear. I saw a man at the mall the other day that had more pins stuck in his face than my grandma’s sewing basket. It’s quite common now to see men with earrings in both ears, lips, nose, and other places that I don’t want to think about. After I saw the man, I began to laugh a little inside my head as I recalled a stunt that I pulled back in 1984. During that time, it was not common for men to wear earrings at all. In fact, the only men I saw wearing earrings were rock stars and then only in the left ear. During my sophomore year in high school, I was searching for my identity and looking for a way to separate myself from the pack. I decided the way to do that was to get my ear pierced. However, that dream died quickly once I asked my parents to take me to town to get it done. My father was having none of that. There was only one thing left to do, do it myself.

With an ice cube, my mother’s sewing needle and a stolen earring from my sister’s jewelry box, I carried out the deed myself. The next day at school, I sported my earring, and it was exactly as I hoped. I was the coolest thing since parachute pants and Panama Jack t shirts. The girls literally flogged me trying to get the attention of the bad boy with the earring. I had hit pay dirt. However, my newfound fame was short-lived. The next week, every single member of the football team came to school sporting earrings and suddenly I was once more just one of the crowd so I ditched the earring as quickly as I could.

As I reflect on all the changes in the world since then, I have to wonder. Has the world changed or have I ? I’ll let you know. I’m headed back to that little shack to finish my bologna sandwich.