People seem to be getting more and more stressed out about the events of 2020. Sure, there is the pandemic and social unrest and ugly political campaigns, but it’s not like this is the worst thing that has ever happened. Seriously, everything has been wonky this year, but it is only one year. When you talk about 2020, you are literally talking about one year. For those of us who have been around a while, we can attest there have been times when things were worse for a whole lot more than just one year. For
example: there was the 1970s.
Everything started off nice then as well. The Chiefs won the Super Bowl and everyone was giddy about the new year and the new decade. In 2020 we are complaining about Trump and Biden, but think about this: in the 1970s we started with Richard Nixon in the White House, we closed the decade with Jimmy Carter in the oval office and in between we had Gerald Ford, a trio which could rightfully be rightfully ordained the political equivalent of Larry, Moe and Shemp.
Everyone has been up in arms all year because of all the products which became unavailable when the Coronavirus appeared. Suddenly shelves were depleted of cleaning supplies, eggs and most debilitating of all, toilet paper. In the 1970s there were issues as well. For example, there was no gas – as in no gas as in there were times when gas stations were closed because there was no gas. Other nations were embargoing the stuff and we didn’t have any.
In 1978, gas prices jumped from about 40 cents per gallon to 88 cents per gallon in less than a month. In context, that is equivalent to gas jumping from about $1.50 per gallon to about $5 per gallon in a single month. Nowadays, we might not be shocked by that as our fuel prices seem to rise and fall without much rhyme or reason, but in 1978 it was quite a shock and it was created by the fact there was no gas.
Also, if you think money doesn’t go quite as far today, think about this tidbit. In 1980, the last year of the 1970s, (that is accurate, look it up) the rate of inflation was 13.5 percent.
Today, many people are upset because they are being told to wear masks. Oddly, we have a wide variety of masks to choose from including basic paper to creative designs, to Super Bowl emblazed models, so you can have some fun with it if you choose But, if
you think wearing masks is bad, think about this: in the 1970s we had to wear polyester. No one likes to think about having to wear polyester, but we did. And not only that, but guys wore platform shoes, women wore highwaisted pants and everyone wore bell bottoms. In fairness, the bell bottoms weren’t that bad. In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing bell bottoms come back. But not the polyester please. No more polyester, ever.
We talk about the year 2020 and our minds immediately turn to COVID-19 and social disarray. In the 1970s we had… disco.
Today, we spend most of our time trying to not to think or talk about disco. After all, there are some things best left forgotten. But seriously, this whole disco thing crept in like a skin-eating bacterium destroying everything it touched.
Many of us talk about the great music of the late 1960s and early 70s as maybe being the greatest of all time. But then somewhere around 1975, everything changed, psychedelic sounds, outlandish heavy metal, rock and roll as well as melodic ballads disappeared as clubs with live drummers who kept time to records ruined the dance scene and an endless array of same-sound four-four-time tunes blared away on the radio destroying the country’s will to survive. It was not a pretty scene and luckily for some, they have been able to forget.
For those of you who have wanted to read something optimistic and lighthearted, I present this retrospective. No matter how terrible things were, they got better. In the 1980s, the natural order of things was restored. Music was good again. Ronald Reagan made us all feel better. The gas lines were gone and polyester leisure suits went the way of stage coaches and white belts. And yes, the Chiefs won another Super Bowl, just 50 years later. We can get through this.
While we wait, please wear a mask.