Thursday, December 27, 2007

Yes, I live in Las Vegas. No, I haven't heard of your favorite lounge act from 45 years ago.

Just wanted to wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy New Year, from all of us here at Petty Annoyances. I'm in New York for a week, and wanted to report just briefly on a disturbing phenomenon - another demerit on the long list of things I can't stand about the elderly. I've been mingling around all these holiday parties, and you better believe that the elderly love holiday parties. I think these holiday parties afford the elderly two, rare chances. First, they get to wear their sunday best, which for them must be an increasingly rare proposition. And two, they get to enjoy a kind of professor emeritus status that I know they covet dearly.

So as soon as the word gets out that I'm visiting from Las Vegas, it doesn't take long for the following to occur. An old guy, cheese dip and/or crumb hanging from lip, will buttonhole me in a corner for this conversation:

Old Guy: "Rowsdower. Rowsdower."

Me: "Yes, hi! Hello."

Old Guy: "Come over here. I need to ask you something." (We retreat to a quiet corner)

Old Guy: "You're from Las Vegas?" (His mouth opens and closes even when not speaking)

Me: "Well, I'm from here, but I live there now."

Old Guy: "Have you ever heard.... ..... ..... ........ of the Pineapple Brothers?"

Me: "No."

Old Guy: "They used to play there. They were huge."

Me: "Where did they play?"

Old Guy: (seemingly annoyed by the question) "Oh I don't know."

Me: "Well about what time period?"

Old Guy: (Incredibly dismissive) "Oh.... a long time ago."

Me: "Well.... what about them?"

Old Guy: "They were huge!"

And then the conversation sort of runs out of steam.

And this happened 3 years ago, more than once. It happened 2 years and 1 year ago, and now it's happening this year. Old people learn that I am from Las Vegas, and are seized with the desire to know if I have heard of some ancient lounge act.

"You know who I used to love in Las Vegas?"


"Sally Hanmeister and the O-Kay Cabaret. Have you ever heard of them?"

"No. No I haven't."

"Oh, they were huge! We saw them on our honeymoon!"

I've known for a long time that old people like to play the "That didn't used to be there." game when driving by offices and gas stations. But apparantly hearing the words Las Vegas triggers a deep, long forgotten well of memories - a rich new vein of conversation topics that have no point except to briefly exist and then taper off into nothingness.

"Have you ever heard....................................................... of Big Doc Brownnose?"
"The Wallapaches?"
"The Sassafrass Band?"
(Brief pause while old guy licks every square inch of his lips)
"Herbert Moonpie?"
"Toucan Willie?"
"Glen Potsticker and the Bakers' Dozen?"

Me: "No."
They were huge!!!

Really, if a Vegas act has been gone for more than 1 year, there is only a very small chance that I have ever heard of them. An act from 1961? Sure, yeah, I read about them all the time in my subscription copy of "Old!" Jeez. At least the pastries at these parties have been top notch.

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