The sign that said $3.599 didn’t shock me because I had been watching news reports from my bed about the world oil situation. No, it wasn’t a shock, but it still sent me on a coughing spasm.
That’s because the last time I had seen gas station signs, the price had been 27.9 cents a gallon. No, wait; I think that’s the cough syrup talking. I had seen that price of 27.9 cents just days earlier when our granddaughter was looking at my high school yearbook, perhaps to make herself feel even older than the 13 she had just reached.
A photo in the advertising section in the back of the annual showed the placard of 27.9 cents a gallon. (That was so long ago, my high school diploma has probably expired.)
Our 13-year-old didn’t care about the history of gasoline, for she was reading the comments my classmates had written to me just after the yearbooks arrived before summer break. They were mostly along these lines: “Glynn, It has been a lot of fun going to school with you these past 11 years. Best of luck in the future. — Wayne.”
In fact, that was the one that our new teenager was reading aloud. When she got to the name of the classmate who wrote it, her eyes bugged out.
“Wayne? You went to school with Lil Wayne?” she shrieked.
Now, it was only by happenstance that I knew who she was talking about: a rapper who, I learned later on the Internet, is young enough that his parents could have been in my graduating class.
“No, that was Wayne Brown, a friend of mine ever since I started school,” I explained.
“I never heard of Wayne Brown,” she said.
“That was a long time ago,” I said, “and back then they had a thing called singing, and we certainly never sang in school, unless it was the theme from the Batman show on TV.”
She had lost interest when she found out I hadn’t hung out in Algebra II with rappers half my age.
“Anyway,” I continued, “Wayne was funnier than any rapper. Look at these ads in the yearbook that originally said, ‘Compliments of a friend.” Wayne has gone through and added a few words so they say, ‘May all of your children be Compliments of Wayne Brown, a Friend.”
“Huh? I don’t get it. Say, why are all the photos black and white?”
“That’s how yearbooks were back then. And if you were absent the day they took class photos, they filled the gap in the head-and-shoulders shots with the words ‘Too busy, not shown’ or ‘Absent when pictures were made.’ Remember how before your cousin graduated last year, her senior photos took all day, were in color, in several locations, she got to change clothes many times, and even her parents and sister got into some of them? In my day, everything was different. And I can’t get you to even watch old black-and-white movies.”
“But those movies aren’t Twilight,” she pointed out.
I think that’s when all my coughing began.