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Richard Crowson Commentary

Wallowing in Narcissistic Nostalgia


Having a cold during these early days of December is a pretty nostalgic experience for me. It seems like during my childhood I was often sick around the holidays. I contracted most of the 1950s childhood illnesses between my Thanksgivings and Christmases – mumps, chicken pox and measles. They all came down my chimney during the holidays.

Ah, sweet nostalgia. A lot has been written about the narcissism of nostalgia, especially baby boomers’ nostalgia. Folks love to hate anything we boomers enjoy. If we continue to treasure mid century modern style or The Dick Van Dyke Show or listen to the Beatles, we’re criticized for being perpetual Peter Pans who never grow up. (By the way, the Mary Martin version in black and white from 1960 was by far the best!)

I’m sure we are an annoying bunch - there’s just so many of us. But surely there are worst ways to get your jollies than shopping on eBay for Howdy Doody lunch boxes – though not many that cost more money. (There’s currently a 1954 version listed for 539 bucks!)

But I’m just going to wallow in my narcissistic nostalgia for a little bit longer. This cold reminds me of the days when being sick meant staying home from school, Vicks Vaporub smeared on my chest, watching I Love Lucy reruns while peeping out of a blanket fort on my bed and drinking Cokes with a straw from those tall, skinny green glass bottles.

However, in the interest of demythologizing my past, I will ratchet back the exaggeration: Sometimes they were the short bottles.