I'm a victim of the culture wars. Not the one that keeps us from saying "Merry Christmas" or other such politically correct nit-picking. I'm talking about the assault I have endured over the years from television, film, pop music and all the other media outlets that have found their way into my addled brain over the years. I have surrendered vast portions of my cerebellum to the prickly points and surges that I have endured over the course of my life. I would love to say that all of this abuse has somehow made me stronger, but knowing Clara Peller's name doesn't necessarily equate with strength to me.
The fact that the "Where's The Beef" lady resides in my memories while other people who have given me more than a catch phrase have faded troubles me. The fact that I can't hear the song "Big Country " without saying, at least under my breath, "it builds" is a sad commentary on my misspent youth. All it took was Tim Lester, whose name has survived the tides of age, making that observation to me once as we were listening to the Scottish group pound out their one eponymous hit. And so there it sits. Locked into my nervous system like any other automatic reaction.
There are hundreds of other such examples. There are so many that my wife regularly asks if what I have just said to her is a line from a movie or if it was an original thought. "Caddyshack," "Animal House," and "Stripes" live on in the minds of millions of other men my age. But the fact that "Making The Grade," starring Judd Nelson and featuring the film debut of Andrew "Dice" Clay is stuck in my head along with the rest of that mess borders on the ridiculous. And sad. If only I could have harnessed some of those synapses for good, instead of mindless repetition.
Perhaps some good can come from this still, when I have finally lapsed into syndication in that big network in the sky. Scientists can probe my brain, looking for clues to the riddle of pop culture supersaturation. Or maybe they could plug some electrodes into the thing and watch reruns of "WKRP in Cincinnati."