This all probably means nothing, and I can’t find a clever way to tie them all together, but there are four rather interesting anniversaries/birthdays that each end in zero, in close proximity to each other.
In reverse order, youngest to oldest…
Hoop Dreams just turned 20. I remember watching it in a little arty theater in Westport, in Kansas City, where you sat on folding chairs and the film was projected on a small screen. Like a lot of people my age, I was sucked into the story because it was about college basketball and there were appearances by many players and coaches I followed closely. But it was also an utterly engrossing story. It’s one of those insider looks at the realities of high school sports, and college recruiting, that makes you feel a little dirty to follow sports so closely. I need to carve out some time to watch it again.
Next, the Macintosh turned 30 this week. Being an astute observer of the Apple-centric side of the Internet, I’ve read a bunch of terrific pieces about the anniversary. I enjoyed most the ones by people who actually used the first Mac. It seems a little silly now, but that really was a revolutionary machine and the first real step to bringing computers to the masses. The Mac, obviously, became a big part of my life. But not for another 20 years after its introduction. Hey, how about that? My 10-year anniversary as a Mac user is coming up later this year! I guess I’ll have to write something about that when July rolls around.
Next, Dungeons & Dragons turned 40 last weekend. There was an 18-24 month chunk of my life in middle school when I was really into D&D. Or, as I’ve said many times, I was always into the idea of D&D more than the actual execution of it. I enjoyed rolling up new characters, reading about adventures, and planning to play the game more than actually trying to get some people together and squeeze a game in during homeroom or at a Friday-night sleepover. When I waste hours playing a game like Kingdom Rush today, it all goes back to that early 80s fascination with D&D.
Finally, Christie Brinkley turns 60 on Sunday. Holy shit! I was a few years too young for Farrah Fawcet, although I certainly watched Charlie’s Angels and admired the legendary Farrah poster that a few older kids in my neighborhood had. But for the guys in my slice of our generation, born in 1969-74 let’s say, Christie was it. She ushered in the era of the super model, and because of that likely never had the iron grip on a generation the way Farrah did in the 1970s. Kathy Ireland, Carol Alt, and Elle Macpherson all came along and grabbed the “Hottest SI Cover Girl” title in the 80s. But I’ll never forget my first ever Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, because Christie was on the cover. And, of course, there was her appearance on National Lampoon’s Vacation, in future husband Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” video, and more recently her sublime moments as Jerry Gergich’s lovely wife Gayle on Parks and Recreation. She even plays a surprising part in the 30 For 30 episode “No Más,” about the 1980 Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran fights.
I did the math, and my first memories of my grandmothers are from when they were in their late 50s, early 60s. They looked nothing like Christie Brinkley does now. Sure, she’s had work done, but it’s high quality work augmented by a lot of effort on her part. Not that I’ve spent the morning looking at recent pictures of her or anything.