SOMETIMES, IT SEEMS LIKE TIME is passing too quickly. (At other times, like when you’re watching “Short Cuts,” it doesn’t seem to be passing quickly enough.)In a town that is obsessed with youth and beauty, nobody likes to think about the years passing, and no one likes to admit they’re getting older. But there are telltale signs, and not even an ocean of Oil of Olay can stem the tide of aging. (And what exactly is an emollient, anyway?) Since it’s an inevitable process, it’s hard to tell why it’s regarded with such horror — or why some young people feel so self-satisfied with their youth, as if it were a permanent gift. (Remember, George Burns once thought HIS youth would last forever, too.) So, know that you’re not alone as you read the following: the signs that maybe, somehow, against all logic, you’re getting older. YOU REMEMBER TERMS like “monaural,””high fidelity” and “record player.” You still think of it as Grauman’s Chinese Theater. When you read the name Bono, you don’t think of U2 but of Sonny. When you hear the words “movie star,” you don’t think of Charlie Sheen or Demi Moore but of Julie Christie or Audrey Hepburn. You’ve never bought a rap record, you have no intention of ever buying a rap record, and you keep waiting for the phenomenon to pass. Your vague disdain for Joan Rivers’ plastic surgery has given way to curiosity and the feeling that, no matter what anybody says, she does look damn good for her age. You watch “Leave It to Beaver,” and the series suddenly seems more about June and Ward than about Beaver and Wally. You can’t remember the names of all the Seven Dwarfs anymore, but somehow it doesn’t seem so important anyway. You remember when the most exciting attraction on the Universal Tours was a peek into Doris Day’s dressing room. When you hear the title “House Party,” you don’t think of Kid N Play, but of Art Linkletter. You remember Miss Frances, Skipper Frank, Engineer Bill, Chucko the Birthday Clown and Tom Hatten’s squiggles. You go to a rock concert and complain about how loud it was. You hear the words “Hollywood Bowl,” and all you can think about is the traffic. You sing along with fewer songs because you have trouble reading the lyrics in those little CD packages. You remember Katie Winters, Josephine the Plumber, Manners the Butler and Mrs. Olson, and you know what LSMFT means. You hear that some 50-year-old has died and you think “Migod, so young!” You can tune in at any moment to an episode of “The Brady Bunch” and identify the plot within 30 seconds. YOU ARE VAGUELY TROUBLED that TV’s lovable “Webster,” Emmanuel Lewis, just turned 23. You were aware that “Three Coins in the Fountain” was 20 years old in 1974 — we’re talking really oooold music, clearly from another era — but suddenly realize with a shock that “Bennie and the Jets” is now 20 years old. You get surprisingly irritated when store clerks call you “Sir” or “Ma’am.” You watch “Beavis and Butt-Head” and can’t help wishing it had better animation. You think of “Ordinary People” as a fairly recent film and Cyndi Lauper as a fairly new singer. When you hear the name Matt Dillon, you think of “Gunsmoke.” Films that you saw in a theater as an adult are suddenly showing up on American Movie Classics. You don’t know where MTV is on your cable dial. Your criterion for seeing a film is no longer whether everyone’s talking about it, or if it’s at a free screening, but whether you want to spend two hours of your life with this movie. You were aware that “The Trolley Song” was 25 years old in 1969 — we’re talking really oooold music, clearly from another era — but suddenly realize with a shock that the Beatles’ “Get Back” is now 25 years old. You play Nintendo with a 10-year-old child and they say, “Oh, you’re just letting me win,” even though you’re trying really hard. The biggest danger sign: You don’t understand some of these references, so you think the concept of aging doesn’t apply to you.
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