Today I was having a conversation with a friend about it doesn’t matter what, when I made a reference to something bothering me, touching my forehead the way Peter Falk always did in Columbo. I quickly realized that the person I was speaking with had no idea about the 70s popular TV show. I asked someone else in the room. Columbo? I know what it is. I was forced to watch it when I was a little kid. OK, I’m not all that old, but for that one moment, I felt as if I were oh so deeply lodged in crusty old fart-hood.
I hadn’t thought of Columbo as being from my generation because back then, my parents as well as people younger than me, shared some of the same frame of reference. We sat in front of the tube and watched McCloud as a family. What happened? How many other pop culture references, which to me are so obvious, are all used up when I’m in the company of people ten or twenty years younger than me?
It sometimes scares me how much I can remember about bad television from my past. With Columbo, for instance, sometimes it only takes me seconds to know…oh…oh…I know, it’s the episode with Johnny Cash as guest bad guy. He plays a singer who commits a murder. Um, Mister Anchovy, who’s this Johnny Cash character? ARRRGGGGHHHH. I said to my friend, I guess if you don’t know Columbo, you don’t know McCloud either? Dennis Weaver? No? Rats.