Concert gives parents more life …

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 12, 1999

My parents went to a concert last week. That may not seem particularly newsworthy, until you consider that my parents are 67 and 72 years old.

And they had front-row tickets to a Steppenwolf concert.

&uot;When we sat down, there were 12-foot speakers in front of us … when the band started to play my hair blew back,&uot; my dad told me two days later. I admit I’d laughed – more than a little bit – when he first told me they were going. At the time, he didn’t even know any of the band’s songs.

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But, they were determined to go. &uot;We’ll just see what it’s like,&uot; my dad said. &uot;We can always leave.&uot;

To their credit, they didn’t leave.

&uot;But we did move to the back row about half-way through,&uot; he admitted.&uot;And I actually recognized a few of the songs they played.&uot;

More important, the couple whose extensive music collection could fill the big band and piano instrumentals section of any music store actually enjoyed themselves.

&uot;You know, I can listen to that stuff when I’m watching someone play it … but when you just turn it on the radio …&uot; Dad said.

Music has always been a part of my parents’ lives. They courted and danced to the big bands; my dad even played trumpet in a band that traveled up and down the Jersey coast.

And while my mother can’t carry a tune in a bucket (one of the less favorable traits I inherited from her) she knows all the words to every oddball song ever made popular – and she isn’t shy about singing them.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me that they’d be up to this adventure. Instead, I remembered a line I’d read in one of those inspirational e-mails that someone had sent along a couple of weeks earlier: &uot;we’ve added years to life but not life to years.&uot;

It was on the &uot;paradox of our time&uot; and is credited to George Carlin, the comedian.

And, in part, it says this:

&uot;The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.

&uot;We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

&uot;We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

&uot;We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

&uot;We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.

&uot;We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

&uot;We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.

&uot;We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.&uot;

And the list goes on.

The author is right, of course, on every point.

And, as our world welcomes the 6 billionth person and we creep even closer to a new millennium, maybe we do need to remember to slow down a bit … and add a little more life to our years.

Even if you weren’t &uot;Born to be Wild.&uot;

Stacy Graning is editor of The Democrat. She can be reached at (601) 446-5172 ext. 239 or by e-mail: