Fourteen years ago I came to South America for an extended fishing trip. For almost a month I traversed around Argentina and Chile in search of big trout and reasonably safe adventures.
In the intervening years, and in no certain order, I sold a company, started a couple other companies, sold and bought a few houses and buildings, published a book, had three magnificent colonoscopies, turned 50, installed solar panels on my house, started this blog, drank with Johnny Carson, became a gentleman farmer, bought a dog, and most importantly, got married to my beautiful wife and partner.
My parents passed away, my siblings all retired, and nephews and nieces that were starting the first grade graduated from college.
People switched from Kodak and Polaroid to Facebook. Oldsmobile, Sharper Image Stores, Circuit City, Northwest Airlines, Hummer, Borders, Hollywood Video, and Lehman Brothers ceased to exist. America Online was replaced as the hottest tech company in the world by companies you never heard of with names like Google, Amazon, Netflix, and a host of others.
For some reason 80% of the population under 30 got a tattoo. My phone turned into the device that Captain Kirk used to carry around on Star Trek. People that made $28,000 a year were given $500,000 loans to buy new houses, which resulted in a huge financial crisis. Bill Clinton went from being loved, to really hated, to really loved again. I bought a generator for my house because the world was supposed to fall apart on Y2K, and I wanted my television to work so I could watch. Madonna, Sean Penn, George Clooney, and I all moved gracefully into middle-age. Well, at least Sean and George… Johnny Cash died. Bisexual girls became really cool (maybe they were always cool).
Terrorists primarily from Saudi Arabia attacked us, so for some reason we invaded Iraq. Americans got really fat. Ebay launched, so I used them to sell my VCR, fax machine, several old cell phones, a couple CD players, and a Walkman. Vampires got really popular. Apple went from being a quirky little computer manufacturer to the world’s most valuable company and the biggest music retailer on the planet, while most music retailers went out of business. Newt Gingrich got married a couple times. Chrysler and Jeep were sold to the Italians after the Germans and Americans couldn’t run them profitably, and somehow they did a lot better. Cars were introduced that could park themselves. Television programming got really, really bad, and also stunningly good. Gay marriage and marijuana became quasi-legal in many states. China got kinda’ hip and very successful. We elected a black Muslim President from Kenya. The Catholic Church was sued and sued and sued for rape. OJ finally went to jail, but not for the reason he should have. FX became a real network. Dick Cheney shot a man in the face, and then to celebrate bit the head off a live marmot. People quit writing letters and talking to each other, instead preferring to text and email. Many of us quit buying books, magazines, and newspapers, and instead carried them around on tiny computer screens. A guy named Bin Laden became the most famous criminal in the world, and then I led a super-secret team from Seal Team 6 to capture and kill him. Wait, maybe I’m not quite remembering that last one correctly.
Of course I could go on and on, but the point is that an awful lot happened to me and all of you over the last fourteen years. And at least for me, time flew. Too fast. Scary fast.
That trip to South America seemed like it was just a year or two ago, and that caused me concern. Ask anyone older than 30, and they will tell you that the passing of time accelerates as you age. A year seems like three months, a day like an hour.
And if I wait too much longer to return to South America, it might be too late. If I don’t go back now it might all just have to exist in an Alzheimer’s dream as my beautiful wife wipes slobber off my chin before rolling me into the cafeteria in the old geezers home.
So I’m going back to Argentina and Chile, in search of a few more big trout and reasonably safe adventures. I’ll let you know how it goes.