Carly Simon was singing “These Are The Good Old Days” on my car’s cd player when I hit a speed bump driving home from the supermarket today. The cd skipped, lots of groceries bounced around in the trunk, and the little jonquil plant I bought for my Lady Wonder Wench left a dirty little comment on the back seat. And…fortunately for me…all the world loves a four letter world.

 I first heard that song while I was doing the morning show at WPLJ  radio in New York. I like Carly…and I got to do special with her for the old Westwood One radio network. That was fun. But I remember thinking when I first heard her sing that song in 1972…”you’ve got to be kidding Carly.” We had the Vietnam war, and Watergate, and 11 Israeli athletes were murdered in the Munich Olympics, and only 55% of Americans bothered to vote…and they elected Richard Nixon. I remember thinking, “THESE are the good old days ? I don’t think so.” But looking back at what we’ve got going on right now, maybe she was right.

And maybe these are too. As Big Louie…his own bad self…the Chief Mustard Cutter of the Louie-Louie Generation always says, “There are makers, there are takers, and there are fakers.” And it sure seems like the takers and the fakers have turned the world into something that looks like a cold virus magnified a hundred million times.

But I was listening to Carly when that speed bump got my attention. So what if the seventies were the good old days then, and  THESE are the good old days now and we just aren’t paying attention? We’re too busy complaining. We do that kind of thing. We spend the first half of our lives complaining about our parents, and the second half of our lives complaining about our kids.  

It’s easy to find stuff to complain about. It’s all over tv, and radio and what’s left of the newspapers. Nasty stuff is always big news. If it bleeds it leads. Negative stuff always gets our attention. The fact of the matter is we love to complain.

Of course…it’s always easier to complain than it is to create. Film critics are a dime a dozen, but there’s only one Stephen Speilberg. When I was a therapist, I always asked people what they wanted in their lives. They always told me what they didn’t want instead. I don’t want to be fat anymore…or I don’t want to have my heart broken any more…or I don’t want to remember my terrible childhood any more. 50 years old, and some guy is complaining about being toilet trained at gun point. Time to hit a speed bump fella. Time to stop sucking your thumb and use it to hitch a ride to someplace better in your life.

I’m a lucky guy. I’ve got my Lady Wonder Wench, a nice home, a good job that I like, a couple of real friends, I even have my own little airplane…and red bulbs in my bedroom…and most of my family is still talking to me. I have red light bulbs in my bed room, because red bulbs are the Big Louie Approved wrinkle erasers. They make you look like yourself, only younger. You put some red light bulbs around in strategic places, and as long as you still have some moveable parts, you’re ok.

Lots of guys aren’t that lucky. Most of my friends in the broadcasting business are out of work. My buddy Al lost about a third of his nest egg in the last few months…and the egg wasn’t that big to begin with…and he has been really looking forward to hatching it in a year or so. But…still… maybe…THESE are the good old days…and we don’t know it…because we’re too busy complaining…to pay attention. Maybe it’s time for a speed bump.

Speed bumps are only a couple of inches high. But they get your attention. They make you slow down and look around…and notice that you’ve been taking corners on two wheels. Maybe we’ve been listening to the guys on tv who are making millions by singing that old song…”we’re in danger there’s no doubt…so run in circles, scream and shout.” I like Carly’s song better.

Dick’s Details Quiz. (All answers are in the current podcast at

1- What new semi-scientific information confirms the Women’s Movement’s perspective on men?

2- On which day of the week will you probably die ?

3- Don’t try this on the traffic cop. He’s heard it before.

Speed bumps…pay attention. If you don’t…stuff will sneak up on you like a windshield sneaks up on a bug. And pretty soon you’ll lose the things you can’t afford to lose. There’s a story about that in the Bedtime Stories Personal Audio cd. I wrote it a long time ago…when I thought I’d screwed up so badly that I lost my Lady Wonder Wench. It’s called I Miss You. If you like it, you can just keep this podcast…or if you want a fresh copy, you can go back to , and download it from the Bedtime Stories icon on the opening page.

Lots of stuff that’s going on right now can make you feel like you’re the Pillsbury Dough Boy meeting a vehicle operated by Joe’s Asphalt and Concrete Paving company. It can make you want to run. But as Big Louie says…remember the speed bumps. Little things that can make you pay attention. A very soft carpet under your toes. A sweet pine fire. Sunlight on your shoulders. A pair of really sharp sunglasses. A bubble gum bubble the size of your fist. A good back scratch. An absolutely still, star studded, clear, winter night. The sounds a baby makes tying to say mommy. The words once upon a time in an old familiar voice. Pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training. Having dinner with someone lovely in a restaurant built in a tiny old house with slanted floors and a real fireplace. Sunday morning church bells in a villiage church. Soft skin in red velvet.

We can’t change what is. But we can change what we think about what is. Speed bumps. Big Louie says “it helps to stop and smell the jonquils.” I’m sitting here watching them open in the little pot on our kitchen table.

Carly’s right. Again.



One Response to “”

  1. Pastor Mike says:

    for those of us Louie Louies who didn’t get spoiled, who learned to care instead of take, who care about what we have more than what we think we need- these are the good old days- we’ve learned the lessons of love only time can teach us and gained the strength and wisdom to be helpful to our kids. Those that grabed the goodies- who learned to only worry about themselves- they’re scared bleepless. for you and I the speed bump brings up memories- for them it’s a warning- trouble ahead. I’m sorry for them.