Good morning, dearfolk, and HAPPY 2006 to one and all.
I rang in 2006 the same way I've ushered in 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999 before it: something Seraphim and I call "The Two Year Kiss." Unlike most, we don't wait 'till the new year officially begins before doing the traditional kiss. No, siree. Our kiss begins at about 11:59:55, and lasts 'till roughly 12:00:05. One kiss, two years.
The two of us closed 2005 on the edge of health. Seraphim caught bronchitis just before Christmas, and -- because sharing is good in a marriage -- gave it to me. We stopped hacking long enough to smooch in '06.
As bad as my voice is right now, it's nowhere near as terrible as the way Dick Clark is sounding. After his stroke in 2004 forced him to miss the 2004/2005 New Year's Rockin' Eve, The World's Oldest Living Teenager (a rather creepy nickname these days) sounded ... well, creepy.
I know how a stroke can damage a person's speaking; my grandfather had two strokes late in 1989, and I never heard him speak another coherent sentence again (he lived another decade, mostly as a vegetable). Hearing DICK CLARK in this state really bugged me. An iconic voice, recognizable to most all of us over 30, was now talking as if he were either high or retarded.
It makes me wonder what my son would think if he were to have turned on the TV and saw this doddering old man. People his age have no idea who Dick Clark is. The kid would probably be laughing at this funny-sounding geezer.
One vital tool of my job is the larnyx. If something happened to me which rendered my voice slurred, uneven and difficult to understand, I would not want to be on the radio anymore. Even if I were to somehow be elevated to superstardom, my voice recognized by virtually everyone of alcohol-buying age, I would rather disappear from the air, people wondering what happened and lamenting, "Flag Day Muzakin' Eve is not the same without ol' Talmadge"
To return to the air after such a tragic episode can only be explained by a gigantic ego. And Dick Clark indeed has a super-sized one of those. It's grown bigger than the prestige earned through his work in advancing rock 'n' roll music. In spite of it, though, I've always liked hearing Dick's voice at the changing of years.
That voice, he above all others must understand, is no more.
Count me as one who is profoundly sad. This year, Dick Clark became an unfortunate parody of himself. Neil Young spoke some wise words when he said "It's better to burn out than to fade away."
Ciao for niao.
--Talmadge "So long!" Gleck
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