Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nostalgia/Urban Legends

I have spent the last few days cleaning out our basement in preparations for finishing it. It is a pretty brutal task because we have lived in this house for five years and even brought boxes from previous moves unopened to this house. In the course of living here, the unfinished basement has also become a major play area for the kids in which I rarely go down to see what messes they have made, and so it is a huge project I am undertaking.

To help with the tedium, I brought a radio down there and just turned it on. I didn't pick a specific station and the first song that came on was the Phil Collins classic, "In the Air Tonight." I haven't thought of this song (or Phil Collins for that matter) for YEARS. At one point, a boy I dated was a huge Phil Collins fan and I know a ton of his music because of it, so nostalgia after nostalgia came flooding in waves over me as I was sweeping up packaging peanuts in the basement. (Imagine a bunch of little kids finding a full box of packaging peanuts and having at it. I should have checked on them more often.)

So, back to my nostalgia. Do any of you remember the urban legend attached with "In the Air Tonight?" Snopes goes into all of its variations but basically, Phil Collins witnessed a drowning and he witnessed someone else watch it happen and they didn't help the drowning victim. Phil Collins then wrote this song and invited the "witness that could have helped but didn't" front stage to his concert and said, "Bob (or Billy, or whoever) this is for you."

This urban legend was talked about constantly when I was in junior high and even high school. Why were we so convinced this was true? Maybe it is many more years added to my age but when I think about this now, I am shocked at our gullibility. If Phil Collins witnessed this, why didn't he just call the police? Where did this happen? Were there more than just those three people at said event? Why did he wait years to spotlight the guilty party at his concert? Why didn't Phil Collins help the poor drowning soul? (Ok, urban legend said that for some reason, he couldn't help. That he was incapacitated in someway. Again, thank you urban legend for filling in the gaps.)

It then got me to thinking about the crazy stuff we are willing to believe. What will I look back at 15-20 years from now and say, "Was I really that gullible? Why was I so willing to believe?"

Anyway, those are my thoughts cleaning out a basement while listening to some unknown radio station when a Phil Collins song comes on. Pretty deep huh? :) For my fellow 80's readers, go here to listen the song.


Queen Elizabeth said...

I love snopes. I wish more people did too.

Paige said...

Love Phil Collins.

Stephanie Stearns Dulli said...

I totally remember being told that story in school and I absolutely believed it as the honest truth. It's a good story. Not so plausible now that I am not 15 and gullible, but a good story!