Monday, January 29, 2007

Ten-Year-Olds and Fast-Moving Cents

There’s hope for the youth of America yet. I was at the Community Recreation Center pool recently, in the men’s locker room, when I overheard a conversation between a couple of boys, maybe 10 years old. The first thing I overheard was one of the lads passing along that time-honored chestnut about pennies dropped from the Empire State Building.

He was excitedly telling the other boy about such a penny’s lethal properties. As much as I understand these things, it ain’t so, wind resistance and a penny’s trifling mass considered. Still, I heard the very same notion at about the same age, probably at the lunch table at Woodridge Elementary, where much grade-school lore was traded. Good to know that word-of-mouth lore, true, false or otherwise, is still with us. No doubt people thought the telephone, and then radio and TV, and now the Internet, would make such a thing obsolete. Not at all.

Like many conversations, juvenile or more grown up, the topic shifted quickly, and before long they were talking about the Titanic, the movie. Or rather, movies, because they spent some time determining whether a really cool scene -- in which “a guy fell off the back of the ship onto a propeller-thingee” (Ow, said the other boy) – was in the new movie or the “old-timey” one. They couldn’t quite decide, but no matter. It’s good to know that the big-damn-deal-big-budget sinking ship movie hasn’t completely eclipsed the older, and in some ways, superior version.

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