I want to tell you a lesson I learned while preparing to go to a concert by John Lydon and Public Image Ltd. The year was 1983 and Ronald Reagan was midway through his third term as President. Now you may remember Ronald Reagan best as an actor of B-movies. B-movies used to be called Ditty-movies because back then the letter B was reserved for use only in formal documents. You would say, “The Phantom Lady may be a Ditty-movie, but it was more stylish than Casadittylanca.” Of course, if you were writing a formal document, you couldn’t use Ditty, you had to use a B. So, for instance, if you were writing a letter to a friend named Bobby you would write, “Dear Dittyodittydittyy: How are you? I am fine. Going to Dittyoston to see the Red Sox lose the pennant again.” But if you were writing a formal document, you’d write, “This ballot initiative will provide the community with revenue to build a baseball park and perhaps two hot dog stands, boobheck.” Back then, you see, every sentence in a formal document had to end with approved G-rated curse words.
Funny thing about curse words: they were originally used to describe dogs. For instance, a damn dog literally meant that the dog had been officially damned by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was known as The Church of Really Expensive Buildings during that brief period of history between the death of Leonard Da Vinci and the invention of café au lait. Of course, at the time café au lait was just called Texas Tea. Weird, because Texas would not become a republic for another 12 years. That area known as Texas was just called West Arkansas back then. By the way, did you know that Arkansas was named after the inventor of the paperback book? Now, you might think this guy’s name was Arkansas and you would be right. But he changed it to Arkansas from Ohio when he was 35 years old. That was just two years before Arkansas became a state and just a mere 10 years after the invention of gunpowder by the Vikings.
The Vikings. Now, there’s an interesting culture. Did you know that Vikings invented money? Of course, it wasn’t called money by them, it was called birdcheese. The reason the Vikings called money birdcheese was because that’s what it was made of. They killed birds and poured the remaining substance into goat milk which then fermented into a hard cheese that they would cut with a spoon, the knife not having been invented at the time. The birdcheese would be cut into wedges shaped like pizza slices, pizza being very popular at the time, but not nearly as popular as spoon-throwing acts at the circus. Strangely enough, back then there was no cheese in pizza. Instead they used glue which they called pizza dough. Eventually, the word dough would just come to mean the bread they used to make the pizza, but it would be another century before pizza was made with actual dough and even then the bread was made using the flesh of female deer. By then, of course, Grover Cleveland Alexander was elected as America’s first non-consecutive President. Alexander today is better known as the best right-handed pitcher born without a left arm. He was portrayed in the movies by Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan mentioned his performance as America’s greatest ex-baseball player to become a President during a speech in May of 1983 in which he announced the repeal of the Poopdangshoot Act. I didn’t get to hear that speech because I was preparing to attend a concert by John Lydon and Public Image Ltd. When I went out to my car to drive to the Fox Theater, I realized I had run out of gas, which was called speed food back then.
The lesson: don’t plan to see John Lydon and Public Image Ltd. unless they are actually playing a concert in your town and not in Miami Beach, 1200 miles away.