Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From Deadhead to Elmo Addict

I recently had dinner with my old friend JR who I hadn’t seen in a couple years. He lives on the other side of the country now, but when we were growing up he lived around the corner and we’ve been very good friends since high school.  In a strange coincidence, our wives had babies the same day 20 months ago.  It was strange because their due dates were 3 weeks apart and both babies came early.  Anyway, in high school we both got heavily into a lot of classic rock music, especially the Grateful Dead.  We went to as many shows as we could and we were fortunate to see several just minutes from where we grew up.  

The legendary Richfield Coliseum, RIP

Through high school and college, JR and I listened to, talked about and shared a lot of music. But we always came back to the Dead. Even as we lived in different cities, we would share cassettes across the distance. Life would have been so much easier then if it were today when you can email a file in 1 minute, unlike the old days of dubbing a tape for 90 minutes, going to the post office, etc.  Throughout our journeys in life, we always had our GD memories, stories and more. 

So when JR and I had dinner recently while he was in town on business, we talked about some recent concerts we’d seen and heard. As we enjoyed our pasta, our discussion covered family, music, work, life and more. As Eric Clapton once said “Time is gonna change us, Lord I know it's true”.   Once you have kids most conversations in life revolve around or ultimately steer back to your little ones.  

Neither JR nor I is opposed to our kids watching television, as some parents are.  My little man BC is not a TV addict, but he does enjoy a little Elmo with his evening milk.  He finds it to be a nice way to unwind after a rough day of playing, eating, pooping, etc. Anyway, JR and I somehow got on the subject of Sesame Street. His little girl enjoyed it, but his older son was over it.  Either way, we’d both seen it.  Obviously way too much. 

JR and I used to spend time discussing our favorite versions of “Shakedown Street” or the evolution of Phil Lesh’s bass playing. But now we found ourselves arguing the merits of “Abby’s Flying Fairy School” and whether Mr. Noodle could ever actually successfully answer one of the questions Elmo asked him.  We discussed our favorite episodes (mine is the “Mine-itis” ep featuring Brian Williams) and eventually we each sold the other on some of our ideas and thoughts about this legendary TV show that debuted 4 years after the Grateful Dead did in 1965. 

Just as we’d started with the Grateful Dead two decades ago, JR and I continued discussing our shared passion for modern entertainment. Or at least what our toddlers would consider entertainment.  Elmo is certainly no Jerry Garcia, but then again Super Grover is not necessarily less entertaining than Mickey Hart.  In the meantime, I know I look forward to the day when BC will learn the words to “Ripple”, one of the most touching songs I’ve ever heard. For now, though, he’ll continue to rock out ever time he hears the opening chords to the theme song from “Elmo’s World”. 

Thanks for reading! Your comments are appreciated. 

--JJ aka The Dude of the House

Please check out my previous blog posts:

FYI, anyone can now stream or download pretty much any show in the Grateful Dead’s history from a cool website called  Lots of other great artists are on there, too.


  1. HIlarious story dude. I prefer Elmo's song, especially the part where Big Bird asks the name of the song, and Elmo naturally says "elmo's song." And that big bird says sarcastically, "clever title." Cracks me up everytime.

  2. Thanks. I know the one you are talking about and it is a classic. I never thought I would know the Sesame Street episodes by heart, as I do Seinfeld.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. It was truly sad that i never did see the dead at the Coliseum
    I remember playing soccer there with you on the field in the early 80s, i just saw a picture of it recently. I think i saw Rush 3x at the Coliseum as well.
    M&H are really into Pandora right now, we listen to a ton of reggae, especially The Wailers with Peter Tosh, and Steel Pulse, great stuff.
    They love to dance. This is the album to check out

  4. My how times change... :) Thanks for linking up to #findingthefunny!

  5. I've been to see the Dead and I am also an Elmo addict. Tickle me!

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