Mariner is an old codger – almost as old as many legislators. The truth is, the world today is quite alien to him. It is not his planet. Back on his planet, there is a President named John F. Kennedy; in fifteen minutes Charles Kuralt tells the news of the world with no gossip, no allegiance to viewer share, no conspiracy threats. Social media does not exist, only thick daily newspapers with pages of funnies and sports; mariner delivered them every day for a few years.
Computers are around but they don’t poke into everyone’s business. The U.S. is at war, as usual, but it is a strange no-bullet war with Russia. There are no mass shootings of children every month or so. In fact, when mariner was 12 years old, he would take the streetcar downtown without even knowing about the social dangers that lurk the streets on this planet. On mariner’s planet policemen walk their neighborhood beats and stop to pass the time of day.
Mariner could go on and on about how different his planet is from this planet. On this planet, he feels out of place and irrelevant because he does not understand this world. He is not rooted in the life of a child who is given a computer tablet in kindergarten. It likely is appropriate training for children on this planet but mariner finds himself confused about social values. Humanist philosophy is at a nadir.
Even television on this planet seems irrelevant. Mariner switched to a modern ‘smart’ television to no avail; little is of interest. The few programs he watches are broadcast on his planet. Listening to news today speaks only of Armageddon. Mariner’s planet, while it has issues, has no reason to fear the future demise of humanity.
But mariner can visit his planet. There is a dimension called ‘music’ that has a direct link to his planet. He steps into this dimension by listening to what people on this planet call golden oldies. Golden, indeed, and eternal.
Stack up the old 45 with names like Penguins, Everly Brothers, Presley, Ronstadt, Platters, Domino, Brightman, Little Richard, Carpenters, Ray Charles, Joni James and Cline. Or capture the next decade with Diamond, Denver, Peter, Paul and Mary, and ABBA. Mariner settles down in the music space ship chair and travels back to his planet.