It's me! It's me! It's Danny T!
Sorry, I couldn't resist writing that while preparing for Oct. 3, the 50th anniversary of the premiere of "The Andy Griffith Show." I'm not the only person getting into the mood; fans have been bandying about terms such as "iconic," "wholesome," "homespun," and "down to earth" -- as well as references to "dancing with Big Maude," "bud nipping," "fun girls from Mount Pilot," and "citizen's arrest!"
I still remember watching "Andy Of Mayberry" (the title of the first round of daytime Griffith reruns, circa 1964) on the family's black-and-white TV in our farmhouse in Possum Trot, Tennessee. How times have changed! If "The Andy Griffith Show" were being produced today, instead of tossing a pebble into the lake, Opie would be tossing BP dispersant. And if Opie killed a mother bird with his slingshot, he would by episode's end learn a valuable lesson -- how to perform a CSI-style autopsy on the mother bird.
Perhaps you knew that the show has never been off the air in the past half century, that an Andy Griffith Museum has opened in Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina, or that the Andy Griffith Rerun Watchers Club boasts 20,000 members; but I'll bet you underestimated just how pervasive the program's influence has been over the decades. For example:
1. The recent Wall Street reform legislation contains violations such as 10-17 ("hat in a horse trough")
2. Hidden deep within the Obamacare package is the provision "Don't Hit Your Grandma With A Great Big Stick."
3. The economic stimulus package was presented to the press with the introduction "Here at the Rock we have two million rules. Memorize them and..."
4. The original military policy was "Don't ask, don't tell, and for pity's sake don't eat any of Aunt Bee's pickles!"
5. The "True Love Waits" campaign was originally "True Love Throws A Rock Through Your Window."
6. Trying to keep up with Goober's complex Cary Grant impersonation was the original reason for Pres. Obama's reliance on Teleprompters. ("Judy Judy Trudy...I mean, Judy Moody Judy...er, time for another beer summit.")
7. Our border patrol policy is officially patterned after Otis Campbell letting himself in and out of jail.
8. The primary Democratic objection to Ronald Reagan's SDI missile defense system was that it wouldn't work against goats that had swallowed dynamite.
Some folks spend an inordinate amount of time wishing they could live in an idyllic place such as Mayberry, when they could be carving out their own little corner of Mayberry.
Yes, some economic, health, and family forces are beyond our control; but we still have choices to make about the rat race. No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to keep up with the Joneses. No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to overbook your children, leave your pre-teens unsupervised, or dabble in dirty politics. (And if they are, I'll bet the lone bullet is in their shirt pocket.) Ignore the imaginary threat, strike a blow for simplicity, and you'll be honoring the sheriff who seldom carried a gun.
I will not be repeating this. I don't chew my cabbage twice.
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