So today’s the supposed end of the world and I’m still here. It’s 4:20am which is always a good time, on 12/21/12: THE END.  It’s raining and windy and cold out, and although I’m still here, I can’t vouch for anyone else.  Out there, the world may certainly have ended. I knew it was coming and because of that, the last couple of days I’ve waxed nostalgic. I’ve realized in a nutshell that when it comes to this life, I’ve learned all I need to know from Adrienne Barbeau’s breasts.

From growing up watching them on TV is what I’m saying.

At the time I thought I was the only one watching, so I paid close attention. I’ve learned since that everyone did. When I settled in yesterday for my afternoon nap, I happened upon them for the first time in a long while. I attended a winter solstice party last night, and when going out at night, particularly during the winter, I definitely need to sleep some during the day. For me, it’s one of the quirks of my eccentric “artists’ hours”, and I suppose getting older too. Anyway, the breasts.  I suspect the cameraman was totally in on it. I noticed yesterday he featured them as prominently as he could in every scene. He just couldn’t help himself? Mind you they weren’t the only breasts I was watching back then, but they were regularly served up to me Tuesday nights right before Hawaii Five-O, so why look away?

You wouldn’t.

What other authority did I have that was greater than what was on TV? Maybe back then if I learned about things in a different way, things’d be different for me now. Come to think of it, maybe they’d be different for everyone, I don’t know. I picked up things here and there, mainly from the rest of what was going on in popular culture, not like from like the BIBLE or anything. Not from any fancy education nor any tried or true method, nor from anything remotely approaching sophisticated, nor anything enlightened or heady.

I’ve learned many enlightening things since, believe me.

Like that whole Age of Aquarius thing. I learned about that along the way and it stuck with me too. Why? Because of Hair of course. The book, play, album and movie of the same name. At the time there was a rumor going around too that they got naked. I didn’t know as I was too young to be privy but THAT was taboo and no doubt intriguing to my hungry and eager mind.  The Fifth Dimension sang about it all, right? Let the sun shine in? All that flower power, the AM radio, yeh. Well it left an indelible impression and who woulda thunk it? Around the same time Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs, that book was in our house. Well, it was flying off the shelves when I was little and helped make astrology too a kitchen-table phenomenon.

So here I sit still waiting for the Age of Aquarius to usher itself in. Maybe that ties in to the Mayans? Who’s to say?

It’s not like any of the adults in my life were talking to me about the Socratic method of inquiry which I had to find out about myself many years later. Or the philosophies of Kierkegaard or Nietzsche and who God might really be either. No one ever mentioned what the difference was between what Karl Marx said about communism versus what Darwin meant about the fittest or what that way too famous and overrated Ayn Rand said about individualism and the things that in hindsight were the important things to know to get the “times” in perspective one might think. I’m not sure I can help the things I know and believe that define the who and what I am today. When I grew up we were too busy digesting the aftermath of the rollicking sixties and fully self-absorbed and titillated mostly by Donna Summer lovin’ to love you baby and who we were and who the Jones were and what we were doing and being all we could be and enjoying Coca-Cola.

At least in my corner of the world.

I do think though some of that more heady stuff would’ve done me a lot of good.

But it did me good later and that matters for something. And I did get a solid foundation from many unexpected places that as a wisened old codger in hindsight thinks is comical. I do see and appreciate the worth in it now. It’s not like the culture plain did me wrong at all. Like one of my very strong tenets and something that’s so ingrained is to “never assume”.  You know in general, when it comes to human interaction and events and the like?  I didn’t learn it from any great manifesto or scripture or famous giant of the past. Well, it depends on how you look at it I guess. It came from none other than our own Felix Unger. You know, the neat one? He said it and I heard it. I laughed and I still live by it too. Take that Confucius!

“My dear, you should never assume. When you do, you make an ass out of you and me.”

I thought it was hilarious as a youngster and particularly profound.  And all with a laugh track.

You think I’m kidding? Hey, it was a pretty funny show, along with countless others too numerous to cite. I hate to say I’ve seen lots of shows like this particular one umpteenth times, no, a helluva lot more than that actually. If I’d been studying neuroscience with such dedication I may have solved the great mystery of the human soul by now. So much fluff has filled up so much of my head and I suspect yours too ad finitum. If I had a choice in the matter I’m not sure if that’s exactly how I would’ve done it. If I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t have a real avenue to know any better. But I’d trade nothing for lots of what I’ve experienced, and it’s something as good as any other to think about.

See I’ve got the time.

Or do I?

So Barbeau’s breasts. When I lollygag on the couch and take a nap I have to squirrel around on the internet to find some good TV. That as I refuse to pay the corporate cable Gods for anything! Yesterday before the solstice party I caught a rerun of Maude  That show is pretty good brain candy, of the sort that puts me to sleep in no time.  I got in my favorite nappy position and let the episode run. Maude discovers she’s pregnant, which at forty-seven (in those days forty-seven looks much older), sets up a dilemma of whether she’s too old to bear a child and be a mother or if she should abort the baby. I started to drift to sleep listening to Maude and her husband Walter and her best friend Vivian and her daughter Carol and her housekeeper Florida launch into a debate of what she should do being it’s now “legal in New York state” and she has the “option” in these “liberated” times and thought it interesting that this is where I was introduced to abortion and women’s “issues”. When I first saw the episode I must’ve been nine or ten.

And I watched the breasts.

Is this all okay?

I don’t know.

Has pop culture killed us? Maybe that’s a bit strong or a just plain silly question. But are those zealots right that maybe it’s not appropriate for a prepubescent child to be exposed to such things unsupervised? What were the adults doing at the time this was bringing me up? And that’s not even considering the senseless hate and violence and plain lunacy we’ve all fed ourselves over the years. What kind of effect does it all have on the brain? And the heart? I’m of the school that it’s all been a little much really. Just look at the evidence I think it’s contributed to our collective desensitization.

I’m such a child.

It’s 5:30am and the last day on earth, the Mayans said so and who knows better than them? Under these unique circumstances I’ve given myself carte blanche to indulge in a bit of inane banter, so welcome to my private space. And that includes rhetorical questions and apparently me roller skating through the seventies of my mind. Anyway, you may already have left for the great beyond by now. But you know how we’re always looking for a neat little answer and a place to point the finger of blame? How we’re always trying to find some kind of grand reason for the pickle we’re all in? How we’re trying to find the magic pill that’s gonna cure the whole big disease? Well I’m sure not the first but I may be the last to sit here and blame the TV.

I mean, get a load of those breasts!


26 thoughts on “BARBEAU’S BREASTS

  1. Well now you’ve made me wonder what her breasts look like now. Or have they gone the way of the Mayans’ predictions? Down the tube. The boob tube. Maybe that’s how it got its name. From Adrienne Barbeau’s boobs. And now I’m sure you’re sorry you ever brought this whole thing up 🙂

  2. Yep, I remember that wise old sage, Felix Unger. Heh. Not so much into Barbeau’s breasts myself, but that’s not the way I roll. Didn’t I hear somewhere that Barbeau had children at age 50? She was inseminated or got that way in some sort of clinical way. Kind of ironic, after that episode on Maude that you mentioned. I didn’t think you were old enough to have witnessed these things. Perhaps you just researched for your character. Yes, that must be it. 😉

    • Yeh I know you grew up with a lot of the same stuff I did. And you learned a lot from it too I’m sure! 🙂 I have no idea what Adrienne’s been up to since. Whatever it is I hope she’s wearing go-go boots! 🙂

  3. I remember being equally captivated by Ms. Barbeau’s face — so sharp and angular, in such contrast to those soft curves. Kind of like the juxtapositions you employ in your writing, Pete. Keep ’em coming . . .

  4. Am I right in thinking this is Joanie from Happy Days? Or does it just look really like her? Glad you were able to find something to keep you amused on the run up to the end of the world. 😉

    • It’s Adrienne Barbeau who was on the show Maude. She played Carol, the daughter of the Bea Arthur character. It ran in the early 70s when I was growing up. I was way too entertained by thinking about her these couple of days I don’t think I really ever need to again! :)


  5. I remember first reading this before making my way to the bookstore. I was sitting reading Howard Zinn, but my mind kept wandering back to Barbeau’s breasts, and then breasts in general. Belated thanks are in order!

  6. Pete, I don’t know how I missed this one. It must have been all the end-of-the-world nonsense. I would assume (sorry) that the date has been pushed off once more. btw, even as a more or less straight woman, I can appreciate Barbeau’s breasts. I mean, beauty is beauty, right? I can also imagine that to a child, they’d be a pretty comfortable headrest!

    And if it’s any consolation, I think they must have had a benign influence on you. 🙂

    • And of this influence I am grateful hah Yes beauty is beauty and I guess we were a little repressed as kids in the early 70s, well certainly compared to today!

  7. thanks pete, for the follow, i enjoy your stuff too and i remember adrienne’s breasts very well, they stuck out like a sore thumb, but the fact is they occupied most of the screen when she was in a shot and they were hard to avoid. i wanted to have giant ones like hers one day, though i am still waiting, and am quite a patient person )

  8. I’ve had thousands of landings on this piece as “the people” search on the internet every day for Adrienne Barbeau’s breasts. I hardly think I’m what they’re looking for ha ha

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