Through a fairly uncomplicated series of events that involves the end of the Simpsons and a slothtastic refusal to move off the couch, I caught a few minutes of the Grammy's last night. More specifically, I tuned in around the time some rather attractive woman I'd never seen before was warbling her way through "Desperado," then followed that by doing a duet with a guy who looked like a masculine, real life version of Miss Piggy. He walked like he had hooves, at least.
I found out this morning, thanks to an Amazon dot com email that invited me to purchase other Grammy themed gems like the Jamie Foxx's "I was hilarious in Booty Call" and the highly anticipated "Another Effing John Mayer Release," that this aforementioned vocalist was Carrie Underwood, an American Idol alum, which, I should've guess because: not singing her own song. But it dawned on me this morning that, yes, I've now reached that age where there can be someone as well-received and prolificly famous as Carrie Underwood and I have no idea who she is.
After all, she won "Best New Artist" this year, edging out Imogen Heap, who, well, sure they've been around since the '90s, but apparently "New" is very, very, subjective. I think the Stones won it in '06. Of course, I didn't know who Carrie Underwood was, what she looked like, what any of her songs sound like. I hadn't even formed an opinion about her. And then I realized it, all of a sudden: I'm out of the loop. Whether it's lack of cable, changing personal tastes, or a natural aversion to anything involving Paula Abdul (and I have a soft spot for "Cold Hearted Snake," so we can count that last one out), I've finally gotten to the age where I just can't keep up with pop culture anymore. Gone are the days when I knew every lyric to that Lisa Loeb song, could describe what Crystal Pepsi tasted like, and could name all four TGIF shows, even while claiming I'd never, ever watch them.
This isn't really a point of pride. I mean, regardless of whether I enjoy Carrie Underwood or not, I feel as if I should know who she is. I don't know why I feel this way. Maybe it's the part of me that really wants to be on Jeopardy and knows I need to know my common knowledge. Maybe it's the part of my that doesn't enjoy being a jackass curmudgeon (a small part of me, I'll freely admit). Maybe it's the part of me that just wants to be able to sing along to pop rock radio when we're driving through the Dakotas on three hours sleep. Whatever the reasoning, I went to bed feeling the way I assume so many parents must have felt when their kids brought that Baha Men CD into the car for the first time: confused, a little older, and a little frightened about the next generation of American citizens. Now I know why my folks kept their "Tapestry" LP.