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Twenty Years From Springfield

The Simpsons are 20, and Mike wants to know where the time went


The Simpsons, 20 years ago...

It’s all about the family.


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I have written about them in this column before, several years ago. I also did a cover story about the family two years ago. They are too important to me to ignore. I have spent many hours laughing with them, sometimes getting misty. And I cannot believe so much time has passed so quickly.

Simply put, how in God’s name does The Simpsons turn 20 years old this year?

I saw the first episode in my college house, pretty much the night before we left for winter break. That was the night of what is still known as The Great Ruckus, when the pressures of balancing studies, poverty, hunger and collegiate sex turned some of us roommates against each other, all culminating with me breaking out of my bedroom like The Hulk to break it all up.

Which made it worse.

But earlier that night, “Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire” aired. It was the first full-length episode to air. Therefore, December 17, 1989 became an unforgettable evening for yours truly. I can say with certainty that I have seen every episode, from the classic seasons four through eight to some of the questionable later ones.

No matter what—or who—has come and gone in my life, I have always had this stupid, animated television show as a constant. The show’s lines have permeated my life. My DVD collection includes every season released thus far.

But if you have been reading this column for any length of time, you probably know this stuff already. This is not supposed to be another homage to the yellow-skinned populace of Springfield. No, this is really more of a musing on this theme:

Holy crap, I was in college 20 years ago.

I am always amazed at how it goes. Dad used to tell me it would fly by, but he was wrong. Fly is not the word for it. Nothing flies that fast. Nothing manmade or touched by God.

This short life we all have, even if its 100 years old, is so painfully fleeting. I know you see this coming, but I have to invoke the wonder of watching my young lady grow to, well, a young lady. Five minutes ago I was bartending two nights a week and could barely keep myself alive. Five minutes ago I was her age.

It’s probably felt like less than that for my parents.

A friend recently told me that he thinks I hate change. That is not entirely true, but I can be go kicking and screaming a bit. What does comfort me is familiarity. It is maybe why I do not mind watching the same Simpsons episodes over and over. And even then I discover something new. No matter how familiar or predictable something may seem, a new lesson can be learned. I’ll notice an expression or line that once was a throw away but now is crucial.

Always keep your eyes open. Before you know it, the show is over. Even The Simpsons won’t be around forever.

More articles filed under Columns,Dry Martino

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