Beauty Shop Talk: Stones' Tour Puts Spotlight on Elderly

The Rolling Stones' Bridges to Babylon tour suggests that Western society has at last begun to revere its elders. Maybe revere is too strong a word. Let's put it this way -- at least we don't deposit Keith Richards on an ice floe and wave bye-bye. Mick Jagger's wiggly hips and Richards' craggy face inspire awe. They are survivors. As I sit here in the emergency room, self-conscious in moth-eaten hot pants, a scraggly fall of bleached Korean hair anchored to my own balding pate, I consider myself a survivor. For a brief moment tonight, in front of at least eleven screaming fans, I was a celebrity. A luminary like a member of Strawberry Alarm Clock, Herman's Hermits, or Gary Lewis and the Playboys. A star.Oh, what was that lighting director thinking? Why on earth did he use those strobe lights? The dizziness is better now, but the doctor says I might need back surgery.There I was on a pedestal, ponying my head off to "Ina Gada Da Vida" at '60s-A-Go-Go, the dance club and living history museum that introduces younger Americans to that psychedelic '60s scene. A place where relics of love-ins, sit-ins and "Laugh In" serve as guides on a tour guaranteed to blow your mind. "The club has given us a new lease on life," said Figgy, a resident of the Home for Aged Go-Go Girls. She can still manage a gritty demonstration of the watuse. "It's the collest thing since "Mod Squad" and my great-grandson digs the autographed pictures of the Monkees."I may not have been on tv like the Monkees, but in my own way I tried to tune in, turn on and drop out, which was hard in a small town. That's why my bust (a small statue of my "head") is in the museum. Because I was the only person in Axel to smoke a banana, a custom introduced by pop icon Donovan Leitch in his song, "Mellow Yellow." I still remember the summer day I woke up late, ironed my hair and slipped into a pair of paper panties. I put my Procol Harum album on the record player and lit a chunk of incense to make my pad seem far out. (My mother had gone to her job at the girdle factory.) I was in with the in-crowd as I settled back on a floor pillow and took a puff of banana peel. Just then, the phone rang."Cousin Vicki, I'm on a heavy trip, man. I dropped some bad acid." It was Cousin Larry, who worked at a head shop in Austin. Lucky for Larry, I was in honors chemistry. "Don't touch it," I warned. "Acid can eat a hole right through your hand." I thought of the melted linoleum in chemistry lab and silent hoped Larry hadn't burned a spot on Aunt Loretta's Persian rug.Larry yelled and the phone went dead. "Oh, well," I sighed and returned to my "electric" banana. Switching on the black light, I painted flowers on my face for a couple of hours. Man, was I was high. Then I snuffed out my banana and went in the living room because it was time for "Gidget".That's how I earned a spot in history. My kids freaked when they heard the way-out things I used to do. And to think -- if it weren't for the museum, nobody would even know how cool I used to be. Cousin Larry owns a swimming pool supply business now -- just can't get enough of those chemicals. But on weekends his band, Larry and the Pacemakers (four fab guys with pacemakers), plays at the Ramada Inn. They're known for their hilarious parody songs, such as "Give Peas a Chance," which they perform at weddings and bar mitzvahs. It's far out when old timers can get a gig.

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