Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Black Hole

One day, several year ago, I made a innocent little comment. I can't remember all the particulars, but somehow I referred to some repetitive thing being like "Groundhog Day." The only response I received was a puzzled expression. "You know, Bill Murray?" The puzzled expression slightly frowned. "But you were BORN on GROUNDHOG day! How could you have NOT seen that MOVIE?"*

It was then that I realized I had once again encountered the unusual phenomena of the black hole. Just what is the black hole? Imagine two years living outside the United States. Without TV, radio, movies, internet, or phone calls home. Do you know what happens? A complete pop culture black hole. Nothing.

Remember the Police chasing OJ's white Ford Bronco down the freeway? How about Waco Texas? Baseball strike that cancelled an entire season? These things are known to Peter only secondhand.

At the beginning the gaps were obvious. He missed the premier of Friends, ER, and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Poor guy even missed the beginning of Power Rangers and Ricki Lake and the Nanny (I know, what a loss). He quickly assimilated as much as possible. Forrest Gump and Jurassic Park were a must see if you wanted to understand regular conversation. Life is like a box of what?

Years later, he knows the words to I Will Always Love You and Rhythm is a Dancer better than I ever did. Somehow, even immediately after his mission he knew the power of playing Fields of Gold on a date (of course it is hard to go wrong with Sting).

Every once in a while the black hole rears its head again:

"Hello? Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have obvious chemistry! Didn't you ever watch Sleepless in Seattle?"

"Robin Williams, cross dressing at its funniest? How could you have missed that?"

"Tanya Harding- Nancy Kerrigan, it was only in the news FOREVER!"

On the flip side, he can tell you what a big deal it was when Norway voted against joining the European Union, how exciting the Olympics were in Lillhammer, and every Ace of Base song. So he does know some pop culture during that time, its just not our culture.

*On a side note, I made him watch Groundhog Day. After all, it was based on the holiday shared with his birthday. And Happy Birthday Peter!! And Happy Groundhog Day, too.


  1. At that last comment I was like "Oh crap I forgot Peter's Birthday" but then I remember that it is on groundhog day which isn't today. Happy Birthday Peter (in a few hours)

  2. Your post made me laugh so hard because Ken and Peter have the SAME black hole!!! Ken always loves to have the missionaries guess his age, and then tell them that Jurassic Park came out while he was on his mission! Happy Birthday one day early to Peter, and just a side note, everyone should see Groundhog Day...

  3. That was exactly how I felt about the whole Monica Lewinsky/Clinton affair, as well as Columbine. Of course, my brother made me watch "The Six Sense" a couple days after I got home and I am still having nightmares. :)
    Happy Early Birthday, Peter. What a cool day to have a bday. We, well, I, always watch Groundhog Day on Groundhog Day. It is the funniest movie. "Am I right or am I right? right? right?"

  4. Happy Birthday, Peter! Have you dragged Peter to Punxatawny yet? I think that has to be one of the dullest places on earth, but if your birthday is on groundhog day - it seems only reasonable to go there. Once.

  5. I love Groundhogs day. (The day and the movie) It is my favorite holiday.

    Happy Birthday Peter!

    Kristen missed 9/11 while she was on her mission! That is weird to me!

  6. funny, and so true, my hubby has that same black hole!

  7. WOW!! You married an OLD man!!! Holy Cow how old is he!!! Happy Birthday Pete...I will have to uncover some pictures of what Charlotte was doing during Pete's black hole!

  8. Barlow missed 9/11 too. It's so funny to ask Barlow if he remembers a song, and if he didn't I think, "Ok, this was popular when I was a freshman... oh. nevermind. He was gone." It happens quite a bit. Also, I'm surprised how much of that stuff I remember, seeing as I was still crawling at the time :-)

  9. Kent missed the Macarena--but my seven-yr-old is teaching it to him now. Bigger than that, he missed the internet going public! I signed up for my BYU internet account soon after he left, and boy did the web grow while he was gone. Fortunately for him, he spent more time with me upon his homecoming than with the computer and its link to the rest of the world.

    Happy birthday Peter!

  10. How funny! I've never thought about it quite that way. I'm not sure that Ryan has a cultural black hole...I don't know if that's a good sign or a bad one or just a sign that Mexico is close enough that he didn't miss anything.

  11. Thanks alot - just paid .99 plus tax for "Rhythm is a Dancer" on iTunes . . . Ace of Base? Didn't they have a song about "All that she wants is another baby"?!?! :)

    Happy Birthday to old man Peter!

  12. I'm so glad you made Peter watch Groundhog's Day. It's classic! Being out of the country is no excuse for missing that movie. Luckily, he has a cultured wife.

    Happy Birthday, Peter!

  13. Happy Birthday Peter. Did the ground hog see his shadow?