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Spinning the Bottle in 1964

(Author’s note: The names have been changed to protect the innocent).

“Louanna’s mama called me this morning.”

I froze and held my breath, waiting for my mother to continue. I glanced at her hands on the steering wheel. Her knuckles were white.

“She said y’all had a good time at Sue Ellen’s birthday party last night.”

Here it comes, I thought. Louanna and her big fat mouth.

“Pam: since when did you think it was acceptable to play spin the bottle in Sue Ellen’s backyard and walk to the church, holding hands with Tommy Biggers? I don’t ever want to hear of that happening again. That is not a lady-like thing to do.”

We rode in silence toward Callaway Gardens. I was 13 years old and fortunate enough to have a summer job as a junior counselor with the Florida State University Circus…I thought I was a “jewel” (means the same as “the bomb”), and I considered my mother’s admonition an intrusion into my independent lifestyle…everybody played spin the bottle when they turned 13. Things were different now. It wasn’t old-fashioned anymore.

Suddenly, as if the radio gods heard my silent plea for support, Bob Dylan’s new song “The Times They Are A-Changing” began to play. I reached for the volume knob, turned it up, and sang along with my rebellious comrade.

“Well I don’t care what he says, the times aren’t changing around here,” said my mother, as she turned that knob so hard to the left I thought it was going to break off. That meant the conversation was over.

But the times did change: Tommy Biggers entered Troup High as a freshman and fell in love with someone during study hall, and I don’t think I ever played spin the bottle again…lip-lockin’ at the Methodist Church sucks.

Times changed then and times are changing now, but regardless of the technology or how much we are all wired, certain truths remain. For instance, if you’re gonna hold hands with Tommy Biggers, make sure Louanna Gilmore doesn’t know about it.

And the

Stupid Comment of the Week Award

(Henceforth known as the S.C.O.W. Award)

goes to…

Senator Rick Santorum:

“Conservatives do not want someone to manage the economy.”


Watch the entire interview (about 8 minutes) – santorums-delegate-troubles – with CNN’s Candy Crowley to hear him say the winning comment and several more that will make you scratch your head. I don’t mean to belabor what so many amateur and professional public commentators are doing, but he is such an easy target. Bless his heart: go home and take an aspirin Rick.

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