By Mark W. Danielson
Classic. A great word suggesting timeless quality. It used to describe boats, airplanes, cars, art, music, even dance moves and golf swings may fall into this category. Why? Because masterpieces in every form appreciatively draw us in. Of course, exactly who determines what is considered “classic” remains to be seen.
I have seen and owned plenty of beautiful things over the years, but not everything should be considered classic. Back in 1971, the blue 1965 Corvette I owned with two tops and a 396 engine was nothing more than a gas guzzling hot rod. Even then I found it interesting that Road and Track magazine could not find a single original owner of a ’65 396 Vette. Sadly, I found out why when the car died the day I brought it home. Yes, folks, when it came to reliability, the 396 Corvette was among the worst. A few months later I sold it on a prayer for $1,300.00, unaware that this same car would later be worth over $120,000.00 because it’s now a classic. (I’d write a story about missed opportunities except we’ve all been there before.)
As a military pilot from 1975-95, I spent a lot of time flying F-4 Phantoms and A-4 Skyhawks. Now these workhorses-turned-classic fighters sit aboard museums such as the USS Lexington – the ship I carrier qualified on – awaiting visitors so they can relive their glory days. Suddenly, I feel old.
One of present my cars is a 1987 that some consider classic. That’s just not right! After all, 1987 is like yesterday! And then a visit to an antique store turned up far too many items that came from my childhood. For whatever reason, these toasters, toys, posters, are now in high demand. Mom, why did you give away my Tonka trucks and train set? I could be rich, had I been able to warehouse all of these things.
What’s particularly disturbing is how classy people will never be considered classic. Instead, as their faces fall and waistlines expand, they simply get OLD. Think about those labels -- classic versus old. No wonder elderly folks get grumpy! The mirror makes them old. Inside they are knowledgeable teens!
Clearly, aging is the price of being mortal, but nothing says we can’t leave classic work behind. Consider taking that approach in your writing, and remember there is no age or term limit for authors. Carefully crafted words may lead to masterpieces, but remember to enjoy life along the way.