I will be the first to admit that while I can name all 50 state capitals and know where most countries are located, I am a bit of a naif when it comes to popular cultural. By the time I discover that a singer is hot hot hot, they're usually not not not. So it comes as something of a shock that Justin Bieber seems to be staring back at me everywhere I turn these days, and in a last straw of sorts, I saw his face the other night in the potato latkes I fried up with some sea scallops.
This (what to call it?) . . . experience prompted me to try to find out what the big deal is about this lad, so I destroyed a few brain cells going to Justin Bieber fan websites, watching YouTube videos, and in something of an act of contrition for my ignorance, listening to him sing.
Taking account of the fact that I am a card-carrying member of a generation that had to take a school bus through snow to get to school, as opposed to my parents' generation, which had to walk through snow and endlessly prattled on about Abe Lincoln book learning by the meager light of a fireplace, I found young Bieber to be underwhelming: A cloyingly effeminate singer short on talent and long on that teenage heartthrob thing who defies convention by trying to act younger than his age. Which I suppose is exactly why he is so smashingly popular.
I must confess, however, that I found myself wondering if my son's old banana bike was still up in the attic and I could take it out for a spin with my Philadelphia Phillies baseball cap raked at that oh-so-Justin angle. In the dark of night, of course.