June 3/12

Henry Winkler: The man who was the Fonz!

Hello. Welcome to the month of June! From facebook statuses, I read that spring remains elusive for some. With summer almost upon us, we'll keep the faith.

I spent about five hours doing yard work yesterday. I usually work without a shirt on if possible: I like to tan. However, I started with a light jacket on - it was that chilly.

I have a non-powered lawn mower - you know, like you used to see a few decades back. It's a fair bit of work to use. I soon broke a sweat and took my jacket and t-shirt off. Five minutes after I'd finished, it started to rain. Back on with the t-shirt and jacket.

About half an hour later, the sun burst forth. With all the moisture in the air, suddenly it was baking hot. Within two minutes I was overheating, and had to take the jacket and shirt off again. The sun stayed for about forty-five minutes, then rain again! Back on with the t-shirt and jacket. That cycle repeated about three times.

While spreading some compost on the back lawn, I found a big rock just under the surface. I'll offer my nine-year-old first crack at getting the rock out. He's shown some interest in that before.

Today is grey again - probably about 8 degrees so far, though it's only 8:30 in the morning. I haven't checked the forecast.

Henry Winkler, as stated above, played The Fonz on Happy Days, which ran 1974-1984. A nostalgic sitcom about the 50s and 60s, it wasn't a comedy like you might imagine today. Every episode had some laughs, but laughs weren't the show's main point. Rather, it was a "feel-good" show in which the old American values were confirmed and people were brought back to them when they wavered. The Cunninghams were a nuclear family with two children; I can't remember anyone divorced on the show. The Cunninghams had a nice house, but no one on the show lived large. Every week was little changed from the last, save some different - yet "ordinary" - problem that needed to be worked out.

The expectation that life shouldn't change - that's the central theme of Happy Days. How different that is from today's thinking! Most people today would probably criticize the lifestyle on Happy Days as boring. Yet, no one on the show seemed to feel that way.

The last trade surplus the US enjoyed was in 1975. Some people say that we haven't made any progress in North America since the "happy days" of the 1950s. To be sure, for every way we've gone forward, you can counter with a way we've gone backward since then.

Arthur Fonzarelli - the protector of the teenagers on the show - advised and navigated the kids past their many pitfalls. He was a '70s icon: I remember kids with Fonzie t-shirts saying "aaaaaaaaaa" just like Fonzie did on the show. (It's pronounced like the 'a' in lake.) Fonzie owned the thumbs-up gesture for many years.

People aren't so easily impressed today, yet look at America now relative to then. Many people think we've outgrown those days, but could an opposite argument also be made?

Looking good, Fonzie! I always enjoyed watching you on Tuesdays. You were the first person I ever saw on colour TV - before then, I hadn't known you wore blue jeans. Anyway, thanks for everything.

Wikipedia was a source for this article: here and here.

Henry Winkler Back