As frequently seen here and in my daily life, I think very often about change and time and the meaning and weight of change and time. This is not just a function of Midlife Questioning; I have thought about it all my life, the idea that you are constantly changing, time is moving, if you are headed in a purposeful direction, that there is a function to all the movement other than biology and the regulation of the solar system.

This, naturally, leads me to think about rock n' roll. Granted, a donut or a dust bunny or a rock itself can get me to think about music. It is never far from my mind. It is an interesting thing as rock music, the "music of youth," nears its seventh decade -- 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, almost to 10s. The pioneers of rock n' roll are senior citizens. What does it mean now? Clearly, rock fans are no longer just in their teens and 20s; all this time, the power of this music has pulled generation after generation, and for the most part they stayed. I see it every time I go see a concert now. I usually have some kind of expectation that I will be the oldest one there, but it is never the case, and often there are people with 10 or 20 years on me, and I am someone who has been around for most of rock's years. It didn't used to be this way. Everyone is staying, more keep coming, because there is no expiration date on how music makes you feel. The joy and the power of it is bigger and longer lasting than the people who make it and the people who listen. For me, it is a privilege to see, this change, this weight. People younger than me don't remember what it was like to have a good portion of the generation or two in front of you HATE rock music and take any opportunity to crap on it or in some case, try to shut it all down.

But you can't do that. The dancing go-go Pandora is permanently out of her cage. You can't ever really stop anything that waited so long to get out. But this is still a place of Youth Culture, and those rock folks who have been around awhile, even the biggest and most respected, have a new kind of discrimination to face that must feel very odd. Take a look at this, Ron O'Conner's piece on "The Top 25 Rockers Over 50":

I am in reasonable agreement with his list, with the notable exception of Madonna. I do not consider Madonna a rocker, just a media profiteer. You have to have a heart of some sort and also minimal talent to create music, Madge. It's kind of like calling Dick Cheney a selfless civil servant. Please.

So here we have our lovable group of Rocker Chairs: Ozzy the Addled Elder, The Get-Off-My-Lawn Curmudgeons Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Ray Davies, Charlie Watts, and Chuck Berry; Frizzy-Haired Poetress Covered in Oil Paints Patti Smith; Hog-Callin' Grannies Lucinda Williams and Wanda Jackson; Hipster Vampires Prince, Mick Jagger, and David Bowie; Vaudevillians Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen; Crusty But Sly Loners Van Morrison and Neil Young; Tenured Professors Richard Thompson, Bob Dylan, and Elvis Costello; and Juvenile Delinquents 4 Life Iggy Pop, the members of AC/DC, Lemmy, Jerry Lee Lewis, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood.

I remember a conversation I once had with my mother many years ago when I still lived at home, all youthful and such. I was asking her why she looked sad, and she told me she wasn't, she felt happy and good. She told me it was just the lines on her face making her seem that way. "It's funny," she went on, "I don't feel any different than I did went I was 19. I am always so surprised to see myself in the mirror. It isn't how I feel at all." That made such an impression on me. I had never thought of my mom having this teenager living in her, that she thought of as the core of her, but she was so right. You can't do too much to stop the effects of time on the physical body, but you are always you in there, and it must be the same for all the Rocker Chairs above. They are Them (well, especially Van Morrison ZING), and still want to be out there, make good things, entertain people, feel the happiness and depth of their music, youth-defined culture be damned. Good is good, and numbers are just numbers. You spend so much time trying to hurry and grow up, then trying to be accepted as a adult by the older ones, then by that time you are you are already looking at Over-The-Hill birthday cakes in the office lunchroom. There is never a win moment with that.

Maybe the whole point is just that You Be You, no matter what, and maybe that is what pulls me to rock 'n roll so much. The imperfection and the individual and the courage to say this is me, this is what I do, like me or don't, I'm still doing it. Love it love it love it.

Here is Paul McCartney a few days ago on The Colbert Report. Funny, and I am liking his outfit too.