The 1976 Project

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(Pictured: a manifestation of Bicentennial fever, a disease more pervasive than those other famous diseases of 1976, Legionnaire’s Disease and the swine flu.)

Back in 2009, I wrote this:

It couldn’t really have been the way I remember it. The year 1976 couldn’t have been the continuous parade of great memories I’d prefer to recall. And it wasn’t. Some of my friends let me down in ways that still sting all these years later. I had no interest in or aptitude for farming, but I was still expected to do chores and drive a tractor around home. (The job I wanted, at our local radio station, I couldn’t seem to get.) I tried to be an athlete, but I knew I couldn’t play. And despite being preternaturally glib everywhere else, I turned into a gibbering idiot when talking to the opposite sex.

And yet, there was also this: School was easy and I liked it; most people seemed to like me most of the time. I got my driver’s license and the freedom that came with it. At the end of the year, I fell in love, not for the first time, but for the first time, somebody loved me back. It wasn’t only that, though. I believe everybody gets one year in which they’d live forever if they had the chance. For all these reasons and others I can no longer remember, 1976 would be mine.

And now here we are, 40 years since my year of all years. Because I share our culture’s general fascination with round numbers, this milestone seems important. We use round-number anniversaries to look back, to take stock—and to retell the cherished myths that give our lives meaning.

And so this blog is about to undertake the 1976 Project. I’ll plunder my back catalog, over 11 years of posts, for stuff I have written in the past about 1976. With very few exceptions, these posts will appear on Fridays, irregularly. The 1976 Project will also feature new stuff about that year—if I can find any aspect of it I haven’t written about yet.

Not every post in the coming year will be part of the 1976 Project. I will continue to write about other topics, too. But for calendar year 2016, what’s always been true about this blog will be more true than ever: we will always come back to 1976.

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