Modern couples come and go. The broken family is practically a rite of passage these days. But through it all for generation X/Y, there has been one pair that has been the rock steady, the teflon tandem that made us believe that maybe solitude isn’t our collective destiny. Today I shed a solitary tear. Not for the suffering in Iraq, not for the piss-poor state of the Boston Celtics’ defense and rebounding, not for … other shit. Today my salty secretion (the tear) drips to mourn the split-up of Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen. From age 7 to 32, I looked to Valerie and Eddie for inspiration. Here is a little timeline of their time together and what was going on in my life and yours:
Val and Ed: Valerie meets Eddie backstage in Shreveport, LA.
Earth: A charismatic actor from California elbows his way past a benevolent peanut farmer to take over as leader of the free world.
Me: I get stuck in a chair while Mr. Murphy reads a story to my first grade class, and have to walk down the hall with a chair around my waist, past the 3rd graders, to the boiler room, where the janitor uses a welding torch to remove the chair.
Val and Ed: The lovebirds reach their career peaks (the final season of V-Bert’s “One Day at a Time” and Van Halen’s release of “1984”).
Earth: The Cold War reaches its bitchy peak, as Soviet Union withdraws from the summer Olympic Games in LA.
Me: I reach my geek peak, as my nutrition quiz team reaches the state finals and I discover Monty Python in the first of 20 some-odd viewings of Holy Grail.
Val and Ed: In his first attempt to lay off the bourbon, Eddie goes to rehab.
Earth: The Berlin Wall comes down.
Me: I win Junior Achievement President of the Year over my rival, Lance.
Val and Ed: Valerie gives birth to their only child, Wolfgang “Wolfie” Van Halen.
Earth: As apartheid ends in South Africa, Nelson Mandela is freed from prison.
Me: I graduate from high school and begin study at UMass.
Val and Ed: Eddie finally quits the sauce for good.
Earth: The Internet Architecture Board releases the Internet Official Protocol Standards and the US Supreme Court unanimously rules that most of the US Communications Decency Act (CDA) is unconstitutional. Porn proliferates like never before.
Me: I move into Pine Grove Trailer Park in Largo Florida and begin job as … “telemarketer”.
Val and Ed: After being diagnosed with tongue cancer, Eddie quits smoking, has a portion of his tongue removed, starts smoking again, and gets cancer again.
Me: The end of the Florida years, the beginning of the Boston years.
Val and Ed: Valerie files for divorce.
Earth: global strife.
Me: I work at a mutual fund company.
Welcome to the Club, Wolfie.