Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

November 2011

What with all the news coming out of Europe about economic problems (sure glad that stuff doesn’t affect us!) I am reminded of the chief difference between them and us.

No, it’s not money, Euro versus Dollar, VAT taxes, parliamentary government or cultural issues, or language even. The chief difference is the age of stuff relative to the age of the individual.

By the time I was 11 years old, I knew the difference between old buildings and new buildings, for instance. As the years went by, I  sorted stuff by age: the new library versus the old library; the new police station, new store, old school. However, I was not very good at making distinctions between old stuff, although clearly, some old stuff was older that other old stuff. Nor did it seem to matter.

When I was a freshman in college there was a great building boom on campus: new hockey rink, new basketball gym, new football stadium. When I returned years later, all the buildings I thought of as new had been torn down and replaced.

Think about the White House. Proudly, of course, it’s the official residence of the POTUS. It has been since John Adams and the lovely Abigail moved in after completion in 1800. Now think like a Brit and consider Windsor Castle, home of the royals since 1060. Get where I’m coming from on this?

Harvard University is getting ready to celebrate its 375th birthday. Of course, 1636 was a long time ago, but did you know that BU (Bologna, not Boston) started classes in 1088?

The Empire State Building is older than I am, but the palace of Versailles started out as a hunting camp in 1624, and 58 years later was where the Louies started holding court. Let’s see: Empire State Building was completed in 1931, the year my brother was born. How many of his grandfathers’ grandfathers would be tallied between that French hunting camp and the great American skyscraper?

The Bennington monument was erected to commemorate the centennial celebration of a battle waged and won in 1777, so that’s pretty old.

Plus, America’s got Plymouth rock, you know. That was stepped on in 1620. That’s old, as in French hunting camp old.

So what’s Europe got for rocks, anyway?

Oh, yeah, Stonehenge. Bit of controversy there, though. Some say 1400 to 2200 BC is about right; others argue 3000 B.C.

See what I mean?