I was sitting in a dark room with my mom and dad, watching a DVD of Man in Black: Johnny Cash Live in Denmark 1971 projected onto the wall. We’ve just paid $16 each for this privilege — or more accurately, for admission to the Johnny Cash Museum, where this room occupies a corner.
My mom sits rapt. Johnny Cash sings “I Walk the Line.” Johnny Cash introduces Carl Perkins, who seems to know his wave has long since crested, but rocks out gamely anyway. Johnny Cash sings “A Boy Named Sue.”
My parents, both children of first-generation immigrants who grew up in small houses crowded with siblings, raised my sister and me to be thrifty. We didn’t have central air conditioning in our house until I was in high school, so I’m always aware of the energy and expense of keeping rooms artificially cool on hot days. This is a hot day.
Johnny Cash has broken a sweat in front of an attentive, if not terribly passionate, Danish audience. The Statler Brothers show up, for some reason. I love Johnny Cash, but I’m restless.
It’s just a DVD projected onto a wall, I think to myself. Kind of a waste of money.
I’m on the verge of telling my parents we should get up and see the rest of the museum already. Then my mom leans toward my dad and me, wearing the sort of huge grin normally reserved for greeting her (continue reading)