I was hanging out with my seven-year-old son, Raymond, recently, trying to think of ways to keep him off the iPad. Seeking a healthier way for him to spend his time is a nearly constant struggle. Then I realized that it was Friday night and that we had Fire TV.

“Let’s watch ‘The Dukes of Hazzard,’” I told him. “It’s what I used to watch when I was your age.”

Thanks to technology (it seems not even I am immune to the modern trappings I claim to abhor), we queued up the first episode, nestled into the sofa, and, at least for me, prepared for a journey back in time.

The Waylon Jennings song ensured an easy crossover.      

“Just two good ol’ boys/never meanin’ no harm/beat all you never saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they was born…”

Raymond frowned. I paid him no attention, for I was back in the early ’80s at my grandparents’ house, which smelled of the pizza we would order from the hole-in-the-wall joint out by the highway, as well as the pale, cream-colored button-up pajama top that I christened my Bo Duke shirt, in that silent, unorthodox, and magical way of which only a seven-year-old is capable. I also had a knife with a holder for my belt, along with faded blue jeans and cowboy boots. My friend Adam Rhymer was the best Luke Duke any kid could’ve asked for, and together on our bikes we righted every wrong we could find in our own little Hazzard County, which happened to be Gonce Subdivision in Stevenson, Ala.

My revery was disrupted by Raymond.

“Daddy, this is boring.”

I looked down to express my indignance, but the truth is, I was so lost in memory that I couldn’t have said whether he was right or wrong.

I started paying closer attention and was forced to admit that, in a way, my son was … correct.

“The Dukes of Hazzard” just wasn’t how I remembered it. Sure, there were the chase scenes, as well as the beauty of Daisy Duke, and I’ve already mentioned the theme song. But to say the dramatic material was lacking is like calling the criminal Boss Hogg’s morals merely questionable. From the standpoint of plot – the show just stank.

Who’s ever heard of moonshiners who have a special call to civic duty, the way Bo claimed to have? And that’s not to mention the cringe-worthy over-acting, the eerie smiling while driving at break-neck speed, the fight scenes presented as fun, Boss Hogg eating raw liver to show his animalism, or Daisy’s lunch of lemonade and chitterlings to show her Southernness, as well as a whole host of other things, too many to mention.

Trying to steel my resolve, I motioned Raymond off and turned the volume up; I tried once more to find my way back to those pleasant thoughts at my grandparents’ house, but it was pointless: I was no longer the same, and one way or another, neither were the Duke boys.

I spent the remainder of the episode thinking about trends and the passage of time. It occurred to me that there’s no shortage of things from our collective past to remind us of the weakness of our judgment. Things like wide plaid neckties or parachute pants, bands such as ABBA or Nickelback, not to mention food items like Jello molds or pineapple salad. These things, decisions we’ve made, haunt us and bring into question the wisdom of the decisions we’re making today.  

We turned the episode off, and I allowed Raymond to get out his iPad. We played Minecraft while I wondered what we would think about it a few years from now.

Along with his father, Allen Keller runs a lumber business in Stevenson, Alabama. He has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Florida State University and an MBA from University of Virginia. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News.

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