Having eggs for breakfast in a restaurant on Lincoln Avenue with my man, Mickey D, when I mention Eddie Haskell.
I can’t remember why I mentioned Haskell’s name. Doesn’t really matter. What matters is what happens next….
“Who?” asks Mickey.
“Eddie Haskell,” I say.
My fork stops mid air. I look at Mickey to see if he’s messing with me. But, no, he looks serious.
“You don’t know who Eddie Haskell is?” I ask.
“No,” he says, just a little annoyed.
“From Leave it to Beaver?”
“You know, I’m not as old as you.”
He has a point. Mickey being around 40 and me being around, oh, Methuselah’s age. But still….
“C’mon, man,” I say. “You should know about Eddie Haskell.”
“I didn’t grow up on `50s television….”
“Yeah, but Eddie Haskell transcended the show. He’s the ultimate brown noser. He’s a cultural icon.”
“But not to my generation. Just because your generation knows something, doesn’t mean every generation does.”
“I bet you the waitress knows who he is,” I say.
“I bet you she doesn’t.”
So I call over the waitress, who can’t be more than 35. And I say….
“I’m gonna ask you a question — there’s no right or wrong answer. I just need to know. Okay?”
“Who is Eddie Haskell?”
“Who?” she says.
“I don’t know.”
A-ha,” Mickey proclaims. “Told you, motherfucker.”
Only he doesn’t say motherfucker — cause he’s too well-behaved to talk sassy to his elders.
And with that I’m off on one of my great sociological explorations — in this case, to determine who does and doesn’t know who is Eddie Haskell?
For the record, I’m doing this because I’m on a search for the truth. But, off the record, and not to be repeated under any circumstances: I’m really doing this cause I hate being wrong.
So that night at the bowling alley, I’m asking every young person I meet — and by young, I mean anyone under the age of 40: Who is Eddie Haskell?
Which is a precarious thing to do on this night of all nights. Cause it’s the last bowling night before Christmas and everyone’s shit faced on eggnog and other intoxicants.
My survey shows that seven people know who Eddie is and three don’t. So, ha, ha, ha, ha, Mickey D!
The last guy I ask is Bob, the owner.
“Hey, Bob,” I say. “Who is Eddie Haskell?”
“Blow me,” he says.
Okay, well, I think that’s a sign that folks are pretty tired of me conducting my sociological exploration.
I tell you — it ain’t easy being a great sociologist.
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