Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Details, details. (Or, Peggy Olson’s passport.)

I’m in a writers’ group, and the other day we work-shopped a story in which one of the characters was out in his driveway working on a 1950’s Mustang.

No, no, a thousand times no!

I didn’t make the point during the session, not when we were focused on big picture issues like voice and structure. But I mentioned it to the author while we were on the way out the door. (The author is an very old and very good friend, so I was able to make a joke of it by mentioning the name of a classmate of ours who actually drove one of the early Mustangs back in the day. Does it go without saying that the Mustang driver was one of the “funeral parlor daughters”, who made up a good chunk of the elites in our class?)

But this is just the sort of crap I pick up on and that drives me batty.

A few years ago it was some TV show, a dystopic saga that took place in Boston. Except when they showed folks gathering on the town green, the monument to the WWII veterans read “1939-1945”, indicating that the show was actually filmed in Canada.

Before that, it was a novel in which a character coped with the nylons shortage of WWII by drawing a seam up the back of her bare legs to mimic the look of sheer seamed stockings. The character in the book used a Magic Marker, which, of course, wasn’t invented until the 1950’s. Not only did I know that there were no Magic Markers during the war, I also knew – thanks to my mother – what women did use to draw on their fake seams. They used eyebrow pencils.(Probably a Maybelline.)

And then there is the matter of Peggy Olson’s passport.

I’m not an obsessive, but I am a fan of Mad Men.

And while she’s not my favorite character – that would be Sally Draper – Peggy, the scrappy up from the secretarial ranks copy chief, is certainly the one that I most identify with. (Oddly, when I took one of those which-Mad-Men-character are you, I came out as Don Draper’s first wife, the bitchy and vacuous Betty. If I couldn’t be Peggy,  could I not at least have been Joan, the voluptuous knockout?)

Anyway, I enjoyed the fact that so much of the first episode of the final season was devoted to Peggy.

Part of the episode focused on Peggy’s looking for her passport.

I was only half paying attention when Peggy finally found her passport, but unless I’m hallucinating, I did notice something funny about it.

As in it was blue.

Wait just a darn New York minute, I said to myself.

Didn’t we just see Richard Nixon on TV? So wouldn’t that make it the late 1960’s or early 1970’s?

Which would mean that passports weren’t that sharpfirst-3-passports-covers navy. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, passports were actually Wehrmacht grey-green. That’s it on the right.

So what was Peggy doing with a passport that didn’t exist until 1976, when blue passports were introduced as part of the bicentennial celebration.

With all the obsessive attention that Mad Men pays to period detail, how did they miss this one?

Perhaps they should have someone who actually lived during the 1950’s and 1960’s on staff who can make the “wait just a darned New York minute” calls.

I still have my original passport (issue date 1973) around here somewhere, along with one my husband had of the same vintage. (Cool ‘stache, hon.) Which is why I knew that Peggy’s passport would be green, not blue.

Of course, I wasn’t paying all that much attention, so maybe Peggy’s passport really was grey-green. But I could have sworn it was blue. And it shouldn’t have been.

Anyway, a mind is a terrible thing to waste on trivial little details, and I guess I’m exhibit number one on that account.

Why is it that I find these little detail errors so annoying?


And why, when there’s so much else to blog about on April 15th, did I head in this direction?

What could I have focused my Pink Slippian energies on instead?

Well, today is tax day and, wildly, I didn’t actually finish my taxes and send them off until yesterday. (Wildly, because I’ve generally been a February filer.)

I think I stalled because this is the last return I’ll do as married, filing jointly. I think I didn’t want to write “deceased” on the line that should have held Jim’s signature. Sometimes life is just hard…

In any case, I could have used today’s Pink Slip to focus on filing taxes, including the stupendous complexity involved in even the plain vanilla returns I file. I actually enjoy – in an odd way – doing my taxes. But I don’t enjoy reading the instructions. So, after a quick check to make sure nothing’s changed, I just go by what I did last year.

If I wasn’t going to do taxes, I could have done death.

It is, after all, the second anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Here’s a couple of bombing-related pieces wrote about the bombings at the time.: What Was Up Until 2:50 p.m. a Glorious DayThat Was the Week That Was, and Opening Day.

Of course, looking back, even up until 2:50 p.m., April 15, 2013 wasn’t all that glorious a day.

My husband’s cancer had recurred, and we’d spent the morning at MGH for a chemo session. We were guardedly optimistic that Jim would get some lease on life, but that was not to be.

As for the Opening Day piece about the first game I saw during the 2013 season, I went to that game with my very old and very dear friend Marie. A year later, nearly to the day of that ballgame, Marie was gone, too.

No wonder I didn’t want to write about the anniversary of the bombings.

Or I could have chosen to observe the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln.

They sure don’t make ‘em like they used...

But, no.

Instead I am focused on the color of Peggy Olson’s passport.

Did I already say Grrrrrrr…..?

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