1. It’s Wednesday, May 20, 2015.
2. David Letterman’s 33 years on late-night television crept up on everyone. It’s hard to believe he’s been working in the thick of the night for so long, and that he’s actually retiring.
I have to confess that I have never watched an entire “The Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS. I stopped watching late talk shows when I started needing to up for work within a few hours of his sign-off.
But back in the early ’80s when I was working for the AP in the evenings, it was Letterman’s NBC “Late Night” show that was on when I got home. I usually missed the first few minutes, but it was still a good show to watch in order to wind down from the day. Since then, I’ve watched the Top Ten and any viral snippets online.
That, in a way, epitomizes the state of late-night television. Back before the Web and DVRs, you had to watch Letterman, Carson and any of the others in real time. The idea of watching the whole show, or just the best bits, the next day was nonexistent. It’s just one of those changes that, like David Letterman’s career, crept up on us.
To the point that very few people watching Letterman remember that most TV stations ran the national anthem and a test pattern at about the time his show normally ends. The changes are wondrous, but they make you realize how so many things in our lives change without much warning in a fast-moving world.
Tonight, as David Letterman joins me in the strange and wonderful world of retirement, I will make a point of watching the show. In large part, it’ll be because he’s a wonderful entertainer. But in large part, it’ll also be because this is a part of my life experience that, like black-and-white TVs and mailboxes on the corner, is disappearing. At least this time, I know it’s happening.
3. The Filipinos apparently have shamed Malaysia and Indonesia into taking the Myanmar boat refugees. And I think the rest of the world should help all the countries resettle these folks and avoid at least one humanitarian tragedy.