Stub-o-rama: Hands Across America

I’ve got something a little different this time. No tale of newly-discovered music today. In fact, no music at all!

Yup, it’s true. Kathy and I participated in the great coming-together that was Hands Across America. Mocked by The Simpsons, called a failure before it even began, Hands was a huge benefit to fight hunger and homelessness. Whether it actually made much money is up for debate, but it certainly was a spectacle. It was an era of fundraising-as-spectacle: Do They Know It’s Christmas, Live Aid, We Are The World, Comic Relief. It’s as though a bunch of celebrities woke up in the 80s with the realization that, hey, Jerry Lewis might be on to something with that telethon thing. Now, of course, we help the world by buying stuff. But I digress…

We showed up at our allotted stretch of Route 355 a little while before the scheduled 3:00 start time. I seem to recall a that a lane or two had been closed off for the event. There was music (the “Hands Across America” song was so memorable, I’d completely forgotten about it until I looked up the event on Wikipedia today) and a general sense of expectation. There was also a lot of self-mockery for taking part and a thorough lack of organization. As 3:00 approached, we linked hands and stood there for a few minutes (was it really a full 15?). Then it was over. People milled about for a bit and dispersed. “That was it?” It reminds me of the whole Y2K thing: there was so much hype leading up to it and then… nothing.