With It

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Over the years I've been described as many things. One of the most unexpected came a number of years ago when I was with a colleague on a business trip. It's a distinction I've yet to live down.

My friend and I were heading down in the elevator, when the car came to a stop and two black men joined us. The first was a large, young man wearing dark glasses. The second was an older man, who was wearing a shirt with what appeared to be a woman's name monogrammed over the pocket. The same insignia appeared on the large cases each man carried.

My friend, being an inquisitive and generally tactless sort, casually enquired whose name the monogram designated. The men looked at one another, then the younger spoke:

"Do you really not know who this is?"

Our heads were shaking, so he continued, slowly and with effect,

"This is Mr. B. B. King."

My life was, to put it simply, sheltered, and would not have been significantly impoverished had most forms of popular culture never been discovered. My companion was just disinterested, so the blank looks on our faces clearly did not convey the appropriate sense of awe.

The older man looked to his companion, shook his head, and remarked,

"It's just like I was say'in: The youth of today just ain't 'with it ...'"