The Year that Janis Died

As I was standing outside of the restaurant, waiting for my parents, two somewhat disheveled, perhaps inebriated, men approached me. The first one said, “Tell him it was 1971. 1971 I say.” Not able to resist what might be an interesting conversation, I looked at him quizzically. He continued, “The year Janis Joplin died. She was 27 and it was 1971. The same year I was born.” I’m not great with dates. I shrugged and said, “Sorry, I can’t help you. I’m not sure when Janis Joplin died.” And at that moment I took out my phone to call my parents to see where they were. The other man said, “Hey! Look! She’s calling someone to find out when Janis Joplin died!” Except that I wasn’t. I was calling my parents. Who, now that I think about it, may have known when Janis Joplin died, but I didn’t think to ask them. “Can you call Jimi Hendrix? Jim Morrison? They would know when Janis died.” I looked at them and said, over a ring tone, “No, they died as well. I can’t call them.”

They continued to banter back and forth, arguing about the year Janis Joplin died. A friend came out from the restaurant to wait with me, probably wondering what I was doing talking to these two gentlemen. And they peppered him with the same question. They were determined. They wanted to know if Janis Joplin died in 1970, or 1971. My friend didn’t know either, but was amused by their antics. My parents arrived and we entered the restaurant.

Out of curiosity, I looked it up. 1970. Kind of glad I didn’t look it up while on the sidewalk. The first guy would have been so disappointed.

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