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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

“You mean talk — just to each other?”

One of my favorite quotes is not by the French philosopher Voltaire but by renowned sage Homer Simpson, who once said, “Rock stars. Is there anything they don’t know?”

As the father of two freshman boys (high school and college), I continually am made well aware of my obviously many shortcomings as they are brought up with some regularity. But after last weekend’s road trip to a state swim meet with four boneheads in a car, I am a bit concerned about America’s next generation. I will take some allowances with Homer’s quote: “Teenage boys. Is there anything they don’t know?” No, there seemingly isn’t.

If you recently haven’t spent some “quality time” with teenage boys, it’s a shame you just haven’t been afforded this incredible opportunity. Some things don’t vary much at all from my youth. The sights, sounds, and smells don’t seem to have changed much. What is entirely different is the way they interact with their peers. The “conversation” is not limited merely to the confines of the car. There were group texts flying among swim team boys going to Indianapolis, teammates not going, members of the girl’s state swim team competing in Indy, and every conceivable type of connectivity imaginable, perhaps even with other galaxies.

I once thought my neighbor Gale Kroeger cool as he had a new CB and he and his buddies could talk over the air.

Snapchat, Instagram, and the constant texting — it occurs at a furious rate, and conversation between the boys then consists of discussing what someone just sent or more likely holding the screen up in the car for their group viewing, as I am sure I either “wouldn’t get it” or I likely am too lame for them to bother. Pulling back into Evansville, I realized I should be thanking them for the time spent in the rarified air of these teenage boys and to have absorbed some of their greatness and knowledge, even if by osmosis.

And on those rare occasions when I threw caution to the wind and actually entered (or attempted) to join the conversation? Better have those facts straight, old man, because they will fact-check you lickety split (look it up, boys) and be quick to tell you if you were off in your facts by a degree or decimal point. Just like your last test, son. Back at you.

I suppose I can say the best part of the trip is I soared with people who literally know everything, even if for me it was just a weekend.

We have received many favorable comments about the December/January feature “Downtown Uprising.” I know while our staff compiled the Downtown projects either proposed, under construction, or completed, we were surprised by the sheer volume of current Downtown development.

It now seems a common occurrence — with ever-increasing frequency — for a major new building or development to open or be announced. The DoubleTree by Hilton is the latest “game changer” to Evansville’s Downtown. It literally ties together the Old National Events Plaza, The Ford Center, and the hotel. Combine that with our beautiful library on the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard, and we have four sleek and architecturally pleasing buildings on one major gateway into Downtown.

I have had the opportunity to speak to many local developers and commercial Realtors over the last few months. It is refreshing to see how bullish everyone is on our community as a whole — a great way for a community to feel about opportunities. Oh, and I almost failed to mention a $25-million dollar, glass-infused renovation to the 18-story 420 building (the former Old National Bank building) just announced. Drawings show a building in the heart of our Downtown not looking like anything else that exists today. It should continue to be interesting (and fun) to watch all of this come together and let us celebrate these projects for what they are — each a victory for our community.

 I would ask everyone take a moment and think about the incredible perseverance, grace, and courage that defined the life of Nancy Sieben Koehler. We profiled Nancy in the January/February Evansville Living issue in the story “Fight to the Finish.” If anyone could read the beautifully written obituary penned by Nancy prior to her passing on Feb. 3 without emotion or seeing life from her beautiful point of view without a heavy heart, please check your pulse. I believe we all need a “perspective check” from time to time, and Nancy certainly provided that. She will be missed by many.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Todd A. Tucker

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