FLAGSTAFF, AZ—According to sources, area resident Scott Marchand, 37, lives in a state of pop-cultural stasis, never making references to movies, music, or television shows that came after 1988.
"It's strange," said longtime friend Rob Petrakis, 36. "Whenever he quotes lines from his favorite movies—Caddyshack, Wall Street, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Top Gun—it's never anything that came out after 1988. It's always 'I feel the need for speed,' or 'Greed is good,' or 'Those aren't pillows!' I don't know what part of the human brain controls the absorption of pop-cultural stimuli, but 1988 is apparently the year Scott's shut down."
Marchand, a real-estate agent with Coldwell Banker, graduated from Arizona State University in May 1988. That fall, he married college sweetheart Eileen Wells and moved to Flagstaff, where he has lived in a state of pop-cultural obliviousness ever since.
According to Petrakis, Marchand's knowledge of current music is as limited as his knowledge of other media.
"Scott's favorite band is U2, and has been ever since we roomed together in the dorms," Petrakis said. "Hey, I liked them back in college, too: Boy, October, The Joshua Tree—all great albums. But the weird thing is, even with his favorite band, his familiarity drops off after 1988. I've browsed through his CD collection, and the most recent U2 album he owns is [1988's] Rattle And Hum. You'd think he'd at least have Achtung Baby, but I've never heard him even mention it."
Marchand's isolation from all contemporary pop culture is especially confounding considering that he has an 11-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter, both of whom are steeped in today's films, video games, and music.
"I wanted Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for Christmas," son Jordan said. "Instead, Dad got me this collection of really old games like Pac-Man, Joust, and Dig Dug that he said are way better. Then he says, 'Let's pop in that cartridge so I can show you how to catch Pac-Man fever.' He doesn't even know that games are on CDs now. He's so weird."
Marchand is not without access to current pop culture. On his way to work, he passes billboards touting the latest movies and albums. Many of his real-estate coworkers are twentysomethings whose desks are well within earshot of his. His children talk about their favorite television shows at the dinner table. Regardless, he has seemingly managed to avoid absorbing any of the media that are virtually forced upon him.
"It's not like I keep up with all the latest stuff," wife Eileen said. "I mean, I'm busy working and taking care of the kids, but it's hard not to know about the new Matrix movie or American Idol. But with Scott, it's another story altogether. He'll see 'N Sync on TV and refer to them as 'one of those New Kids On The Block bands.' It's like he subconsciously threw a switch that made him ignore anything related to pop culture after he graduated from college. To him, it's like the Church Lady and Moonlighting are the pinnacle of Western civilization."
Asked about his habit of restricting his references to 1988 and years prior, Marchand pleaded ignorance.
"Do I do that?" Marchand asked. "I guess I never really noticed. Even if I do, though, I really don't think it's a big deal. I mean, if that's what I enjoy, then that's what I enjoy. Like I always say, 'Don't worry, be happy.'"