The other day, I woke up far too early to get up, but much too alert to go back to sleep. So I turned on the TV to find an episode of “I Love Lucy.”
The Ricardos and the Mertzes sat together in that iconic living room, listening to a beautiful radio, Bakelite by the look of it. One of the questions was about the last state to be admitted into the Union.
It was Arizona. Think about that. Back then, in the early days of the Lucy looniness, before the chocolate conveyor belt and weeks after Vitameatavegamin, Arizona was a baby state, only admitted in 1912, not yet dreaming of what was to come.
Then Lucy said she thought there were 46 states, and covered her embarrassment by saying she must have forgotten about Alaska and Hawaii, which was funny to them and not to us, because, of course, those states wouldn’t be admitted for seven more years. Such a strange thought.
Lucy, in that black-and-white living room, with the love seat sofa and the curtains in the background, only had 48 states. That we have 50 seems so immutable, so permanent.
But even these things change.