Part 1: One of our great history teachers – was it Mr. Haffner? – said he wasn’t going to make us remember a lot dates, but there was one that we HAD to remember. It was 1066, and he told us why it such a critical date in the history of western culture.

Part 2: Forty years later I was driving back from a Washington DC pro-rainforest rally with some friends. As we got off the highway for a lunch stop, we were talking about big dates in history, and I mentioned the 1066 date, and someone in the van asked why it was so important.

We were at a red light, and, on a whim, I rolled down my window and asked the guy in the vehicle to our left, “What happened in 1066?” Without hesitation, and with a pronounced UK accent, he replied, “Battle of Hastings!”

That was a close as I have come the scene where Woody Allen pulls Marshall McCluhan from behind a plant to settle a question at the movie theater, in Annie Hall.

Thank you to Mr. Haffner, if that was you.