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10:24 a.m. - 2012-03-14
Be Kind, Rewind

Recently a couple of my friends have spoken of their love of cheesy stuff and how much they're enjoying the freedom from the onus of being thought cool and smart. A least about their snack food habits and their media choices. I was thinking much the same myself early this morning when a particularly nasty nightsweat woke me and while I let the fan blow over my sodden bod and bedding I flipped through the channels looking for something soothing and chose a Time-Life infomercial for the Singers and Songwriters cd collection. I laughed because with the exception of 'Wildfire' by Michael Murphey I loved every single one of the songs in that collection. (I could go happily for the rest of my life without ever hearing 'Wildfire' again.) That's 149 songs' worth of the sappiest, poppiest, most cliched musical crap ever to ride the airwaves.

Even though I've heard them hundreds of times 'The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald' and 'Time In A Bottle' make me cry every damn time. (Actually so does The National Anthem, they don't get past "Oh say can you see..." before I'm leaking at the eyes.) I figured out a long time ago that if my coolth were judged by my music that I'd be voted the Queen of Dork City by a landslide.

And I'm okay with that.

Not only do I love dorky pop music (why yes, I do own a Nickelback cd, thankyouverymuch) I also adore novelty songs. When I was pregnant with Alex and our 'entertainment budget' was whatever pocket change we could scrounge off the bedroom floor, on Sunday nights Mike and I would go to 7-11 for Slurpees and then ride around in our ancient VW listening to The Doctor Demento Show on the local college radio station. We couldn't pick up the station's signal on our tiny transistor radio at our dinky apartment out in the boons so listening on the car radio while we cruised that cosmopolitan hot spot, College Station, Texas and circled the A&M campus in the warm moist dark was a must. (Cruising was also the surest way to get Alex- the amazing kickboxing fetus to go to sleep. Always a car sleeper, he was about 9 years old before a car ride didn't put him into an automatic coma.)

However, I come by my love of novelty songs honestly. When I was a wee tiny kid my mother had a compilation album of some of the goofier hits of the 1950s. I remember 'At The Hop' by Danny and the Juniors was on that record, as was 'Tutti-Frutti' by Little Richard and 'Splish Splash' by Bobby Darrin, but the one Gidget and I loved best and would play over and over was 'Stranded in the Jungle' by The Cadets.

That song still cracks me up.

How much do I love novelty songs? This ought to tell you- the only artists I've seen in concert multiple times are: The Ramones, Joan Jett, and Weird Al Yankovic. That's right, when Weird Al comes to town I'm the first one at the box office for tickets. Not only that but both my kids' first concerts were Weird Al shows. (The man does an incredibly family-friendly show. No beer, no drugs, no filth. I had zero qualms about taking 6 year old Wolf to a Weird Al concert.)

Some of the first 45's I bought were: 'Witch Doctor' by David Seville (yes, he of the Chipmunks fame), 'Put The Lime in The Coconut' by Harry Nilsson, 'My Ding-A-Ling' by Chuck Berry, and 'Yummy Yummy' by Ohio Express. I also collected The Archies records that came embedded on the back of the boxes of Honeycombs cereal. To play those you had to weight the stereo's tone arm with a whole pile of nickels, those cardboard 'records' were stupidly warped. (Yo, young people! Go ask your grandma what a 'tone arm' is. It's right up there with butter churns and shoe buttons as relics you whippersnappers don't know squat about. While you're at it, ask her what a '45' is. It's not a gun, I'll tell you that much.)

Anyhoodle, I've wandered off topic as usual. The topic being getting over yourself and the supposed arbiters of what's cool, what's worthy, and what only a mindless numyuk would watch, listen to, or eat.

Look, I'm still not without my own prejudices. I truly think anyone who votes GOP, watches NASCAR, or believes evolution is a 'theory' and thus in doubt should be dragged off and sterilized for the good of humanity. I think if you spent more on your TV than on your kids' dental health that you need a good one upside the head. I think if your hips are wider than your shoulders and capri pants are your go-to choice that you need an intervention by Anna Wintour and a squad of the fashion police. I think if you still don't understand the rules of: your and you're/ there, they're, and their/ and to, too, and two/ or spell it 'wierd' or 'definately' that you immediately forfeit the right to internet access forever. But I understand these are my own little irrational buggabears and not shared by everyone.

I also understand that there's plenty of folk just panting to heap scorn on me about my pedestrian and oh so trite taste in music.

So my ultimate point here today (if I have one, which is in doubt) is about granting each other some elbow room. That some of the stuff that makes me want to stab myself in the head with a fork isn't necessarily as offensive to others and vice versa. That my love for bubble gum pop, processed white sugar and domestic cars doesn't automatically make me unworthy of respect and friendship. Nor does your thing with reality shows, Jodi Piccoult, or chain restaurants. The world has become such a divisive and unhappy place that granting ourselves some grace space to have our small pleasures without harsh condemnation and snotty remarks might help diffuse things a little. In any case it can't hurt, eh?


Off to dance around like a loon to The Offspring's 'Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)' for the bazillionth time, ~LA

Give it to me, baby!


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