Monday, October 22, 2007

Songs In My Head

I can't get away from it. Someone will say something, or I'll think a thought, that has the same words as part of a song from my past. And there it goes, whether I like it or not.

One morning, after days of gloomy skies, my mom looked out the window and told me, "It looks like the sun came out."

The sun'll come out, Tomorrow,
Betchyer bottom dollar that tomorrow...

Yep. That's a persistent one. It stays with you for a long time.

Some mornings I'll check my watch (it has a button that makes it light up in the dark), and when it says 6:30, the song "Me and Mrs. Jones" starts going. I hate that song, because I hate the message--having an affair--but it comes anyway. Give me 6:00 or 7:00 on my watch, but not 6:30. Lately, when "Mrs Jones" has started, I'll intentionally work on "Tomorrow," because as annoying as it is, it's not as bad as Mrs Jones, yet it's strong enough to push the adulterers right out of my mind.

There was a guy I used to work with (the same guy who kept Gummi Bears on his desk and we'd pull their little ears and make them squeal--"Eeeeh! Eeeeh!"--before biting their little heads off and eating them), and another guy would walk past his desk and sing, "A horse is a horse, of course, of course," just to get the song started in the Gummi Bear guy's head. Cruel.

Other times at work, we'd go out to lunch for a special occasion, and I'd check the time when we got back. If we'd been gone for two hours, I'd think, "A two hour lunch," which has the same rhythm as "A three hour tour...." The version that I'd get is the one with "...the Professor and Mary Ann."

One time, when we were driving through Maine, I noticed that the Len Berry song, "1-2-3," was in my head. It made me happy, because that's my best Karaoke song. I'm not sure what started it. Probably a Route number or an address on a building we passed, but I didn't care. I enjoyed that song while I had the chance.

The most surprising song showed up a couple days ago after we left my brother's house and were driving across Massachusetts. There was a road sign announcing, "Flatbush Rd."

When I was in high school, I was in the play, "No, No, Nanette." I was in the chorus, where I almost always ended up, before I realized I didn't have the talent to make any money acting. There's a scene where three pretty ladies arrive to meet one of the husbands in the show, but the other husband sees them and starts talking to them. He asks their names. The first one is Winnie, from Washington. The second one I forget, but her first name started with the same letter as the town she was from. The third one is Flora, and the man asks, "From Frisco?" And Flora says, "No, from Flatbush." The wife sees her husband with the pretty girls, thinks they're there to see him, and sings a torchy, blues song called, "Hubby Gone Blues," that I really loved.

But that's not the song that started in my head from the Flatbush Road sign. It was, "Too Many Rings Around Rosie."

...What good are "men" compared to "a man"?
And too many rings around Rosie
Will never get Rosie a ring.

It was a fun song--not the right song for the trigger--but it was the first time I've thought of that song in years and years and years.

And all of this brings me to a point I think I've made before in my blog: Songs stay with you. They're always there, just waiting for the right trigger to set them off. I've tried to drum into my kids to guard their minds from the toxic wasteland that's out there in much of the music industry. If you fill your ears with songs of Ho's and other filth, they will still be there when you're old. Fifties kids (and Sixties "Oldies" listeners) still remember the words to "Who Put The Bomp" and "Monster Mash." What will you or your kids remember?

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