Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stuck Inside My Head...

It’s happened to all of us. There’s no escaping it…no one is immune.

You hear the first bar. Sometimes just the first two–or three–or four notes…and you’re stuck. Like a record that’s skipping, you have the same stanza of a song stuck in your head. It repeats itself over and over and over (and over and over and over) again. And again.

It’s enough to drive you crazy.

Before I continue with that line of thought, however, let me explain the previous paragraph for the benefit of the younger generation of readers. A “record” was a slender, circular disk of grooved vinyl which, when made to spin with a needle set into the grooves, produced sound. Often, that sound was music, but sometimes it was voice, or some resonance from nature or industry. Records were a technology that I (almost) understood and I hope youngsters will take the time to research this important invention from our past. For it is a fact: my generation grew up listening to music which emanated from a spinning vinyl disk when a needle was placed within its grooves.

Amazing, huh?

We used to have to lick postage stamps to affix them to letters, too. That’s how bad things used to be...

But back to my original topic; this “getting a song stuck in my head” business.

If you’re lucky, the song that gets stuck in your head is one that you like… although the down-side is that you’ll never like it again after the next three days’ worth of hearing it repeated internally inside your brain. The funny thing is—it doesn’t STAY in your brain! You find yourself breaking out in song in the most unlikely of places—and completely against your will! You whistle the song without thinking. You hum it when you’re supposed to be quiet. You even find yourself BREATHING in sync with the tempo of the song. How strange is that?

Yep. A few days with your brain stuck in a loop repeating “I’m too sexy” is enough to sour even the biggest fan of that amazing pop hit.

But what happens when the song that burrows into your psyche is a melody you despise? With words that irritate you beyond measure?

What if it is…the theme song of “Barney”?

If it’s not too late, close your eyes! Stop reading! Immediately! The purple dinosaur and his song are an insidious virus! Once you’ve been infected, you can be laid low for a week. A whole week! One whole week of singing, whistling, humming, breathing and thinking…

“I love you. You love me. We’re a hap-py fam-i-ly. With a great big hug…”

Oh, man!!! You didn’t close your eyes, did you? When—oh, when—will you learn to listen to me?

Yes, there was a time when I thought that the absolute worst song to get stuck in my head was the “Barney” theme song. Josie and Eli would torture me with it. Intentionally and with malice-aforethought! Their goal was to mess with my equilibrium. These seemingly innocent children would wait until I walked through the living room with a basket full of laundry in my arms, completely defenseless and unable to cover my ears, before piping up with the dreaded words. The despised tune.

Without a doubt--they can be evil little munchkins.

And yes, I felt guilty for hating Barney and his feel-good song and all things purple and saccharine-sweet. But I couldn’t help it. I did.

Hated. With a T-Rex-sized ‘H’.

As contagious as the Barney theme song was, though… there is a tune that has settled into the Pease Family Subconscious which is far more irritating. Maybe it’s because we don’t know the words? Maybe it’s because it is a song which is (we think) 200 years old? Maybe it is because—no matter how many times Steven, Eli and I forget the song and start to heal from the trauma induced by days and days of repetitive whistling, humming and breathing it…we still don’t know what it is!

It’s all Josie-Earl’s fault. She started it. She whistled it one afternoon two months ago while sprawled on the sofa reading “Clan of the Cave Bear”. I immediately picked up the tune (which seemed benign at the time) and whistled it back. I asked her what it was.

“I don’t know. Some Beethoven thing.”

Well, my “Beethoven” education was all about St. Bernards and drool. That’s it. No humming, no singing, no whistling, no breathing in tempo with a song. But now…that’s all I do.

Da-da, da-da, da-da, dee-dee-DUM. Da da dee DUM… da da dee DUM!

And over and over and over again. If you were unlucky enough to pick up the tune from my simple ‘das’ and ‘DUMs’…I sincerely apologize. I may have single-handedly killed your love of classical music. There’s only one way to escape having that song stuck inside your head.

“I love you. You love me. We’re a hap-py fam-i-ly…”


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Slipping in 'Slippers'

My pride took a wicked beating last week, and I haven’t been able to straighten my right arm, since.

The Pease clan had been invited to Patty’s and John’s for supper. Beef tips in mushroom sauce, potatoes, and (I was told) a kid-friendly vegetable for Eli. Patty even made the point of extending a specific invitation to the Wees. She wanted us to bring the puppies.

Steve’s eyes lit up and he rubbed his hands together in glee.

“Ooh! Revenge! Can we get them to pee on HER couch? Or…how about on her BED?”

My husband doesn’t hold a grudge but he finds an inordinate amount of bliss in getting even.

I baked a loaf of cheddar and onion bread to contribute to the meal. We donned coats, scooped up the Pease Wees, and exited the house. Since the pups aren’t completely housebroken (as in… they have at least one accident every blasted day!) I put them down in the driveway so that they could do their ‘business’ before we began the 45 minute ride to the Cormiers’ house, which sits adjacent to their retail business (Kennebec Home Brew Supply) in Farmington.
As I contemplated the appropriateness of that run-on sentence, Josie’s cat Curious (aka ‘Munchkin’, aka ‘Sister-Kitty’) trotted by. Scruffy perked up mid-piddle and pounced in pursuit. I spoke sharply to the dog, but she ignored me. She was focused on tabby, and nothing was going to distract her. As the animals ran into and across the road, I ran after them. Scruffy needed to know that she was not to go near or into the road under any circumstances! As I ran across the snowy driveway, I yelled.

“You GET back here! RIGHT now!” I caught up with her…edged in front, turned her around…started herding her back. And then it happened. I hit a patch of snow-covered ice, my feet shot out to the left, and I came down onto my right arm. Hard. I heard the snap. Felt it in my head. My arm went numb for a brief instant, and then it was afire.

Steven and Eli stared at me, wide-eyed. Steven began to hurry to my side. I was embarrassed. Humiliated.

“I’m fine!” I snapped as I quickly got to my feet…my ears ringing and my vision blurring. But it only took a few seconds for my husband to figure out I wasn’t ‘fine’. He insisted we drive straight to the Franklin Memorial Hospital.

This is the portion of my story where I wish to point out the differences between men and women. Steven is the kindest and most nurturing husband I could ask for. He’s far better at fussing over me than I am at fussing over… anyone. And yet, as we drove to the Emergency Room instead of Patty’s house, he said:

“It’s no wonder you fell… going out in the snow and ice in your slippers, like that.”

Grrrr! They were Crocs. Not slippers.

The next day, Patty brought dishes containing the supper we’d missed sharing with them--all the way to my home in Lexington. She also brought me a pile of magazines. And a bottle of ‘organic dog conditioner’. Yes, now my puppies have ‘product’. Lord, have mercy…

But when I told my best pal Jack about falling on the ice?

“God, you’re an idiot. Could’ve smashed that thick skull of yours on your driveway... and who can afford to waste money on repairing asphalt these days??”

Friend Kay made a meal for the following night, and delivered it. She also volunteered to pick up my daughter at 5:00 a.m. and take Josie to meet the bus so she could help with the Special Olympics at Sugarloaf.

The response from my wonderful co-writer and friend, Saint?

“I feel horrible -- should never have sent you those killer beasts. The curse is working a little faster than I'd figured -- probably because of NO LEASHES.”

Josie-Earl hung laundry, fed puppies and shoveled snow (without complaint!) Colleen said, “Thinking of you & hoping you’re feeling better today! Sending you lots of love & big hugs.”

But my dear mate Grahame in New South Wales?

“Wanna arm wrestle? Betcha $2.00 I'd win, girlie!”

Yes, there’s a definite difference in how a man nurtures a friend, and how a woman does. Yin and yang…the perfect balance. The women ease a burden and bring physical and emotional sustenance—and the men make sure I don’t take myself too seriously. One sex invokes a warm smile…the other, a reluctant snicker.

Yin and Yang...
Steven and Eli were disappointed to have missed our evening out and I felt bad to have been the cause. But we’re re-invited for this coming Saturday, when Eli will finally discover what—exactly--is a ‘kid-friendly’ vegetable, and Steven can surreptitiously drop the Wees on anything upholstered.