At one of the boys' recent piano recitals, we had to listen to another student play "The Entertainer." And unfortunately we weren't subjected to just the first and second sections, but it went back to the first, then the third, then the interlude, and then the fourth section, with repeats, and it just wouldn't end. And although we've had to sit through more than our fair share of excessively long recital pieces played by complete strangers, I'm pretty sure that sitting through "The Entertainer" can be found within the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.
The first time Zach ever said "Uuuugh, great, The Entertainer. Because, ya know, no one's ever heard that song before" I was kind of annoyed since, after all, that's my line. It seems like every kid (including me) at some point during their piano education is forced to learn this Joplin ragtime classic. All kids except mine, that is, because after I was asked to play this song no fewer than 2,783,824 times as a child, I'm pretty sure I would bolt out the front door and scream while running down the street if I heard that opening sequence of D-E-C A-B-G.
Seriously, every time I hear that song, I have flashbacks of hearing the dreaded "Hey Jody, head on down to the basement and play 'The Entertainer'." I would have gladly played something else, but my parents' friends always wanted to hear "The Entertainer," I suppose because it was familiar.
And while hearing "The Entertainer" happens to trigger the Pavlovian effect of sweaty palms, instant deafness and feelings of dread (I know this for a fact because yesterday while I was at Target, I heard the all too familiar first six notes being played on one of the demo keyboards and my palms started to sweat -- from four aisles away), there are several other songs that also trigger memories from my past:
"King of the Road" ... Roger Miller I was about six years old and had figured out how to use a turntable, but unfortunately didn't own any albums of my own. After finding this fine song buried in my parents' albums I listened to it over and over, and over again until I had the entire thing memorized. Unfortunately for everyone, there was no lip syncing and instead I sang at the top of my lungs while throwing in a finger snap here and there. What's amazing to me is that I distinctly remember singing this song and dancing around, but I've managed to forget about the part where my brothers are laughing at me, and most likely calling me a moron.
"Daddy Sang Bass" ... Oak Ridge Boys I don't think there was ever a time that I didn't hear this song while riding in the back of my dad's car. And every time it was on, one of my parents would say "Wow, would you listen to that bass! He can sing so low! That's really something." and I would think well, yeah, it's a song about a guy singing bass, and I think I've heard this song before. Like, yesterday.
"Another One Bites the Dust" ... Queen Ah, the days of roller skating. The carpeted walls, the bruised knees, the fact that I completely sucked so I never had skates of my own and always wore rentals. Shoot the duck!
"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" ... Tears for Fears Remember when cable TV came to your town and you were finally able to see what MTV was all about? And MTV, at that point, actually aired music videos but they only had, like, 36 minutes of programming that they'd air over and over again? Well, this song/video was in that 36 minutes and every time I hear it I think back to sitting in basement rec rooms.
"Xanadu"... Olivia Newton John One of the funniest karaoke duets I've ever seen, which made it totally worth lying about my birthdate to get into that bar.
"Sharp Dressed Man" ... ZZ Top I was lucky enough to have older brothers that didn't mind driving me around. They would bring me to gymnastics, let me hang out with their friends and even hauled me to a few parties. And they played their music LOUD while I sat in the seatbelt-less backseat, sliding back and forth on the red vinyl with every erratically taken left and right turn, singing "Every girl's crazy 'bout her sharp. Dressed. Man." Loud.
"Life's Been Good" ... Joe Walsh Lazy summer days during high school in Mark's backyard, playing volleyball, swimming in the pool, sitting in the hot tub, riding Waverunners, drinking umm...stuff.
"Careless Whispers" ... Wham! Easily the most awkward junior high dance to ever take place in the history of junior high dances.
"Rock and a Hard Place" ... Rolling Stones A guy asked me to go to this concert when I was a junior in high school and thinking that she'd for sure say no, I asked my mom if I could go. When she said yes, fine, go and have fun, she instantly became one of the coolest moms ever.
"Pour Some Sugar on Me" ... Def Leppard High school sports, specifically softball.
"Pictures of You" ... The Cure When Doug and I were first dating, it was an inevitability that at some point during the evening, we would hear this song.
"Dancing With Myself" ... Billy Idol And then there were the dates with Doug that we would drink a little, eat an entire bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, play a little Nerf basketball, and then dance around like idiots to Billy Idol.
"Kickstart My Heart" ... Motley Crue The concert in which my brother's (now ex-) girlfriend discovered that it's very risky to drink a wine cooler in the front seat of a car, especially when the driver decides to slam on the brakes, causing said wine cooler to spray all over the inside of the windshield and rendering it undrinkable. She also discovered that after heat is applied to the windshield, that shit isn't ever coming off, not even by licking it.
"Janie's Got a Gun" ... Aerosmith When you ask someone at a party if they want some Chex Mix and you are the one holding the ginormous bowl of Chex Mix, make sure that when they say "yes, I do" that they actually take a handful rather than what Steve did which was hit the bottom of the bowl as hard as he could, which caused the Chex Mix to rain down over a one-block area.
"You Shook Me All Night Long" ... AC/DC Two words: dancing baby. And in this case, the baby was Zach.
"Angel" ... Aerosmith Driving home after euthanizing our beagle, Baxter.
"You Are My Sunshine" ... various artists, but my favorite is Norman Blake This is the first song that Charlie learned how to sing. He used to sing it to Zoe when she was a baby.
"Ring of Fire" ... Johnny Cash Never again will I ever be able to hear this song without thinking about science projects. And what sucks the most is that my kid will always associate Johnny Cash with a school year that I'm pretty sure he's still recovering from. Seriously, this song came on while we were at a Twins game and he had to get up and leave our seats.
"Just the Way You Are" ... Bruno Mars So, Doug and I are driving somewhere together and this song comes on. I say wow, these lyrics are so familiar because you say the same things to me all the time. He's like what the hell are you talking about woman? This song sucks. I say no, no, just listen. You'll know what I mean.
- "Her hair, her hair falls perfectly without her trying." Of course he laughs because at the moment, my hair is in a ponytail.
- "When I see your face there's not a thing that I would change" which just induces more laughter, because unless he's blind, he can see that there's a giant zit trying to burst forth on my chin.
- "Her nails, her nails I could kiss them all day if she'd let me." I'm sure he would kiss them, if he wanted to risk cutting his lip on one of my super hot hangnails, jagged edges and overgrown cuticles.
- "Her laugh, her laugh she hates but I think it's so sexy." Ah yes, the laugh. The donkey meets hyperventilating clown meets megaphone meets occasional snorter meets rabid hyena meets girl. Sooo sexy.
At least the song finally came to an end so that he could stop laughing, catch his breath and focus on his driving. But from now on, every time I hear the delusional and cheesy lyrics of that stupid song, I'll have to pull over because it's hard to drive when you laugh like a donkey/clown/ megaphone/snorting/hyena-girl.