I don’t usually listen to the radio in the car, preferring instead the content on my iPhone. One of our cars has satellite radio, however, so, on days when I have a lot of errands and I have that car, I will browse Sirius. Yesterday was such a day.
Attention span has never been my strength so the buttons on the radio get a workout. Home base is channel 72, the Broadway show tunes channel. (I’ll pause briefly while those readers who swooned out of their chairs from the shock of that revelation regain their composure.) Even I can tire of Broadway’s greatest hits…occasionally. If I listen long enough they will play something from a show I dislike, one of the handful of Sondheim classics I don’t well enough to sing along, or some Lord Lloyd-Webber ditty I have heard once too often. That’s when I go for the oldies channels.
Yesterday must have been earworm day on the oldies channels. I should have turned the radio off when “The 70’s on 7” filled me car, and my brain, with Debbie Boone’s “You Light Up My Life”. In hindsight it was a clear omen. It was a harbinger of doom as clearly as if the screen had popped up with a warning; “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here!” as soon as I touched the power button. Did I heed this warning? Of course not! Like Charon guiding his ferry across the River Styx, I merged on to the freeway. I threw prudence and caution to the wind and plunged into the unknown, “The 60’s on 6”.
It’s unusual for me to encounter an unfamiliar song on the oldies channels. They generally only play songs that were hits back in their day. I have a pretty good memory for lyrics. I’ve enjoyed popular music all my life, and, you know, I’m old. This being the case, I was surprised to hear something completely unknown.
Bobby Vee’s “Punish Her” is for the passive-aggressive what “As Long As He Needs Me” is for the co-dependent. It is no small achievement for a song to be both cloyingly saccharine and slightly frightening but “Punish Her” has that niche covered. Unable to make it to the end and fearing Ms. Boone had yet to yield the floor in the 70’s, I moved on to “The 80’s on 8”.
I certainly remember The Vapors hit. I’d even go as far as admitting I might have liked it….for a week…30 years ago.
Unfortunately, “I Think I’m Turning Japanese” defines ‘earworm’. I really think so…think so! Once it is in your head it takes a powerful weapon to dislodge it; think “mutually assured destruction” powerful. Back to “The 60’s on 6”.
It says something that, after 50 years, I not only remember the lyrics to this song but knew the name of the band. I’m not sure whether “Judy In Disguise” was John Fred and his Playboys’ only hit. It is the only one I recall. Perhaps I have blocked the rest of their canon from my mind.
By this point I was considering a detour to Ace Hardware to buy an ice pick for my ear drums. Luckily my next destination was coming into view. Who knew the sight of a dry cleaners could bring tears of joy? I would be turning off the car soon.
When I left the cleaners I left the radio off. OK; so what if I was driving down the road talking to myself. The windows were up. I think the other drivers thought I was using my hands-free phone.
I really think so (think so).