One of the many cool things about October is the silliness of it all. For one month a year we are given social license to dress in pajamas or as super heroes or look as silly as we care to. In fact, October is a month in which ridiculousness is encouraged and celebrated.
At what other time if the year would I dare put these on Facebook as my best face forward?
So this month I’m thinking about exceptions, about the wacky and unusual ends of the bell curve. Adding to my Off the Beaten Path playlist this month are these “What Were We Thinking!?” gems.
This song’s intro makes me think of Carol Burnett. And the rest of the video makes me think of cheese. Velveeta cheese.
This one brings to mind Clint Eastwood chowing down on Ragú®.
And this one just makes me think of my kids having fun in the car. We sing along with our best sprechgesang and gutteral vocal fry as we join in the parody of narcissism.
What would be on your “What Were We Thinking!?” playlist?
This is the third batch I’ve added to my Mix Tape Playlist. Remember the days when you’d painstakingly record songs from the radio onto a cassette for an important person in your life? I’m building this one for you. Stay tuned for more off-the-beaten-path music.
There’s a phenomenon I’ve observed in first-borns like myself, people who gain siblings around the age of 1 or 2 or 3.*
We experience a fall from grace.
For a time, we are at the center of the universe, as evidenced by the fact that our parents’ lives revolve around us. They delight in taking care of us. The are always looking for novel ways to make us smile and giggle. We get 100% of the peekaboos, the lullabies, the goofiness, the spotlight. We experience undivided attention.
And then, it divides. We gain a sibling and lose the limelight.
One of my earliest memories is of sitting in the back seat of our Dodge as Dad pulled into the hospital entrance to pick up my mom, who had been gone a few days after getting quite fat. Dad was giddy to bring her home again, along with something called a “baby sister.” Now, Mom swears this didn’t happen, but in my memory she was wheeled to the car with a pink bundle — pink because IT WAS WRAPPED IN MY PINK BLANKIE!
Mom says of course she didn’t use my blankie to bring my sister home in; Sheri had received her own blankie. No matter. In my mind, I was already sharing with this alien. First my blankie, then my room, and in the blink of an eye I was no longer the center of the universe. I was now forever to share the mom and dad who had theretofore been mine-all-mine. My universe was permanently rent.
A few years later, Sheri and I ceased being enough for Mom and Dad, and Tami came along, further dividing my world. But by then I had the cognitive skills to also see the addition of the situation. As you know, my sisters are among my greatest treasures.
* After age 3 or so, children are able to deal with the feelings of the fall from grace more rationally, using their advancing cognitive skills (as my husband did when his younger sister came into the picture when he was 5). But prior to that, it’s a sheer emotional experience, sans reasoning. You just know that you’ve always been 100% and suddenly, you sense you’re only half that.
Periodically I’m adding to my Off the Beaten Path playlist made just for you, reminiscent of the days when you’d painstakingly record songs from the radio onto a cassette for an important person in your life.
The way you are in mine.
Last month we were in the 1960s with the Mamas & the Papas and a little cover ditty from moi. This time I share with you a song from the 1970s, Andrew Gold’s Lonely Boy, that acknowledges one young man’s fall from grace.
What do you think of this Fall from Grace theory?
And just for good measure, I’m adding in another song that my dad used to listen to in the 1970s. Loudly. The chords are simple and the lyrics are rudimentary, and Beautiful Sunday works because it reminds me of a simple, carefree, happy day growing up, hanging out with my parents and sisters.
Remember cassette tapes? Remember when someone you love made one for you, painstakingly gathering meaningful songs from the CDs, the radio, or — gasp — record albums?
I’m going to begin sharing some songs I love, ones you may not be familiar with, ones that make me smile when they turn up on my iPod. Over the coming months I’ll be building a mix tape on YouTube, so you can follow along as it grows and as you wish.
The first entry consists of two songs I dig from the Mamas and the Papas. Why? Because they’re groovy, man. My dad was really into this band when the Mamas and the Papas first broke onto the scene, and I have fond memories of Dad blasting their music from his HiFi, which he designed and was most proud of. Oh, did he love those woofers that were bigger than I was. He still does, though they no longer outspan me.
The first clip is my own rendition (yes, this is me) of Michelle Phillips’ Right Somebody to Love, itself a take on an old Shirley Temple clip. It’s only 45 seconds long. Boo boop be doop.
Which leads into Straight Shooter, characterized by a strong and catchy bass line and gorgeous harmonies by the hard-partying Michelle, Cass, Denny and John. See if you don’t like it as much as I do.