Sunday, November 19, 2006

What's Up?

Thirteen or so years ago, when I was [ahem] in-between husbands, one of my best friends, The Other Lori, and I set off for a vacation with my then-7-year-old son. (I'm sure that the mental damage for a little kid spending a solid week with two crazy women, friends since the age of 10, is still to be uncovered.

On our 6-hour drive to Grand Haven, Michigan, Lori and I decided to teach a few songs from our era to little Brian. History. Culture. Music. Art. We had his best interest in mind, when we began with "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown."

Unfortunately, Lori and simply could NOT sync the words "Bad, bad" no matter how many times we started all over. Our song went
Leroy looked like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone...

He was bad[bad] bad[bad] bad[bad]....OK START ALL OVER! He was bad[bad] bad[bad]... AH FORGET IT!
The song has never been the same for me. I purposefully sing the "bad's" in the wrong places now, because it is forever in my mind, askance. And I like it better that way.


Out on the town Friday night, I ended up eating breakfast with friends at Merry Ann's Diner, around 11 p.m. We were 5, and there were only 2 other diners in the place.

On the way out, while each paid his tab, I toyed with the jukebox, and Marcy joined me. A few quarters borrowed, and apparently we were staying for one song: 4 Non Blondes' What's Up.

The jukebox, silent since we arrived, began to play, and Marcy sang along:

25 year of my life and still
And I'm trying to get up that great big hill of hope

and Charles joined in:

For a destination...

I, not knowing all of the words to any one song, was immediately charmed. Peter and Mike hummed and sang along, and I piped up during the chorus:

And I say hey...
And I say hey what's goin on
And I say hey...
I say hey what's goin' on
And I try, oh my God do I try
I try all the time
In this institution

I watched as the waiter, waitress, and cook, with little to do, approached the front, crossed their arms, and leaned back on the counter, smiling and listening.

And another employee, working in the back, crept out, giggling, and approached a dial on the wall, cranking up the volume a bit for the next chorus.

My friends' voices were being raised, the staff was smiling, and to boot, I turned to find the other two diners with their arms over their heads, doing that "raise the roof" move.

It was surreal. Everyone in the place was tapping their feet! I half-expected little Halie Kate Eisenberg to start tap dancing across the counter to the latest Pepsi jingle.

And then the song ended.

And we left.

And for the rest of my life, I will hear that song as "Friday in Merry Ann's."

I'm curious.

What are YOUR songs and YOUR scenarios? Please share. Really, I love all you guys'es stories!

And here's a song in your head:


  1. I love Bad Bad Leroy Brown. My dad and I used to sing it together way back when.

    I remember a vacation where we happened upon a church band playing music at a little get-together just off the beach. They started into that song and my dad and I looked at each other with the same question in mind: How were they going to pull off the part with the profanity?

    Easy. It turns out he was Bad Bad Leroy Brown/Baddest man in the whole DOWN-town.

  2. Anonymous7:28 AM

    I like that video.
    I would have sang along too.

  3. That was a good time. We should do it again. Hell, I'll even pay for my own next time.

  4. Jim Croce songs are great memories in and of themselves.

    Maybe the first road-trip my best friend and I took, with James Gang playing 'Walk Away'

  5. I actually have a really great story to go with that song, too, and it's one of the few that, like you, will always have a very distinct time and place in my head.

    When it was popular, I was in middle school (sorry... can't help that I'm young-ish)... and as awkward and weird as any middle school child feels. My friends were all fairly "cool," though, but at middle school dances I couldn't bring myself to dance (at least to the fast songs, and no boys ever asked me to dance to the slow ones, so pretty much, I just didn't dance).

    The *one* time I danced in middle school- it was to this song, when one of my girl friends pulled me into a big circle despite my protests, and we all stood there singing that song at the top of our lungs in the UMS gym :) It was probably the only good, perfectly happy moment I have from all of junior high. Unfortunately, there's no way to describe the way it felt to be part of the group and perfectly happy very well, except to say that I can still see the silver-star cutouts on the bleachers with perfect clarity in my mind's eye.

    Fortunately, I got over my fear of fast-dancing (that song has a story, too- it was Chumbawamba's Tub-thumpin' my sophomore year of high school at a conference for highschool journalists, where I finally discovered that everyone else was too busy being self-conscious to notice how much of an idiot I was making out of myself). Now, I'm happy to go dance at Highdive or C-Street any night of the week (even if I do have moments of "Oh noes, I look like an awkward idito)... so if you're going sometime, let me know!

  6. Ha! I didn't listen! YOu CAN'T stick a song in my head! Nyah!:-P
    Funny story though, as always. I had a weird moment today which I blogged about. Guilty laughter.

  7. My friend and I were traveling through the small town of Boone, NC on our way home from a job. We came to a T-intersection, the kind that you have to turn left or right. Across the street in front of us was a long wall made of brick and that is how I got the song Brick House stuck in my head for days. My friend will start singing the song at random now trying to give me a hard time.

  8. I love that song - thanks for the smile after a long day of coughing and sniffling.

    I know I have song stories - but too stuffy to think. I'll come back!

  9. Chez Bez: Hilarious, I love it! Thanks for the memory.

    LMLyn: Wouldn't that have been great, if you were there?

    ChazEverDapper: Nice voice, baby. And you DID pay for your own, don't you 'member?

    Barry: How old were you, on your first road trip?

    Jade: Great stories, it took me back to my own Junior high days (Brookens Jr. High, now a city building in urbana) parked against the bleachers until the last slow dance of the night when a boy asked me to dance. He was my first kiss, several months later.

    Andy: Game On. I WILL put a song in your head. Ground Control...

    Awe: Ok, Brick house stuck with me for the rest of the afternoon after I read this. Not making that up, I carried groceries in the house today, singing Brick...OWWWSE (I like to sing it with a silent H)

    Wendy: Poor little lamb. Eat some vicks, then come back.

  10. Hey there...

    I AM still around...just not writing and reading here as much as I'd like. HOPEFULLY this situation is starting to improve!

    LOVED this post!

    And I guess the only "song" story I can think of at the moment has to do with a song John and I made up and continually update...but I don't think I'll share anything but the title at this stage. It's called, memorably..."Hey Eskimo!"



    PS Can't watch the video here at work, but I'll take a look from home later!

  11. I absolutely love that song...I wish I were there!!

    For me it would have to be:

    "Killing me Softly"...the cover done by the Fugees


    "Scenario" by Tribe called Quest...

    I know all the words and when Scenario plays anywhere I hang out..EVERYONE joins in and jumps and holla's!

  12. Janet: Ohhhhhhhh, I think it's high time you made a little video, and put "hey eskimo" on you tube. My imagination runs amok!

    Mary: Don't you love it? ditto on the you tube!

  13. As long as you don't make me break out my first kiss story, we're all good.

  14. While in college I worked for The Buckle, clothing stores. We were in Great Bend, Kansas (NO WHERE TO PARTY) so we would drive to visit friends at K-State & KU to "party".
    The place: Kites Bar (home to all the Frat & Sorority's) I discovered tequila "Salt, Liquor, Lime" to the tune of "I Want You To Want Me" by Cheap Trick. I also learned about hangovers :) So much fun, so little studying!

  15. Hi G

    Is that Grand Haven, Michigan near South Haven, Michigan? I've partied there before, on the Idler...

  16. Jade: Hmmm...sounds like a good blog challenge/meme to me. You go first. Don't be shy.

    Jodie: Thanks for telling; that's in my head now too.

    Dagoth: Grand Haven, MI, it is. Been there for several trips/long weekends; stayed at Bij Dee Zee, later renamed to Clearwater Inn...or is it Bluewater? Across the street from the state beach house. I love all of those Michigan havens.

  17. Anonymous11:34 PM

    Do you have a man now?

  18. Anon: Men? No husband now. Lots of men though: son, nephew, brother-in-law, bosses, and an assortment of protective male friends. :-)

  19. Anonymous5:59 PM

    and you were worried....and now i get to say I told you so ;)

  20. Oh, I had sooo much fun! And I'm soooo glad the staff there enjoyed it and didn't kick me out. I'll never forget when they turned the volume up - then I knew we were in the clear!

    What a great memory!


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