Pavlov’s Wayne Newton

When I hear the music, I need to sing!

When I hear the music, I need to sing!

I’m a serial singer of songs.

I’m not talking about great songs necessarily, and I don’t perform them well, either.   I’m no Wayne Newton.  It’s just that my brain is wired for song stimulus and I respond like one of Pavlov’s dogs.

Any little thing can set me off.  All it takes is a random word or expression and the Dick Clark Golden Oldies memory circuits are tripped.

Them: What are you doing tonight?
Me: Tonight, to-night, won’t be just any night…tonight there will be no-o-o-o morning star!  (Warbled in my best imitation of whomever-sang-for-Natalie-Wood-who-couldn’t-sing-and-wasn’t-Hispanic-so-was-perfect-as-the-lead in West Side Story)

Them: Happy birthday!
Me: Go Shawty, hey shawty, ish your birfday…ish your birfday…gonna party like ish your BIRFday! (Getting my 50 Cent on in a painfully white fashion)

Them: The situation in Syria is serious, but do we really want to get into another war?
Me:  WAR!  Huh… Good God y’all…what is it GOOD for?  Absolutely nothin’ – say it, say it, SAY-Y-Y-Y it…WAR! (That band from the 60s-70s.  Done with lots of grunting – love this song)

Them: Tell me more.
Me: Tell me more, tell me more…but ya don’t gotta brag.  Tell me more, tell me more…cuz he sounds like a drag. Oh!  Shimmy bop-bop, shimmy bop-bop, shimmy bop-bop…YEAH! (I always cover the “like does he have a car” part of this Grease classic with Marty’s fake smile/nose wrinkle move)

I don’t even have to know the song I’m singing very well; in fact, I usually don’t.  I find myself bursting into whatever song an expression evokes, armed with nothing more than a snippet of tune and 2 semi-coherent lines that would be unrecognizable to the original artist.

I have become so well identified with this little foible, at least within the family, that I think people would be surprised if I didn’t do it. Especially my mother-in-law, Virginia.  I suspect she deliberately sets me up on occasion.

I mean really…if somebody asks you, “Isn’t it a beautiful morning?” who WOULDN’T burst into the opening song from Oklahoma?  It’s like waving a red cape in front of a bull!  I think I show admirable restraint by not throwing my arms out and twirling around while I’m trilling “Oh what a be-eau-tee-ful MOR…NING!”.

You wouldn’t believe the looks I get when I do this in public.  I don’t get it.  Haven’t people seen all those old musicals?  That’s the way everybody behaved 70 years ago.  Heck, nobody looked at Gene Kelly funny when he tapped his way through every mud puddle down the street.

I got the worst looks from my own children when they were younger.

(Here’s a little tip for all you parents out there.  Out shopping with your pre-teen or teen and they start giving you a load of attitude?  Just commence with “De seaweed is always greener…in somebody else’s lake” at the top of your lungs, while trying to twirl them around in the aisle.   They’ll do anything – ANYTHING – to get you to stop.)

My steal-trap memory for random bits of tune and verse is inversely proportional to my dwindling memory for the actual names of songs or bands.   Even beloved favorites get all jumbled up in my aging brain.

I listen to the radio on my computer at work and if a good song comes on …wait a minute, here’s one now!  Oooh, I love this song!  It’s….it’s….it’s on the tip of my tongue.  That’s that song from that band!  From that dance in high school.  The lead singer is that guy?  And there’s that other guy?  Yeah, they don’t make ‘em like THOSE guys did anymore!  Good times, good times.

Dum de dum, dum… love you BABY, whoa, whoa, whoa… dum de deeeeeee!

Music adds so much to life.

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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73 Responses to Pavlov’s Wayne Newton

  1. mistyslaws says:

    Ha! I’m gonna store that little gem of teenaged warfare in my back pocket for the upcoming moody pimpled years. Thanks, Peg.

    I do this, too. Everything seems to remind me of a song. But mostly I just do it in my head. I don’t really want to subject anyone to my torturous singing voice. It’s really not pretty.

    Like

  2. I have the annoying habit of changing lyrics and it works wonders driving my kid nuts. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. I really enjoyed reading this post – thanks!

    Like

  3. I’m the same way, only mine manifests in the way that if I hear a song, it becomes part of my conversation for hours or days, with new lyrics. Recent songs to the baby have included “Hiccup, LIttle Baby” (“Wake Up, Little Susie”), and “Diapers, Diapers” to the tune of “New York, New York” (“If you can poop in there, well you’ll poop any-where! It’s up to YOU Dia-PER, Dia-PEEERRR”)

    Like

  4. OMG I do this too! And in fairness, I am a singer, but since that’s generally of the classical variety, it’s not often that I find a phrase uttered nearby in Latin or Hungarian or Italian. Fortunately. I think I actually inherited the tendency from my father. We used to issue challenges when we were kids. “Dad, do you know a song with the word ‘truck’ in it?” That was the only one that ever stumped him, and I think it’s because we never listened to country.

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  5. bigsheepcommunications says:

    And this is why I rarely talk to my sister on the phone – she suffers from the same syndrome and let me tell you, it’s ANNOYING!!!

    Like

  6. Sometimes a tune from a commercial sticks in the head the same way. Interesting that you have a car insurance ad in here–the tune that annoys me and yet I can’t get rid of from the inside of my head is “diggi diggi diggi diggi 21st!”

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I know just what you mean with the commercials. You can get a brain worm that burrows deep and you can’t shake it loose for days!
      I can’t believe they have the nerve to run a car insurance ad on MY blog – I’m an insurance agent, and not for that company, for goodness sake!

      Like

  7. Lenore Diane says:

    Life is in the song, Peg. Life is in the song.
    I do the same thing should someone ever utter a word or phrase that reminds me of a song. Shoot, I don’t just limit it to songs, either. If someone says to me, “Not last night, but the night before…” I will interrupt them with, “Not last night, but the night before, a lemon and pickle came a’knocking at my door.”

    Funny how I am unable to keep friends for very long. I’m not sure why they don’t find me entertaining. I find myself very entertaining.

    By the way, fabulous sentence: “I’m a serial singer of songs.” Of course, I heard Alan Jackson sing, “I’m just a singer of simple songs; I’m not a real political man. I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I can tell ya the difference in Iraq and Iran…”

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    • pegoleg says:

      “A lemon and a pickle came a ‘knocking at my door”???? What an interesting life of the mind you do lead, my dear.

      It IS funny how people, even friends, don’t seem to “get” this harmless little evidence of our creative souls, isn’t it?

      Like

  8. Elyse says:

    Sure ‘n’ begora, Peg. It’s the Irish in both of us that makes us do it. It’s from thousands of years of having nothing in our bellies, but a song in our hearts.

    Like

  9. Audrey says:

    You sound like my mama! She passed on her love of singing but I haven’t quite mastered the “bursting into song, in public” like she has. I think that just takes some time though because it’s already starting… She busts out a lot of the stuff from old musicals (Fiddler on the Roof, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, etc.) with a little bit of disco fever thrown in there since she’s a child of the 70’s. Like your kids, it used to drive me crazy with embarrassment (and sometimes it still does) but I do love it about her. 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Wait a minute…are you my long-lost daughter???? That’s MY same repertoire – show tunes and 70s classics. I’m comforted that my baby went to a new mama with excellent taste in music.

      Like

      • Audrey says:

        You might just be my blog-mama! Too funny that you’ve got the same song collection under your belt.
        Oh, I meant to tell you, I downloaded a free copy of Georgette Heyer’s The Black Moth on my e-reader last week and I’m hooked! So good – the witty banter, the descriptions, the characters – I can’t put it down. Thank you, thank you for the recommendation!

        Like

  10. Tar-Buns says:

    I know what you speak of, the breaking into song when the key words or phrases are uttered. I think it’s great fun and I need to do it more often at school.

    Maybe that will help me get rid of these negative feelings I’ve got about my job. I’m really struggling with some of the younger, immature boys and I don’t like feeling that way. Can you say burn-out? Wish I could teach at the college level – that’s what I really want to do!

    So, carry on with your fine singing, sista!

    Love ya, T-Berry

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Oh Tar, I think this is what they call the mid-life crisis. It sounds so great to just chuck your job and move to Fiji and live off coconuts, but I’m too practical to give up health insurance and a car and a house and a….

      At least you’ve got the summer to look forward to, right?

      Hows the kitchen coming along?

      Like

  11. My family had a dear friend named Ellie who was reknowned for doing the exact same thing. It was nearly impossible to say anything which didn’t elicit a song from her. She’s gone now, and we miss her.

    Thanks for inadvertantly stirring up the memories.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Time for you to continue the tradition, Dave!

      Like

      • I don’t know the words to many songs. Being raised on scratchy AM radio, I always misheard the lyrics….that may a blog post subject…but for the moment, I’m busy handling the adulation of my multitudes of fans. Pleasse, no pictures.

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        • pegoleg says:

          Take a wee break before you kill yourself, man!

          Like

        • pegoleg says:

          Wait a minute…what just happened here? Did you think I meant “wee” as in tiny, so your assumption of “wee” as in “wizz” (does that have an “h”?) would be funny, intentional misunderstanding, or did you THINK I meant “wee” as in “wizz” (repeat question about the “h”) and were just responding accordingly?

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          • My comments only show the first sentence or so of my comment to you, so I wasn’t entirely sure what your “wee break” comment was in regards to. I assumed that it was a recommendation on your part that perhaps I slow down and savor my FP status before plunging ahead into another blog post. Despite my assumption, I wasn’t positive, so I chose the potty humor. That’s how I roll (insert Charmin joke here).

            Like

  12. k8edid says:

    OMG – the War one gets me going every time…I had friends Sylvia and Ken years ago, and they would spend whole evenings “speaking” in song. If there was a word, phrase or thought that triggered an outburst of singing, it happened, if there was not an existing song they would make one up…good times

    Like

  13. Omigosh. I. Do. This. Too.

    And my 13 yo son wants to kill me.

    Boy: “Mom, can you pass the raspberry…”

    Me: “She wore a razzzzzzz-berry beret.
    The kind you’d find in a secondhand store.
    And if it was warm, she woudn’t wear much wore
    A razzzzzz-berry beret. I think I loooooove her.”

    Me, clearing throat: “That was Prince. He was big in the ’80s.”

    Boy: “I was going to say syrup, but now I’m too shy.

    Me: Too shy shy. Hush hush. Eye to eye…”

    It’s a problem.

    Like

  14. Barb says:

    Yeah, when my littlest one and I would fly into Oklahoma, I convinced him to the plane wouldn’t land until we sang the state song…which he dutifully joined me in crooning. People applauded. He was proud to have landed the plane. That lasted about 3 years. Now he just tells me if he’s going to serenade the plane anywhere, it’ll be Hawaii.

    Like

  15. Sandy Sue says:

    This is my mom, breaking into song in the middle of the Sunday-fried-chicken-dinner. We all groaned and acted embarrassed, but my sister and I both carry on the tradition. Life *should* be a musical, and we’re all doing our part to make it so.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Isn’t it funny how we all are doomed to repeat our parent’s behavior? Good thing when it’s something good like serial singing instead of alcoholism, eh? Carry on, you and sis.

      Like

  16. Tori Nelson says:

    Haha. I’ve actually started singing random sentences and thoughts. Making dinner? Washing my hands? There’s a song for that. I can’t remember the last time I just talked. The boys hate it, but this also works out well. I get alone time, a whole kitchen to sing about to myself.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I put in an under-counter CD player a couple of years ago so I always have music going when I’m in the kitchen. Which isn’t often. Now that we’re empty nesters I rarely cook. I’ve been spending all my spare time in my workroom lately, getting ready for a big craft show in Chicago in a few weeks. I practically wore out all my old CDs and, of course, I HAVE to sing along to all of them. I need some new material.

      Like

  17. Go Jules Go says:

    This practice is absolutely necessary, and I see nothing unusual about it at all. I also appreciate that you’re working in some Little Mermaid. Keep up the good work, Peggles! (See, that’s making me think, “She works hard for the money…” only it’s “She works hard for the funny…” only I know you’re not working hard for it, it comes naturally, but let’s just go with it.)

    Like

  18. Al says:

    “I loved it…yeah, yeah, yeah,…I loved it…..yeah, yeah, yeah…and you know that can’t be bad!”

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I immediately started singing that song after the 4th word, and it got stuck in my brain for 1/2 hour. Song contagion is another problem I have – I did a post on Songfluenza once…let me see…it’s in here somewhere…

      Like

  19. “Just put on a happy faaace”…Oh, sorry, you just reminded me of “Smile when your…”, oh sorry, wait. Life isn’t a musical?
    Really fun post. thanks

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It should be a musical. Sometimes I have to practically glue my feet to the ground to keep from bursting out into a song and dance routine in public, just to see what people would do. If it WERE a musical, everybody would immediately join in the same beautifully choreographed moves. But I contain myself because that ain’t gonna happen.

      Like

  20. In the past if I couldn’t remember the title of a song and wanted to describe to Annabelle I’d sometimes attempt to ‘sing’ it. Which resulted in some of the most bewildered stares I’ve ever seen. In my entire life (and I’ve seen quite a few, you know).
    🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That’s so frustrating. “You know, that song? It has that part with the dum de dum Oh Yeah! in the middle? Why don’t you KNOW this? What’s the matter with YOU?”

      Like

  21. You and I would get along famously. I sing. All. The. Time. I am singing right now. I’m crafting a catchy lil’ rap tune while I’m typing this comment: “Ooh, Peggles….how I love you Peggles…sho-wop-doo-wahhhhh”
    I drive my family nuts with the singing. And dancing. Good god, I am so so very bad at dancing. But yeah, I love to make up my own lyrics to songs. Also, I can make up some pretty good original tunes as well. (my above Peggles Song just flowed outta me)

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I predict The Peggles Song will be number 1 with a bullet on all the major charts. Can’t wait to see your music video/vlog with your back-up boys, the Solid Darla Dancers!

      Like

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  23. Mary K. says:

    Peg-I’m back. Just starting to read your blogs from before Christmas. I always hum the “Winter Wonderland” Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter! I cannot get that song out of my head. Help!!!!!!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You mean “walking in a winter wonderland. Gone away…is the new bird.” that one? I have a solution. Stop going for walks. In the winter. Down the road in the country where you live where it’s, you know, a wonderland.

      Like

  24. Roly says:

    Changing words for songs is my revenge on my kids for waking up so often all those night ago. It drives them to the eye roll, pffffffftttt, whatever stage 🙂 …..I and my computer have both been receiving care and attention and I am pleased to say I can now read and comment again. Long may it last…….

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Congratulations on being computer-literate once again!

      Our kids delight in thinking they are so avant garde, but they’re really very rigid about anything that doesn’t fit into what has been declared “cool” by their own age group, aren’t they? Carry on with the song-changing!

      Like

  25. Wayne Newton? Really?

    Like

  26. pattisj says:

    My daughter and I have the same gene. Almost every conversation offers the opportunity to say, “That reminds me of a song!” Clears a room in no time flat.

    Like

  27. Love the responses and cute replies. As Roger Miller once sang, squares make the world go round! (No offense, its about individually! )
    It seems we’re all cut of that ilk where we are hardwired for thousands of songs.
    and a bit o’er advice? Its ok to break out in song in public…just be sure you’re getting paid for it!!!
    Love the post (don’t get the spaghetti hair on my man Wayne at top tho)…keep on swinging!
    Keith in Hollywood

    Like

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