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.