Hmm. It seems that my last few posts have been a little...angry. It also seems that now that I've asked for comments and emails, you've all gone quiet. Sheesh. Did I scare you all away or something? Am I blogsaken?
Well, tonight, I will try to be more...poignant. I present:
The Wheels on the Bus
I don't know about you, but there are times, especially when I am uncomfortable, that I just say or think the wrong thing. I know it happens to my wife too and a few others I know. It's strange. What do I mean? Well, here's an example:
A few months back, My wife and I were visiting my parents, and I was outside cleaning up around the house (it was Spring, and the broken branches and such needed to be cleared away). I stepped on what I thought was a solid grate, but it gave away. I fell, but managed to catch myself on the edge. So there I am dangling 15 feet in the air over a dark hole, and all I can do is laugh. My wife, who had been watching me, did the same thing. She didn't move. She laughed. My mother, also outside, was horrified. Why the hell were we laughing? I was for certain going to fall and break something. How is that funny? However, she couldn't move. Now, I got lucky. There was a small chunk of concrete sticking out, and I could push off of it. Thus, I didn't fall. But there are other times when I have felt (or been told) my actions were inappropriate.
When I was in college, my father suffered a heart attack and had to have a triple bypass. That's serious surgery. My entire family returned to New York over Spring Break to be with him. After his surgery, he lay in a hospital bed to recuperate. Now, they told us this part was the "wait and see" part (meaning this is the part where we wait and see if he survives). All I could think about was the song, "The Worms Crawl In." Everyone knows that song.
The worms crawl in
the worms crawl out
they eat your nose
they eat your hat
they crawl in skinny
and crawl out fat.
That just kept running in my head, and suddenly, unbeknownst to me, I was humming it aloud. My mother caught (mothers do that, you know) and quickly kicked my shin. Everytime I think back on my father's heart attack, that's the first thing that shoots into my head. Is it a defense mechanism? People talk about "laughing in the face of danger!" Is that what I did when I almost fell?
As I said, it's not just me. I used to date a girl who was raped. When we finally became intimate enough (or close enough) to talk about it, she told me the details. The thing that stuck in my mind more than anything else (and again, I don't know why) was that while she was being violated, the song "The Wheels on the Bus..." kept going through her head. She didn't know why. Yet, her experience jived with mine, in a sense. It was a simple kids song, as it were, that popped in her head. Guess what I think about whenever I hear that song now.
A buddy of mine told me that whenever he goes to the dentist and is being worked on, he thinks about the song "Whip It (Devo)". He has no clue why, but the second he hears the polisher, the opening notes pop into his head, and the song plays over and over until he's finished.
Another friend of mine is afraid of heights. He has to hum or sing "Habanera" from Carmen whenever he's on a ladder or even just afraid. Now, I love Carmen but hearing that song over and over again when you're working on lights can be...grating. Still, it kept his head in the game, which I what I needed when I worked with him.
As for me, I no longer have just one song. When I feel the silence pushing in on me (usually when I can start hearing the ringing in my own ears) multiple songs push into my head. Maybe it's a song by Moby, or maybe Mahler, or maybe I start hearing songs from the production of Cabaret I worked on. Honestly, it varys. There are, however, a few things that do not ever pop into my head. Hymns, for one, because I don't really know any.
Maybe I'm crazy. I don't know. Still, the heart and mind will do anything to protect each other. Perhaps the brain brings up these songs because we love them. A woman (or man) being violated brings up a memory of a happier time, and, as to paraphrase Shakespeare, music is emotion shared with a crowd. It is the physical manifestation of our feelings. I agree.
Then again, what do I know? I'm the guy at the doctor singing "Moon River" during my prostate exam. I could be wrong.