Music to Die for

And on a slow day, it can last forever.

I’m not kidding. Having to listen to endless repetitions of Petula Clark’s “Downtown” or just about anything by Debbie Boone or Barry White can drive anyone stark raving mad. (and I’m sure this fact hasn’t been lost on the people who run Gitmo) But when actually good music starts showing up in the loop, and loops and loops and loops, it can turn ugly. Just imagine normally sane people scooping up their entire cd/vinyl collections of Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen and frantically running them to the dumpster before the garbage truck gets there. Smashed-in fm radios with cords flying and Sirius sets forceably ripped from dashboards.

Not that any garbage truck is capable of removing that much shit.

What I’m talking about, obviously, since we don’t have concentration camps here in America yet, is what “Keith Olbermann”: calls “ear worms”. I used to call them something different, but his term has kind of taken over and I forget my term. Isn’t it nice to know that it’s possible to forget anything these days?

I think we all have to suffer through infestations of the little bugs, but we just give it the stiff upper lip and try to go on with our busy days. I’ll have to admit it was disconcerting when instead of the usual, “What’s that Smell?” by Lynard Skynard, I started hearing full orchestra rendiditons of Layla in the shower. This is getting close to home. It was scary enough at first, but then it switched into “Obladi, oblada, life goes on…”

So in desperation I spent the next two weeks playing classical and jazz cds. If you keep them varied, it’s hard for them to convert to ear worms and you think maybe you’re finally free. But it wasn’t long before certain passages of Mozart started running in my head before the alarm went off.

But let’s not focus on the negative. What I’m trying to get to is, a new tune started playing in my head when I woke up this morning. And it wasn’t a good song for a change. I don’t even think it was a song at all. Anyway, I woke up and hopped into the shower and realized that Hokey Pokey was starting to loop. “Put your left foot in, pull your right foot out…”

And I thought it might be significant, and probably had underlying forces struggling to work their way into consciousness, kind of like the messages you might get from dreams. Some of them are deep from the unconscious and can provide clues in uncertain times.

So I sat here and waited. “You do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around….that’s what it’s all about!” I waited. “Put your left foot in”. Hmmm…. terrorists, treason, wimpy democrats….”Put your right foot in….” Bush, spying on Americans, lying us to war….televangelists, teletubbies…

I waited, but after an hour or so I wasn’t getting anything so I turned on KJAZ from San Francisco and tried not to recognize any bits or pieces of music and typed away…..

Elaine sticks her head in.
“Are you doing anything productive? Or typing on that blog again?”
“Do you still have those disgusting porn links on that thing?”
“No, this is Textpattern and textpattern doesn’t….uh, you know, spambots…I’m….you have to preview…”
“Because it’s really sick. And you know you can be arrested for that crap.”
“Yeah, I know….”

A day in the Tombs

I wasn’t on the floor more than 10 minutes when someone asked “did I want to play cards?” Well, sure. (really the only appropriate answer). They dealt me a hand while I tried to figure out whether it was stud or draw or whatever. It turned out to be “whatever”, and I spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out which whatever game I was playing. I wasn’t getting very far when I realized that I couldn’t even make semi-educated bluffs. I was in a completely different league.

“Hmmm, y’know, I’m sorry. I’m over my head here. What is this game?”

“Ouist.” (a form of bridge)

“I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, man”.

The rest of the day was fairly slow, but later, in the evening, there was a trial.

There were opening arguments and the prosecuting and defense attorneys introduced themselves. There were motions to suppress and motions in limine, abstractions, abuse of process, overt acts and acts that I really didn’t comprehend. What it boiled down to though, was that a guy from our floor was caught holding hands through the bars with one of the transvestites in the adjoining cell block. The court was convened to decide his guilt or innocence, and, should there be a conviction, the appropriate punishment for holding hands in a public area of the cellblock with a transvestite.

I recalled my roomate’s warning. “If you plan on taking a shower, make sure nobody else is up there.” And then something about “holes in the wall”. Holes in the wall were considered okay, as long as there were no witnesses. (Apparently, though, holding hands wasn’t.)

Though his defense was brilliant, in the end, the guy from our floor was found guilty and sentenced to death. The trial had taken several hours, the verdict about 5 minutes and the sentencing was immediate. I’m thinking, “Shit!” Would they hang the guy? knife him? Throw him off the tier? These thoughts were going through my mind when the judge added, “sentence to be suspended, subject to immediate execution should there be a future infraction.”

At that point, the cellblock was starting to resemble a giant game of Ouist, and I realized I should probably be taking copius notes.