2023 looks more like an address number than a year to me. Yet when I see 1985 as an address, I think of the year. I liked 1985 for the most part, yet I have already developed a distrust of 2023, though we are just a few days into it.
Racehorses have New Year’s birthdays. As I have since childhood, I still imagine them wearing leftover New Year’s Eve party hats in the stable, eating birthday apples. I identify with the Horses because my birthday happens very close to the start of the year. But unlike a three-year-old Mare, I didn’t don a party hat because I am suspicious of 2023’s intent.
This uneasiness I feel toward 2023 was sown long ago, when I first heard Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, in another year whose number looks like that of a year and not an address. When I first heard Paul McCartney sing When I’m Sixty-Four two thoughts simultaneously bloomed in my mind: 1.) “This is the only lame song on the album”; 2.) “Jesus, imagine living that long.”
It’s funny how things will stick with you across the years that look like years, and beyond the point they turn into street numbers (my line begins abruptly in 2002, for no reason I can explain). Yeah, real funny. HEE-larious. I don’t give a rip about anyone’s age and people who do are usually younger and somehow unaware that the same thing is in store for them, unless, well, unless. I was the same, so other than ageism, I don’t hold it against them. But I turned sixty-freaking-four this week and I somewhat resent the song even more because my “Wit challenged” friends (we all know some of those) keep bringing it up. Then I got further resentful when I decided to look up what song was number one in the U.S. the day I was born.
The Christmas Song by Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Other things happened when I was born. Hitchcock’s North By Northwest was released that week, Eisenhower signed Alaska in as the 49th State on my birthday, and poor Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, Richie Valens and a pilot doomed to be known as “A.N. Other” had exactly one month to live. But it is the Chipmunk thing that I think about most. In a sick and twisted sort of way it makes sense. Even without knowing the score, I grew up with an unnatural hate for Alvin, Theodore and whatever the other one’s name is. I adore actual Chipmunks and whenever I meet one I apologize for Alvin, the others and their creepy cartoon wrangler who looked a bit like Jerry Lewis.
And get this–the goddam thing was number one for an entire month. Well, there it is, the ugly truth, crowding in on me. But I suppose it could be worse, the Chipmunks could have covered that sappy McCartney song. Still, it can be a tad depressing when the good news is that things can always be worse.
I dare the brave and foolhardy among you to Google what was top of the charts the week you were born. Of course, sharing such would immediately give others a method to divine your age–but, damn it, I’m tired of there being something wrong with getting older–especially for women. If, say, that bouncy new tune by Mozart was the craze when you were born, be happy and grateful that the goddam Chipmunks didn’t do something to it.
A Brave New Year
In yet another twisted way that somehow fits the crash and thud of the passing eons, the first week of this brave new year features no brave new first time contributors–though those will be along, anon, and plenty. In fact three of our four most often writers came round this week as well as two others who are rapidly making their marks.
For the second consecutive year, Tom Sheehan kicked off the new annum with his record 202nd appearance with The Lone Inheritance; every time Tom appears he sets a new site record. And being that he is at least eighty ahead of second place (although, like kid’s sports, this is not a competition–we all get a trophy–whatta wonderful world), he could just sit there like the Hare and make little sarcasms at the Tortoise’s expense, but Tom is too much a gentleman to do so. (Plus I’m certain that he knows how Hare v. Tortoise worked out.)
Tuesday saw the return of the most excellent and most likely the next writer to hit a hundred LS appearances, Frederick K. Foote. A Hell of a Story, Part 3 is indicative of Fred’s talent because you need not have read the previous two parts to gain something from it. But if you haven’t read the previous, I advise you to check it out. This appeared on my birthday, and was a hell of an upgrade from the goddam Chipmunks.
Wednesday greeted the reader with Climbing by the always elegant Antony Osgood. Tony is steadily accumulating quite a pile of acceptances and writes some of the loveliest prose a person should ever want to read. It has a narcotic quality and soothes the mind; which is a great thing, because he often escorts the reader, as in this case, to dark truths that would come off poorly if written by a less skilled hand.
Paul Kimm took a look back at a lively era that I remember well, some forty years gone, just about when a storm was about to blow in, one that hasn’t died down yet. The Iceberg is an aptly titled piece, and knowing what we know now enhances the poignance of Paul’s third story with us. He is also a faithful commenter, which greatly enhances him further as a human being.
Call Him Tallywhacker by Yours Truly marked another day off my Sylvia Plath 365-Ways to Bake Your Head and Secure Your Literary Legend calendar. Anyone offended by that little remark probably shouldn’t check out Tally.
Misheard it Through the Gravevine
The title of this section is what I thought Marvin Gaye had sung. I was not familiar with the term “grapevine” and since I grew up living across the street from a cemetery, the nonword “Gravevine” sank in and flourished until it was weeded out later. The following list is a combination of misheard lyrics, cases of mistaken identity, and confusion in general. Please share your own and happy freaking New Year–though I say it still looks like an address.
1.)I Love You More Today than Yesterday by Spiral Staircase–I was almost fifty when I learned that Stevie Wonder did not sing this song.
2.) I mistook Rescue Me by Fontella Bass as an Aretha Franklin song.
3.) Feelin Groovy–For many years I thought this was a rare misfire by Simon and Garfunkel instead of the bozos who inflicted it on civilization.
4.) When I was but a fey lass of 19, I attended a Black Sabbath show in Seattle (a new band called “Van Halen” was the support act). When Ozzy Osbourne came on stage he screamed something that sounded like “I am so fucking wasted,” I thought he was kidding, until he later proved himself an honest man by falling off the stage (twice). Although I didn’t mishear that gem, I share it in the “if it quacks like a duck” sense.
5.) I swear I heard “Not Guilty” at the end of the William Kennedy Smith, O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson and Robert Blake trials. Must be faulty hearing.
6.) I also made an ear doctor appointment when I thought I heard Jessica Simpson say the following on TV: “I want to live up to the iconic Daisy Duke shorts.”
7.) I’m the only person on Earth who does not hear Manfred Mann sing “like a douche in the middle of the night.”
8.) I once had a dream in which Yoko Ono and Kurt Cobain sang a duet of The Little Drummer Boy ala Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Too much Johnnie Walker budget label can do that to you.
9.) I saw Madonna perform in Seattle in 1985 (the Beastie Boys opened, and I recall asking my friend Maryhelen, “Who?”). And I swear to God I heard both Madonna and Maryhelen claim something about being virgins.
10.) Your turn