Please do NOT call Children’s Services on me.
Despite what you may think (and what scientific evidence may have proven), exposure to the soundtrack from Saturday Night Fever does not actually constitute child abuse.
At least not in this state.
Disco duck. Before you get all up in my business about disco, you should know that a) children learn what they live; and b) my parents were practically infants themselves when I was born and cannot really be held responsible (or so I’m told) for anything they did.
Accordingly, some of the greatest transgressions in my so-called happy childhood include, but are not limited to, dressing me like a complete dork in poly-blend abominations like prairie dresses and red, white and blue plaid shorts (bicentennial pants!). Pants that undoubtedly still exist in a landfill somewhere, resisting all attempts to biodegrade.
My mother was also prone to giving me shag haircuts that make both home perms and mullets look like a really good idea.
Sing out. However, the most questionable parenting practice was probably allowing me to attend some hippie nursery school that taught me to sing Joy to the World at age 3.
Not the Christmas song version – which would have been darling – but rather the Three Dog Night version where Jeremiah was a bullfrog with a noted fondness for wine.
Isn’t that just the perfect song for a toddler to belt out for grandma?
I was hip. While other kids my age were listening to Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, I was rocking out to the Fifth Dimension and Jim Croce.
I was more than once informed that Bad Bad Leroy Brown was, in fact, “my song” because I was “meaner than a junkyard dog.”
Worse, my mother still laughs to recall the toddler me parroting the lyric: “the sleeping pill I took was just a waaasstteee of time!” loudly and in public after gleaning it from some long-forgotten top 40 hit. I like to imagine I was the only member of the preschool set claiming an intimate knowledge of sleep aids – and love gone wrong.
Later, I would spend far too much time listening to the Bee Gee’s croon How Deep is Your Love and pining over imaginary relationships with overly hairy men in white leisure suits.
I literally fell asleep many nights to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Bee Gees and, of course, the seminal Anne Murray. Her rendition of You and Me Against the World (which should have been called “The Ballad of the Single Parent”) can still give me chills.
Or nightmares. Whatever.
True torture. The problem with pop songs is they are wildly entertaining for the first 30,000 or so times you hear them that first week. After that, you want to smash yourself over the head with something heavy just to dull the throbbing pain of a catchy song gone horribly wrong.
Witness: Help Me Rhonda or anything else by the Beach Boys. While other children dreamed of monsters under the bed and frightful creatures that chased them through the dark, I dreamed of California Girls.
Granted, a childhood set to music isn’t completely abusive. It can be highly educational too.
To this day, I can proudly recite the Preamble to the Constitution, but only to the tune of Schoolhouse Rock.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt has had “conjunction junction” in her head since 1974. She welcomes comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)
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