Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Oh Won't You Take Me To...

Or, My Geekiness is Genetic

My father has an amazing memory. He knows tons of poems, song lyrics, etc. When I was a kid, he used to bust out with a Keats verse he'd memorized in college, or sing Fats Waller songs to me. (Your Feet's Too Big is still a favorite.) This ability to memorize served my dad well in med school and makes him a useful resource for all kinds of arcane information. But any super-power has a dark side, right? He's also memorized tons of old advertising jingles, and they come spilling out of him at the least provocation. My childhood was filled with these ditties - for Jello pudding, Ipana toothpaste, Hoffman soda, and - BrylCreem!

Sadly, I don't share my father's fantastic memory. Despite this I have somehow committed to memory the jingles used by numerous companies - mostly slogans from THE NINETEEN-FIFTIES. Very useful information that no doubt has pushed from my brain the ability to recall names, the memory of whether a recipe called for a teaspoon or a tablespoon of baking powder, and the ability to remember mail that bill that's been sitting in my bag for a week.

This week I've had the following bouncing around my head:

A little dab'll do ya.
Use more only if you dare!
But watch out,
The gals will all come to ya,
They love to run their fingers through your hair!

As a side note, eww. BrylCreem is a thick pomade that gives the wearer a "wet look" (think Rudolph Valentino, or George Clooney's character in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?). Not something I'd want to snuggle up to, thanks.

Since Ada's been teething, we've been seeing a lot of drool. This has inspired me to sing the following:

Drool Girl,
A little drop'll do ya.
How nice that it's spit you want to share!
And watch out,
The babies will all drool on ya,
They love to rub their spit up in your hair!

This thing I do with Ada, this is not new, nor is it just me. My family (especially my mom, but my dad and sister too), we can not help ourselves. We compulsively change the lyrics to songs and jingles so that they fit the situation at hand. It is sick and odd, but it has helped me get through some dark days. Most recently it helped me manage Ada's colic days. (Though "days" makes it sound manageable, like a long weekend in a bad motel. "Months" is more accurate for the summer of scream we recently survived.)

During this special period, Chris and I were in a constant search for anything that would calm our crabby peanut. For a while, Ada loved white noise in various forms, including the exhaust fan in the kitchen, radios tuned to static, and metal drone/feedback bands like Earth. Although I wasn't sad to see that period go, when the old standbys started to fail us, we flailed around for something to replace them. That is when we learned that Ada loves Motown. We have a CD called Motown Remixed that worked wonders. Jiggling her to the Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder cuts was especially effective at bringing her out of a screaming fit.

It was also during this same period that we learned that Ada loves herself some P-Funk. We figured this out when I started sing (to the tune of Parliament's Give Up The Funk "we want to burp, gotta have those burps". This worked well, so we slapped on a Parliament CD, and within three songs, Ada had fallen asleep in Chris's arms.

For several weeks, I sang along with every Parliament song we own, replacing "funk" with "poop" or "fart". It worked wonders during Ada's intense 4-6pm cranky time. Our collection of Atlantic Records R&B worked well too, as long as we fast-forwarded through the slow songs. As amusing as I found it to turn that Otis Redding song into "I've been holding you too long", the tempo didn't do it for miss cranky-pants.

Lately I've been singing that Brothers Johnson classic "get the poop, out your pants...get the poop out your pants" (to the tune of "Get the Funk, Out My Face") Works wonders for distracting myself and the girl during diaper changes. I'm also not above crooning "Oh Won't You Take Me To, Poopy Town". In the bath we routinely make up lyrics to "Rubber Ducky", based on the body part we are cleaning (Rubber Ducky, I wash my hair, even though, there's not much there). Ada seems to enjoy the singing, despite my horrible voice. But to be honest, even when she specifically demands that I stop singing, I don't know if I will be able to do it. Lucky for me, that day is years away. Think of all the songs I can butcher in the meantime!


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