I was thinking about writing a blog on my weekend again, but then the clouds parted over my head and I heard this giant raspberry followed by a booming voice: “WHO CARES?”
And right away I thought, great, even God is bored by my life. Well, it was either God or I was having a flashback to a creative writing professor I had in college.
So instead I’ll tell you about the J. Geils Band. I heard them on the radio the other day. Remember them? Angel is a centerfold and all that poppycock? Well, I remember them. Because when I was eight, life blessed me in a way that it never had before. I received a buttload of first communion money. After I spent most of it on angel dust and absinthe, I took a little side-trip to Kmart to purchase the Holy Grail (which you could buy back then) of childhood: a portable black cassette recorder.
For a mere $34 dollars, you could purchase bliss. You could purchase the ability to be cool for the thirty-eight minutes your school bus traveled from your doorstep to your elementary school doors. You could sit in the back seat and entertain every tapioca-scented, chubby-cheeked passenger with taped-from-the-radio gems like Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love a Rainy Night” and The Pretenders’ “Chain Gang” and “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners and yes, “Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band.
You would sit by the radio (and if you were lucky, it actually had detached speakers next to which you could perch), waiting for the DJ to play your favorite song. And then: NIRVANA! There it WAS! The Pointer Sisters' “So Excited!” Laura Branigan’s “Gloria!” Toni Basil! Rick Springfield! But the jerky DJ would keep chit-chatting right through the opening riffs, so you’d get your song, but some assclown DJ’s inane intro as well: “And now, Survivor with ‘Eye of the Tiger!’ Only on WSTD, your source for today’s hottest hits and smoothest licks! Keep listening for your chance to win tickets to the Hall and Oates show at the Blabbity Center. Have you ever seen them live? I have, and let me tell you: those tickets were worth every cent. But not when you can win 'em before you can buy 'em! Only on your station with the megaty-most fun, WSTD. What's that again? WSTD!” And that dude’s voice would stretch long into that kickass drumbeat, right up to the actual singing, and you’d be silently and frantically praying near the speaker: “Just shut up! Just play the song! This is no good, this is just NO GOOD!!!”
And you’d tape it, and then play it on the bus, turning the volume way down during the DJ, then cranking it up. Halfway through the song you’d hear your mom yelling at the dog to get off the sofa, and then a clatter when you dropped your tape recorder to give her the what-not stare: Mo-om, I'm taping Air Supply!!! Sometimes you’d miss the first half of the song altogether, but what the hell: you got the second half! And the kids on the bus loved you for it. Oh, and just think of the possibilities at RECESS! Recess with a soundtrack. Songs to chase the boys to. Could there be anything more divine?
You were on top of the world. You had a portable black cassette player and hits taped right from the Weekly Top Forty. You had the J. Geils Band, on demand, and life had never been sweeter.
Well, at least until you got your first Walkman and Purple Rain in your Easter basket.
(Don’t even get me started on my first Rubik’s Cube, which was a mail-in offer from the Chex Cereal company. Instead of bright colors, you had to line up bananas and strawberries and little Chex cereal pieces. I didn’t care, just as long as the little stickers peeled-off and re-stuck easily.)
Yeah, I was a dorky eight year old. Were you?