March 1, 79  Sense and Nonsense

Physiatrists are acquainted with, and have labeled, many kinds of neuroses. I wonder if I have recently become afflicted with one that has not yet been added to their lists? I call it phonophobia – the morbid fear of music!

For 15 years I have endured my childrens’ mania for David Sevilles’ long-playing record of “The Chipmunks”. As each child progresses to more sophisticated musical tastes, I swear never to place the offensive recording on a turntable again! However the rodent harmonies of Alvin, Theodore, and Simon seem destined to haunt me for all the days of my life. Yesterday our four-year-old expressed a desire to hear her “favourite” record.

“Don’t you want me to play the Cookie Monster?” I pleaded. “See, there’s a picture of him on the cover – taking a bite out of that big letter C!”

“You played that one yesterday,” she replied. “Today I want to hear The Chipmunks”. She added the all-important word “please” – which no mother can resist – to absolutely clinch her side of the argument.

My teenage son is a rock and roll addict. He explained to me the myriad differences between soft, medium and hard rock music. One day I overheard a surprisingly melodic female voice exploding from his stereo speakers when he accidently unplugged his headphones.

“Who was that?” I asked. She was actually singing my kind of music. “That was Linda Ronstadt,” he answered before re-plugging himself into oblivion. “Lately she’s into country rock.” Country rock eh? Had they finally put the rocks where they belonged – back in the country.?

We attended a dance recently and I learned the meaning of the term “Disco Music”. The fellow who was playing the records preferred a much louder and wilder beat than I liked. Someone requested a waltz and he obligingly played one. The quieter harmony of strings in three quarter time was a relief after a steady diet of “Blood, Beard and Bones” and “The Squeegies”! The man liked his music loud and the beat fast. He donned a mask and hairpiece and periodically howled in an eerie fashion into a mike. He discoed before during and after each change of record. As a one man entertainment committee he enjoyed the obvious appreciation of at least 80% of the crowd! The beat went on, loudly and wildly.

I decided to request some music for our minority group. “Can you play some old-time dance tunes?” I yelled. The smile on the face of the man behind the music collapsed. He peered at me suspiciously. I had an inspiration. “How about Country Rock? Do you have any John Denver or Linda Ronstadt?” He eyed me pityingly. The beat went on loudly and wildly. “Don’t you have any kind of music for old people?” By this time I was beginning to feel like a senior citizen, although the man I was facing was probably in the same stages of declining youth as I was.

The smile was back on his face. “Do you like Dolly Parton?” he purred. “Yes” I answered happily. I had a tape of Dolly at home warbling her heart out along with Porter Wagoner. Too late I remembered that Dollys’ well-endowed figure was now decorating disco record albums. I heard a barely recognizable female voice above the staccato beat of the drums.

Dolly, how could you do this to me!!

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