Welcome to Reality Radio. No mush. No pickup trucks.

May 7, 2009

My brain, unfettered by any need to concentrate, tends to wander around like a dog let off its leash, stopping to sniff at anything that even remotely provides a momentary distraction.

Just such an opportunity for idle meanderings arose again yesterday when I took another shift in the laundry room of the seniors’ resthome where I’m employed on a casual basis. Left to my own devices in the large space that sits adjacent to the facility’s former morgue (that creepy banging noise is coming from the dryer, right? Right?), and with no need to actually focus on the job at hand, this thought came unbidden out of the ether to perch on my shoulder and peck at my brain:

The most important person in a work environment is not the boss, it’s not the person whose office affords the best view, it’s not even the person who earns the most bonuses. Rather, it is the person who controls the radio.

When I worked in the advertising department for the Famous Players theatre chain, one of the perks was free passes to movies. On the downside, I was the low man on the office totem pole, meaning my boss got to choose which station the two of us listened to all day while we cut and pasted (literally — by frickin’ hand — I still have the scars from the knife to prove it) the newspaper ads.

This lady liked both kinds of music, country and western. I don’t know which was worse, cutting off my fingertips each day or listening to another singer lament about his lady love taking off with his:

a) pickup truck

b) dog

c) beer

d) best friend

e) all of the above.

This was all in the dark ages before God invented the iPod and so I had no choice but to grit my teeth and concentrate on fighting the urge to hurl myself through the second-floor office window.

The radio was on in the laundry room yesterday and, since I was simply the dogsbody called in to help a shorthanded staff, I did not feel it was my place to start changing channels.

So, once again, I was forced to listen to music that I did not choose. The good news is this channel was playing oldies — not a single twang or Stetson in sight — but the bad news is, with my brain in neutral, I somehow found myself actually listening to the lyrics.

Yes, these were the songs I grew up with. They brought back memories of childhood and school days and riding bikes until dark and having no fear of growing old and weighted down by broken promises and wasted potential.

I could have sung them by memory had I wanted to frighten the cats and yet the real scary part was how ludicrous they sound now. How limited their scope. How they were all about:

a) finding love

b) keeping love

c) losing love

d) rekindling love

e) living happily ever after

f) replaying all the above ad nauseum

I can no longer relate to any of that. All that mushy stuff is a young man’s game. You live long enough, you lose enough pieces of your heart to failed relationships and you start to be more realistic about how this whole romance thing works.

Face it, the absolute truth is this: Every single relationship will end with:

a) marriage

b) breakup

c) murder/suicide

Either way, it’s going to get messy and there will be tears.

So where are the songs I can relate to now, at this stage of my life? The ones with titles like:

a) That Better Not Be the Neighbour’s Cat in My Chair Again

b) I’m Letting the Lawn Grow Out (The Same Goes for My Beard)

c) I Just Showered Last Week (The Dirty Old Man Song)

d) It’s Been Five Minutes, Can We Stop Cuddling Now?

e) You Call It Porn, I Call It Research

I’m going to christen it Reality Radio and I’m going to play it all day. Really loud.

You can do things like that when you have control.

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One Response to “Welcome to Reality Radio. No mush. No pickup trucks.”

  1. manjamanis said

    dude.. i feel your pain and i like your Modern Country Songs

    on a deployment to Iraq a few years ago we listened to the ONE radio station available pretty much all day.

    every day between 12 and 4 was a show called Country Convoy – as if it wasn’t depressing enough being in 100-million-plus degree weather with no booze or real form of life, we had to listen to stupid country music all the gd time.

    i’ve never been more suicidal in my life then for those 4 hours a day.

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