Day 5: Songs that bring you back...

nkotb-30The Human brain is an amazing thing…

Using an intricate system of electric impulses being shot out within the brain and receptors to interpret them (isn’t it great reading how some burned out hippie has managed to breakdown the impossible wonder that is the Human Memory System into roughly the process that lets you know you lost in Operation???  What did we ever do without the internet???), the human mind is able to bring forth an almost perfect (the flaw is it is presenting in the mind’s own perspective, removing the ability to look upon it subjectively) recreation of the “memory”.

Just like that…a smell, an image, or a sound (like say a song…) can whisk the mind away to a time and place thought long since forgotten by you…

Which is what makes this day’s challenge so compelling…The personal nature behind it.

Music, more than any of the other great arts, can whisk the mind away to those far off places lost deep in the ether of time more efficiently than any other.

It’s kind of neat, really…

Lots of songs have had this sort of effect on me… Uruguayan tangos take me back to my grandmother’s kitchen (as does the smells of Aquanet and Swisher Sweet cigarillos)… Dr. Hook, a car trip my family took to New York City.

But no song has had the ability to bring me back to the moment and summon up the feelings of inadequacy and humiliation I was feeling then quite like “Step by Step”…

Step One… We can have lots of fun…

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It was the night of my 8th grade dance ( a dance you will hear more about during the course of this challenge). While the rest of my friends and classmates were dancing and having a good time with their dates, I was standing outside of the ladies room…

Now I wasn’t standing out there waiting for date… we’ll, not in the way that a normal person would be…

No, I was standing there because my date had sort of barricaded herself in the ladies room because she did not want to go to the dance with me (she claimed she had new-kids-on-the-blockbeen nervous about being at her first boy/girl dance but what it ended up being about was that she did not want to be there with me. While this would cause me to not attend another dance throughout my high school career, I did happen to find out later that things worked out just fine for the girl.  See, she was a lesbian and had a bit of a crush on her friend Mary [whom she had barricaded herself in said ladies room with].  From what I learned, these two confused lovebirds were able to sort out those feelings [and the judging looks of people still too new on the idea of same sex couples not being gross because this was during the mid “not so gay friendly” 90s] and were the first same sex couple at their senior prom.)  It took all of her friends and even her mother to talk her to the point that she was willing to even speak with me at all… through a bathroom stall… telling me something countless other women would tell me throughout my dating life…

“It’s not you… It’s me…”

But that’s not where the song comes in…

The song comes in when this girl’s mother and father (neither of whom knew me from a hole in the ground) pulled me aside and- for what seemed like an eternity- told me how I shouldn’t blame myself for not being liked and how she hadn’t wanted to go alone to the dance because all her other friends had dates but that upon seeing me as I arrived, became instantly ill with the desire to not want to be there with me and that they hoped I would understand and not spread any of this ugliness around to the rest of the student body (because her friends had done the nice thing to make sure that everyone knew that she was sick).

And as this humiliating speech was being delivered to me… with my friends looking on… this song was playing…

NKOTB… “Step By Step”…

 

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