Supermarket's Top 50 Countdown

It's finally happened...

I'm officially old enough to be actually digging the Muzak I'm hearing in the stores.

Like the Goodwill playing, "Angel is the Centerfold"...

Radio Shack piping in The Cars' "You Might Think"...

And at the Giant Eagle grocery store... Gosh, every time I run there to pick up my lunch, it's like an 80s hit parade. I step through the door and I'm treated to the Cure's "Lovesong..." I grab a couple of necessities and they're playing, "Land Down Under."

I love it.

And just the other day, I was at the salad bar (and yes, for those who care, it is STILL reversed and WRONG), and I found myself singing along with "Karma Chameleon."

It instantly reminded me of hanging out with one of my friends ("Joe" of the scary red clown bathroom, in fact) and getting to see Boy George for the first time.

You see, I was one of the only kids in my school who didn't have cable TV.

This basically made me Amish.

But unlike the Amish, I KNEW there was this whole MTV thing going on. Only my exposure to it included:

  • Vague references from other people-- during which I would fake understanding so as not to do anything that would get me beat up on the school playground. (Because, trust me, they would still beat up the Amish.) I would piece this information together later....
  • Coveted reruns of Friday Night Videos and...
  • Occasional visits with friends WITH cable

This worked out okay, with the exception of the "Frankie Say Relax" t-shirts the girls wore, which had me baffled for YEARS. ("Who is this Frankie and why does he or she endorse typos on clothing?")

So through watching MTV at Joe's house, that's when I first saw Boy George.

It was also the moment I cleverly observed, "Wow, that girl sure has a low singing voice!"

Joe and his sister-- who understood my level of Amishness and somehow liked me anyway-- patiently explained to me that Boy George was, in fact, a man. After which, I agreed the name "Boy George" probably should have been my tip-off.

Anyway, I spent 18 years in an academic-oriented, non-cable-television-having, pop culture isolation... And then the next 18 trying to make up for it. Which brings me back to the grocery store.

I've decided, I'm going to just really savor being a member of the generation sellers are currently sucking up to, soundtrack-wise. I'm gonna happily make my salads to "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." I'm going to bag my groceries with enthusiasm to "The Safety Dance."

Because in 20 years, you KNOW it'll be "Panic at the Disco" and "Fall Out Boy." And I just can't sing along with those girls-- their stuff is WAY too low for my range. :)

----------------------------------

The Muzak over at Humor-blogs is totally tubular.

17 comments:

techfun said...

Yea! It's been great for the last couple years. Whats great about so much of the 80's stuff is that they can often use the real song and not an instrumental muzak version.

There is not quite as disturbing to me as the time I was trapped on line in a store while a down tempo rendition of Duran Duran's "Wild Boys" poked holes in my psyche.

I also was late on the MTV thing. I grew up in a town that didn't even HAVE cable. We used tape the better radio stations and make our own albums using dual tape decks.

My cousins, up in Kentucky, had MTV and a VCR so when we went up to visit we would record videos to take home to the Everglades in South Florida.

Somewhere in my parents attic is a box of old VHS tapes full of The Cars, Loverboy, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Thompson Twins, and other 80's goodness.

Alice said...

Ahhh...my sister in early childhood pop culture isolation. Now I need to got and download "Safety Dance" from iTunes. ; )

Jenn Thorson said...

Techfun- it's true, it's all the original songs.

And I did the dual cassette taping off the radio thing myself. I saved up FOREVER to get a dual cassette player for myself at Odd Lot, and spent much of my high school years making tapes of the things I'd missed.

One of my friends made me a VHS tape of some videos, just so I could get to see them. I STILL totally missed "Thriller." I had no idea what it was about, just the buzz of the other kids saying how cool and scary it was.

The boy I went to the school dance with LOVED Duran Duran, and I had no idea who they were. I think I was a bit of a disappointing date!! :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Alice- "S-- A--- F-- E--- T-- Y--... " :)

techfun said...

The boy I went to the school dance with LOVED Duran Duran, and I had no idea who they were. I think I was a bit of a disappointing date!!

This was a heterosexual boy? :)

At my school there was a kind of strict cultural divide between the Duran Duran folks and the Culture Club camp. I was one of the few who straddled both sides because I had access to Erasure and Yaz and Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode stuff from a college radio station near our weekend place on the Gulf and my tapes were in demand.

Jenn Thorson said...

Techfun- Yep, he's married now and has at least one kid. He'd wanted to be a huge rockstar at the time, though. He played about four instruments and was in a number of bands.

Of course, I might have also just been obtuse- you know, what with being practically Amish. :)

timethief said...

I'm smiling broadly. I grew up without electricity or running water. Think about that and know that I wasn't one bit deprived. I really didn't miss anything of lasting value. :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Ah, that's me then-- unappreciative to the core, I guess. :) Darned electricity and running water holding me back! (TT, you know I'm just teasing you...)

Da Old Man said...

Totally off topic (story of my life) but I was and always will be a huge Jean Shepherd fan. Even met the great man back in the early 70's.

By the way (you must be wondering if I can ever stay on any topic for more than 30 seconds) I enjoy reading your blog. I have checked it out every day since I discovered it.

Jenn Thorson said...

Da Old Man- Well, now knowing you're a fellow Shepherd fan, it rather puts some perspective on your username!-- a reference to Ralphie's Dad, I'd bet?

Hey, I'm grateful for everyone's comments, and that you'd take the time to stop by and share. Makes me happier than you'd know.

Very cool that you met Jean Shepherd, as well. He wrote some terrific stuff, and has been a real inspiration.

chyna said...

I didn't MTV either, my parents still don't have cable or satelite. Poor things! I think that is why I got into babysitting for some people, they had cable. I didn't even get to watch it on a daily basis until I was cleaning rooms (by the way, yes the cleaning people are paying more attention to the tv than cleaning your room. Try not to think about it too much). I just adored Def Lepard "Poor some sugar on me..." Yep this led to some questionable stye choices. LOL

Jenn Thorson said...

Chyna- Heh- Def Leppard was the one band that I realized as an adult, "You know, I could have a copy of their album if I wanted it." There was NO slipping by anything remotely like hard rock or metal in my house growing up...

(I was lucky to have finnagled in Billy Joel and the Monkees...)

But now-- I still drive around to Def Leppard sometimes. Entirely too catchy!! "Rocket" is my personal fave. :)

DeadRooster said...

Well, since you went without cable TV for so long, you probably won't know what I'm talking about, but I was in Target the other day and they were playing--and I SWEAR this is true--the theme to "The Bugaloo's"

Look it up on YouTube. I couldn't believe it! LOL. :)

SSB said...

Makes me feel old too.

Jenn Thorson said...

Rooster- Ah, we DID have the Bugaloos-- they were on our Fox station, I believe, so didn't need cable for that in the New York area. That had to be utterly shocking to hear the Bugaloos theme in a major department store. (Apparently the Bugaloos really ARE "in the air and everywhere")

I'm surprised enough when every now and then I hear the full Waylon Jennings "Dukes of Hazzard" theme.

Shirley, remember, we're not old-- we're, um, wise. And stuff. :)

Lidian said...

I remember being so happy to be in a separate hotel room from my parents (on my way to grad school in Canada, mid 1980s) because i could watch MTV, the great thrill of it, because I just couldn't do this at home...SO much fun. Now the oldies stations play all the stuff I liked then, which does make me feel rather - oldie.

Jenn Thorson said...

Lidian- I think it's amusing how many people here have come forward saying they didn't have MTV during this era-- which makes me wonder:

Did anyone even have it or were they just pretending they did? :)