Friday, August 8, 2008

Glimpse of my young, silly self

So, the little guy and I are driving along, and I’m listening to BOB-FM; it’s one of several stations that we flip among as we drive, stations with everything from oldies and rock to independent and classical. Anyway, we’re driving and an old song comes on: “Sunglasses at Night” is the title, I believe, by some one-hit wonder named Corey Hart. (I just double-checked it online—that’s his name.) And I say aloud, “I remember this song, I used to really like it.” I tell my son things like this all the time, not because he cares but mostly because I am accustomed to talking to him a lot, the poor kid. And I am listening to the song unfold, and singing along with the lyrics I can recall (not many, but it’s coming back to me) and the song arrives at its chorus section—which sounds like this the first time around:

Don't switch the blade on the guy in shades, oh-no
Don't masquerade with the guy in shades, oh-no
I can't believe it
‘Cause you got it made with the guy in shades, oh-no

I had one of those moments—perhaps you’ve had them too?—a moment where suddenly, with unkind clarity, you glimpse yourself as a stupid kid, prancing around, thinking you’re all that, singing these incredibly shallow songs and being so proud you know the words… I was literally laughing out loud as I listened to the song, not just at the embarrassing memory of myself, or the ridiculous lyrics, but also at the drama with which this Corey character sings them. If you’re familiar with the song, then you know of what I speak; it’s quite comical.

But when I was in high school, there was nothing comical about it. I was quite serious about how cool it was.

This happens to me more and more; I am momentarily reacquainted with something from my distant past, and I am struck by how foolish it truly is and how foolish I must have seemed as I embraced whatever it was in my earnest attempts to be cool—sometimes I was even convinced that I’d succeeded.

Coolness, just like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. A good thing about these glimpses of my young self is that most of the time, they reaffirm my stand that you couldn’t pay me to go back to those teen years. This is definitely one of those times—and I got to have a good chuckle to boot.

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