When They Make a Movie Out of My Life . . .
. . . the soundtrack will look a little something like this:
Part One: The Latency Years
July 1981: “Woman” by John Lennon. After watching a movie version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts’ Club Band starring Peter Frampton on our movie channel, I write a letter to the programming department of “On TV” asking them to please, please play this movie again. But they won’t. They will write me a letter telling me this, though. My parents will then tell me that I should like the Beatles because they are “heavy” and that Peter Frampton is “light.” Shortly after perusing my parents’ vinyl stacks, I become obsessed with John Lennon, who has just been killed in New York City. I feel like they don’t play his song, “Woman,” enough on the radio. In fact, if they played it all day long, every day, that would be fine with me. It is summertime and it’s that time of day in between the last of the Aaron Spelling reruns and the first Twilight Zone–where the only choices are I Love Lucy, Bonanza!, or Little House On the Prairie–so I have about a half-hour to kill. I am sitting in the family room of the old house, dialing our rotary phone over and over again, hoping to get through to the request line at the Mighty 690. After what seems like ages, somebody will answer, and I will be so startled as to be tongue-tied. But when the woman asks what I want to hear, I will say, “Woman by John Lennon,” and then convince myself that this is not right, and say, “Nevermind,” and hang up the phone.
January 1982: “Physical” by Olivia Newton John. My friend R and I are obsessed with Olivia Newton John. We wish we could be Olivia Newton John. I feel strongly that I look more like her than R does. She points out that she is built more like her, and though she has a point I am irritated by this. We both have headbands and legwarmers, and we dream of visiting her shop, Koala Blue, on Melrose in LA, but we can never seem to catch a ride there. Ultimately, R and I decide to organize a “Dance Festible” wherein she and I will play “Physical,” and dance around in unison, doing jumping jacks and the like, like ONJ did on Solid Gold. I draw up programs in the Hello Kitty notebook our Japanese Exchange Student brought me, and make my Dad take the programs to his office and Xerox them, and he does. But he only makes 5 copies, not 15, and then R tells me it’s “festival,” not “festible.” I am reluctant to believe her, but do run it past my Mom, who concurs. Oh well.
February 1984. “Erotic City” by Prince and the Revolution. I am in sixth grade and a guy in my homeroom, Steve, apparently has a crush on me. Because of this, I am invited to a boy/girl party at Sherri S.’s house, a venue at which I am clearly not cool enough to be. Sherri S. is far more advanced than I am, and she is making out with Chris on the “dance floor” of her living room. Then they play two-minutes-in-the-closet, and Sherri S. goes in with Chris, and comes back out with her hair messed up, and an (affected?) limp. As luck would have it, a coin toss determines that I go in with the boy I really like, Scott, and not Steve, to whom I would rather not get too close. Scott stands there with his arms crossed and looks pissed off for two minutes, and I rejoin the group with my Jag sweatshirt completely intact, my Guess jeans unsullied. The night ends with Sherri S. teaching us how to dance suggestively to “Erotic City” by Prince. I go home with the feeling that I’m way behind in something somewhat important, and a vague sense that perhaps Sherri S.’s parents are a little more lax than my own.
What would be on your life’s soundtrack?