It’s not uncommon for me to – without any external stimuli or apparent “cause,” to get a song in my head – suddenly – and without notice. I’ve been “afflicted” this this condition my entire life. I remember as a little girl having the Doobie Brothers song Black Water running through my head when I attended a family reunion. When I took a trip to Florida with my mom and brother in 1981, I had various songs from the Evita soundtrack running through my head and also The Tide is High by Blondie. Since Evita was one of two cassette tapes we played on this long road trip – and the Blondie song was a big hit at the time – that would explain why the songs were in my head. Ditto for when I went to Bob-Lo Island later that summer and got the Queen song Another One Bites the Dust running through my head. I honestly don’t know why I remember these things as well as I do – maybe it’s because my brain has always been “hard wired” for music…but that’s another blog topic entirely!
Today, I was at work – and out of the blue I had a song “invade” my brain. It was Waiting For A Girl Like You by Foreigner. I’ve never been a Foreigner fan, and I don’t own any CDs/ mp3s of theirs, though my car THINKS I do! One of my tracks is called Foreigner Suite and my car’s “brain” thinks it’s a Foreigner track. It also thinks a couple of my Neil Diamond tracks are Diamond Rio tracks – and thinks my Eagles tracks are Bangles tracks. When I downloaded a Bangles song a while back, I was curious about whether my car would think it’s an Eagles song! Then I got to thinking about Susannah Hoffs from the Bangles singing Desperado and I thought that would be…awesome!
Then I started thinking about “Mullet Burt.” He’s a character my husband and I created on one of our many “Up North” adventures. As the wistful vocals and layered keyboards from that Foreigner song were invading my brain this morning? I got to picturing a scene… An “Up North” bar in Michigan – in the Indian River area, which is probably about a half hour south of the Mackinac Bridge. In typical “Up North” bar fashion, there is wood paneling on the walls, maybe a deer head or two, and maybe three domestic taps (Bud Light, Miller Light, PBR) and a token “craft” tap – Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. There is also Jagermeister “on tap.” There’s a pool table, juke box, various beer mirrors, faint lingering smell of grease from the most recent fish fry night…
Waiting For a Girl Like You is playing in the bar, and one of the patrons named “Burt” has a virtual meltdown. He should’ve been cut off about five rounds ago, he’s wearing a muscle shirt that’s seen better days, and he has…a mullet hairdo. He’s sitting with a buddy, whom is his virtual opposite in terms of personality, but they’ve been friends for about…20 years or so? Both guys are in their mid 50s. Burt owns a small engine repair shop, and Lenny runs a small newspaper office, where he serves as editor, writer, publisher (wears almost all of the hats). Burt is a classic redneck “Up North” boy, Lenny is a bit more intelligent and refined – and conservatively dressed. They have kind of an “Odd Couple” vibe… They also both play on a pub trivia team together – and Lenny writes about his trivia team’s exploits in a newspaper column every week, which has strangely gotten kind of a “cult” following among the readers.
Here’s how the dialogue would go with Burt and Lenny (there will be a couple of incidental characters thrown in too).
Burt: (reacting loudly to the song and singing along) Foreigner is the best f—ing band ever. I saw ’em live at Pine Knob in 1983. This song makes me think of Tonya…she was the one who got away, man…Ever since then I’ve been waiting for a girl like her… Nobody can sing like Lou Gramm (shakes his fist) – Nobody! All this new music is just (pauses) auto tuned crap! Lou Gramm should beat up Ed Sheeran!
Lenny: But didn’t Tonya dump you, Burt?
Burt (angry, slurring his speech): You have no idea how it went down! She married that guy whose daddy owned the golf course. Bastard… I wish I could… kick his ass right now. (sidles up to woman sitting a few seats down at the bar). Hey…maybe YOU’RE the one I’ve been waiting for all along. Just like in the song…
Woman: Uh… (very creeped out, but sensing that Burt is super drunk and not wanting to antagonize him) that’s nice of you to say… Burt – but I’m pretty sure this song isn’t about me. Also I’m married.
Burt: Yeah, you’re right. It’s all about Tonya…Ya know, I never even got to third base with her before she dumped me. I was trying to get up the nerve to ask her to prom.
Lenny: Funny fact about this song – it hit #2 on the charts, but never hit #1. Remember? They asked about it at that trivia tournament about number two songs.
Burt: God damn it! Even that song is a loser… just like me!
Lenny: (snickering while the Little River Band song Lonesome Loser starts playing)
Song Lyrics: Have you heard about the lonesome loser…beaten by the queen of hearts every time…
Lenny: (laughing) This song is about you, Burt!
Burt: Shut up, man (orders another shot of Jagermeister)!
Lenny: (to bartender) Make it two rounds – put it on my tab. And I’m driving this “loser” home tonight!
Burt: You’re all right, man! You’re all right…