Friday, September 2, 2011

My theme song

I have a brother who is a great singer.  He sang in plays in high school and college.  He can start singing anywhere and sound great.  And I am jealous.

We grew up with a lot of music and singing.  During the storybook years, the early years when my parents were still married, there was always music in the house and lots of singing.  

On long road trips to see family, of course there were no dvd players in the car, we sang and listened to music.  I remember so many trips falling asleep in the "back-back" of our station wagon (way before seat belt laws) while listening to my parents harmonize to old camp songs.  It sounds totally made up, but I swear that is the truth.  They would sing, and sing well, songs they knew from camp as teenagers or old Everly Brothers songs.  It was one of the most beautiful sounds in the world to me.

Later, in a funny twist, my mom would play the Everly Brothers' classic "Love Hurts" on our record player over and over and over.  And when my sister and I would get dumped by a boy she would break out her favorite "men suck" song.  But that is a whole different story.

When I was a kid I used to think I had a really good singing voice.  My sister and cousin and I used to play a game called The Mandrell Sisters, based off of their 80s variety show.  I insisted I was Barbara because I was a good singer and I was the shortest.

My mom thought I was pretty good too.  She used to pay me $5 to perform the Jackson Five classic "Ben" at dinner parties.  I am not making this up I promise.

But somewhere along the way, I started sucking.  And my brother, who by the way was my back up singer during the "Ben" years and got paid nothing, kept getting better and better.  

When we were teenagers we ended up going on several long road trips together, just he and I.  One trip I sang the whole way from Nebraska to Michigan.  He told me I gave him a stomachache, I was so bad and that I sounded like the singing bush in the movie "The Three Amigos."

He wasn't making it up either.  I totally do sound like the singing bush.  Or Ethel Merman.  If you don't know those references, just know they aren't good, no offense to Ethel.

But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate music.  I was thinking today about the episode of "Ally McBeal" when her therapist tells her she needs a theme song.  Years ago, probably when that show was popular,  I told people one of my theme songs was "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes" by Jimmy Buffet.  Yes, Jimmy Buffet.  Mostly because of the line "if we couldn't laugh we'd just all go insane.

Another theme song I've had is "I've Got to Use My Imagination" by Gladys Knight and the Pips, because of the line "keep on keepin on."  

Now I am liking any good drumline for my theme song.  And my family appreciates this too, because there is no singing.  

Even my children agree with my brother, that I can't sing.  Lucy did try to make me feel better by telling me I am really good at humming.

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