Blurred Lines

1976.  July.  Mid-morning.  The stillness of the mountain air foreshadowed heat coming later in the day.  We were stepping from rock to rock heading downstream at Pass Creek trying to locate a suitable fishing eddy.  Aunt Olga grins and asks: “That song.  The one you are whistling.  Do you know what it is about?”  I had no idea but said “sure.”  I accelerated my pace creating some distance, recognizing that there was a message in there somewhere, but I wasn’t going to wait to find out.  She let it go.

I never listen(ed) to lyrics.  Never, that is, until I arrived home later in the day and waited for the song to play again.  My transistor radio crackling out the tune.  Aha.  OK.  Got it now.  Red-faced just thinking about it after all these years.

Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight
Gonna grab some afternoon delight…
Sky rockets in flight
Afternoon delight
Afternoon delight
Afternoon delight

2013.  Memorial Day weekend.  Poolside.  Solo guitarist singing wide range of covers: Bruce.  Lumineers.  Petty.  Cash.  James Taylor. Dave Matthews.  ‘Wedding singer plus’ offering pleasant background music on a glorious day.

Giant of a man ambles up to the pool.  Fabio like with pony-tail. Football player? Wrestler? Body Builder?  No clear sight lines.  Walking in his shadow was a tight body half his size…wearing a black bikini, black sunglasses…carrying a beach bag shimmering with silver sequins.  Beauty and the beast.  Or perhaps better stated, the Beast and his beauty.

He sets up his boom box.  Cranks up his tunes…and drowns out the live music.

I smile.  The hypocrite who categorizes rap music as “Gangster” with his kids…is tapping his foot and grooving.  Don’t hear, can’t hear the lyrics. Don’t care.  Love the catchy beat.

I lean over.  Tap Rachel on the shoulder.  “Honey, who’s this?”

“Come on Dad.  Robin Thicke.  Song is #1 on the charts.”

Later in the day, I find the Youtube video.  26,000,000 views since it was posted 60 days ago.  I get 30 seconds in.  Pause.  And shut it down.

1976.  Starland Vocal Band’s #1 Hit: “Afternoon Delight.”

2013. Robin Thicke,  T.I., and Pharrell Williams.  #1 Hit: “Blurred Lines.”

Blurred lines?  Crossed Lines?  Or Obliterated lines?

I pick up to leave the pool.  I see.  A Father vigorously rubbing in white lather from sunscreen on his son’s back.  A girl playing in the pool with her sister on an inner tube.  Boys playing catch with an orange fluorescent colored nerf football.  A Mother, holding her infant child tightly,  cautiously immersing him in the water for what is likely the first time.

And I walk away…with a yearning for a return to simpler times.  A return to greater innocence.  For discovery.  Yet what I feel….is a steadily escalating sense of foreboding. Like a climber with his crampons navigating up ice mountain.  We take one step, dig into the shock and awe.  Smash the ice pick up ahead.  Re-grip and take it up another notch.  It’s a slippery slope if we miss.  And oh, how I wish I’m wrong.

Comments

  1. A little red-faced watching the video……great story. And I was tapping my feet.

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  2. This is too funny, David. I had a *very* similar experience as a kid, singing ‘Afternoon Delight’ at the top of my 12-year-old lungs when my mother stops me cold. “Stop singing that song!” she barked. “But mom, I like it, it’s very popular right now!” Response, “Do you have ANY idea what it’s about?!” Hadn’t ’til then…. . :-/ And I have to confess, I love ‘Blurred Lines,’ very catching tune. That said, I totally get where you’re coming from, David. The horse is out of the barn in many ways that aren’t so pretty….

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  3. I admit I fell in love with Blurred Lines before actually grasping the full meaning of the lyrics. It does scare me how un-innocent things are these days. I want things to be simple, meaningful and beautiful at least occasionally.

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  4. I saw Blurred Lines performed on TV a week or so ago… and I know exactly what you’re getting at David…but I need to admit, the flower girl liked that song…or maybe it was just Robin Thicke…I don’t know, it’s all just a blur at the moment. 🙂

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  5. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Not actually watching the video – sorry – but I sure hear you on the whole simpler times thing. At least they were simpler on the surface …

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  6. Oh wow. I looked up the lyrics just to be sure. *sigh* I was born in the late 70’s so not too familiar with the song ‘Afternoon Delight’. I can be quite sure, however, that it is nowhere near as offensive to me as ‘Blurred Lines’ is… especially since I am the mother of a young daughter. Is there any way to escape this runaway train? Can we find the source of the disconnection that creates the lack of respect for one another? I will keep looking.

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    • I’m with you Christy. As a Father with a daughter, it had a similar impact on me. We can only hope to impress on our children, young men and women alike, what’s right and not, and hope they lead the way.

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