Monday, November 14, 2011
Musical genius. Ok, I may not be a prodigy like Beethoven or some dancing 3 year-old on YouTube, but I do have a pretty good ear and my familiarity with popular music, especially from the 60’s-80’s, teeters on the edge of ridiculousness. Last night I was reminded of why this seemingly useless skill may come in handy one day (other than at those parties when I am motivated to kick complete ass at Cranium and musical Catch Phrase). My boyfriend and I, after watching the classic Steve Guttenberg/Ally Sheedy movie Short Circuit last week, decided our lives would not be complete until we’d spent 90 minutes of our Sunday evening viewing the sequel, aptly named Short Circuit 2. Yep, movie producers were pretty creative back in the day. Anyhoo, the scene from that little cinematic gem that always stood out to me is when Fisher Stevens and Michael McKean are trapped in the freezer at a Chinese restaurant and manage to communicate with the leading lady’s answering machine through a series of keypad beeps strung together to resemble ditties from the 50’s and 60’s. They start with “Help Me Rhonda” to alert the heroine that they are in danger of losing appendages to frostbite, and then tap into America’s “directional songbook” with tunes likes “Broadway” and “Dock of the Bay” (go to Broadway and then drive toward the Hudson docks, obviously). The first time I watched this sequence I thought it was brilliant and twenty+ years later my opinion hasn’t changed much. Yes, I know I am easily impressed. An hour after watching Johnny 5 gain US citizenship, I drifted off to dreamland with visions of you, Jason, kidnapped by nefarious, Muppet-hating villains with only an old-fashioned telephone keypad at your disposal so you could tap out a musical Morse code into my voicemail box. Being the musical genius that I am I would immediately recognize the opening strains of “Help!” by the Beatles and race off to rescue you before those evildoers forced you to watch as they tore off Kermit’s fuzzy limbs. See, it pays to be my friend, Mr. Segel, if only it means you’ll sleep soundly each night, confident that I’ll accurately interpret the chorus of “Build Me Up, Buttercup” as “I’m trapped at the nearest nursery. Save me!” Just don’t send “Witch Doctor” over the telephone lines; “ooh eeh ooh ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang” would have me completely flummoxed.