So, okay, I'm a little twisted. There's a place in my heart for bad music. Terrible music, really. And it's that age-old question of: am I making fun of it or do I really and truly like it? Did it begin with the former and slowly become the latter? The world may never know.
Are you wondering how bad we're talking here? Think of a bad song. A really bad one. No, Peter Cetera isn't bad enough. That's amateurish and you can do better. Got one? Okay, I've got that one on the iPod and worse. Way worse. AND I know them all by heart. What's up, Air Supply?
Are you about ready to tear me to shreds, you hipster? Well, I defy you to sing along to something on the freakin' Garden State soundtrack when you're road-tripping to Maine in the rain to see Dane (Cook) with your friends. No, you need "More Than a Feeling" and maybe a little Jovi. You might need a little Scorpions as well, but you might not admit to that after the fact. That might be something that remains a vehicular secret. Hey, you can have your weekend your way, and I'll have mine my way.
Anyway. So, you know my work involves the vague performance of non-specific tasks in the field of the education of the young amongst us. It's always nice when you can mix two of your passions... your work and your love for crappy music. And what better way to do this than to bring "Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston into the mix. Because I'm sure you believe, like I do, that the children are the future. (And the fact that this is even something that you can choose to believe or not believe is sort of funny; they may be snorting Playdoh now, but like it or not, today's five-year-olds are, indeed, the future.)
You know this song because it was on that tape with all the other songs you made up dances to with your friends when you were nine, or you know it because your sister or neighbor and her friends made up dances to it. This song is great for several reasons. One is that it's just total drama rock, God love it. Another reason is that it's apparently the product of two half-songs that accidentally got recorded as one. Whitney starts out all like, "Kids are important! Give them pride!" and then without warning launches into, "Don't you take my dignity. I love myself. It's all right here in me." Um, I thought we were talking about kids, but okay. And then? THEN?
She sings the song again. The song consists of her singing the same song twice. The actual song is, what, 58 seconds long? And then she sings it AGAIN. Why is this acceptable? If I'm at work giving a presentation and I run out of shit to say, do I just start over, verbatim, shushing everyone who tries to say, "Red, you just told us all of this two minutes ago"? No, I don't. And I bet you don't either. And yet we let this crack-addicted pop star get all repetitive on us. Unfair.
So, basically, what I'm saying is that anyway you slice it, THIS IS A GREAT SONG. And I've had a running contest with three people that I work with and the rules are as follows: You have to work one of the lyrics from this song into an otherwise serious conversation. The person on the receiving end of the lyrics has to not pick up on this and respond to your lyrical plagiarism as though it's your actual thoughts. It's harder than you'd think, which explains why it's been going on for awhile and why I personally thought there could never be a real winner. Witness a couple of failed attempts over the past year:
Me: ...and I told Parent how funny Her Kid is...
Brian: Right... children's laughter can remind us how we used to be.
Me: Nice try.
Lauren: ...and it's just that everybody's searching for a hero, and people need someone to look up to.
Kevin: Have you never found anyone to fulfill your needs?
Lauren: Damn it.
And then this week, after a particularly brutal meeting, Kevin is seething over a lawyer's (unjustified and pointless) dismemberment of his credentials. He's complaining to me and the others. We listen, wide-eyed, supportive. Then I take a shot that I'm sure won't work: "Well, you know, no matter what they take from you, they can't take away your dignity."
He responds: "I know, it's like..."
Oh, shit. All of us around the table immediately launch into what can only be described as SHRIEKING. I won! I won the Whitney Houston battle of the wits! And WHO ELSE is more deserving, I ask you?