Monday, September 03, 2007

I Got The Music In Me

For a while now, I’ve been meaning to blog about my severe case of what I call “Musical-Tourettes Syndrone”. But I hadn’t quite found the right way to describe exactly what I meant. So imagine my surprise when I found out that apparently, Stranger editor Christopher Frizzelle has Musical-Tourettes, too. He doesn’t call it that, but what he says is exactly what I do.

“There's a glitch in my brain that constantly scans what people say for references to the adult-contemporary-pop canon of my childhood, and if a friend says, "I'm tired," it's not unheard of for me to reply, no doubt obnoxiously, "I'm tired of play-ay-ing on the team/Oh, it seems I don't get time out anymore/Ooh-ooh-ooh." If someone says, "Here she comes," I will say, "Watch out, boy, she'll chew you up." Whenever I come across the word "wordplay," my mind sings: "You play with words/You play with luh-uh-uhve."

Mr. Frizzelle is speaking specifically of Hall and Oates songs - I don’t know if he does this all the time, with all different kinds of music. But I do.

I’m kidding about it being an actual disorder, of course, it’s not really. It’s just this really absurd habit, but it is pretty deeply ingrained in me. I have trained myself not to do it out loud in front of anyone but Monk. (Unless I have been drinking champagne, and then all bets are off.) I thought I was the only person silly enough to ever do it out loud, so I was quite delighted when I found that, if encouraged, Monk will do it, too.

And it’s silly enough even when other people can actually recognize the music. Part of my problem is that because I was a theatre major, I have lyrics from various musicals that I worked on/performed in forever etched into my head. No one else but another theater geek knows the lyrics to "Fugue for Tinhorns" from Guys and Dolls, but if you say to me, “Can do, Matisse”, in my head I’ll start singing “I got the horse right here, his name is Paul Revere, and here's a guy who says if the weather's clear, can do, can do, this guy says the horse can do.” If someone remarks in my presence “Just you wait”, then mentally, I hear Eliza Doolittle singing “Just you wait, Henry Higgens, just you wait, you’ll be sorry but your tears will come too late…” And I must firmly repress the urge to sing along.

Aside from musicals, it’s mostly unintentional quoting from seventies and eighties songs that brings on my little tic. I think it’s true that music from your childhood really get imprinted on you. So if you’re ever talking to me, and I suddenly look distracted and seem to be singing under my breath, feel free to join right in - if you know the words.

Edited to add: Now that I mention it, I do see one theatre-loving man who knows the same musical cues and does this right along with me. It really adds something unique to a BDSM scene when both of you occasionally break into a Rogers and Hammerstein chorus.