New Rules Set To Music
© David Volk

New rule:

Sarah Palin has resigned. Fred Travalena and the Taco Bell Chihuahua have died. A wise Latina has become the next Supreme Court Justice. Congressional town hall meetings are turning ugly. Bill Clinton has rescued two women and we’re now being told President Obama’s health care bill (which doesn’t even exist yet) will kill our grandparents.

With each new development, people ask me when I’m going to write a rant about it.

Now that I’m a dad, I don’t always have the time to write the topical rants the way I used to. Half the time, I can’t even get to the stories until everyone has moved onto something else. The other half of the time, I’m so busy with the kids, I miss the big stories. So, I’m asking for your patience for the time being.

Although I’m a new parent, that doesn’t mean my brain has turned to mush and that I’ll only write funny stories about my kids, even though they are the cutest kids on the planet. I’ll still comment on the latest news developments, politics and the things that bug me. I just might not be able to get to the thing you wanted to read about. That doesn’t mean I won’t write about my kids, though, when I come across something too good to pass up as this rant proves….

“Another golden oldie night for wendy,
She’s listening to the radio,
She dreams her way back to the boy who loved her,
So long ago,….”
--“Another Golden Oldie Night for Wendy” by England Dan and John Ford Coley from “Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jive.”

It’s a Hollywood cliché.

The teen who won’t listen to parental advice, gets pregnant and has to end her carefree childhood to become a single parent caring for a baby. Inevitably, the scene that always brings the tragedy in focus occurs as she’s either changing a dirty diaper or the child is throwing a temper tantrum. One of her favorite songs from that carefree summer comes on the radio and you can see the wave of regret hit her.

As the scene closes, we might see her scream at the kid or watch as a single tear rolls down her face.

Fade to black.

As strange as it sounds, I can identify with that woman. I, too, hear songs on the radio that make me nostalgic for the good old days as I care for my kids. The only difference is, I don’t have the hackneyed Hollywood regrets.

In fact, I kind of get a kick out of it.

If anyone had ever told the college-aged me that I would one day find myself changing diapers to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” I would have just stared at them. (see the video here: )

Oddly enough, that hasn’t even been the strangest mix of musical memory and current reality that has hit in recent weeks. In fact, the best example happened just this week as I changed diapers to the hard-driving song, “Ride Like the Wind.”(Listen to the song here: Lyrics: ). It went something like this:

“I was born the son of a lawless man….”
[sound of one side of diaper Velcro ripping]
“Always spoke my mind with a gun in my hand…
[Velcro rip on other side]
“Lived nine lives, gunned down 10….”
[sound of diaper being removed, balled up and hitting waste basket. New one being opened]
Never was the kind to do as I was told…”
[telling my daughter, ‘Butt up please.”]
Gonna ride like the wind before I get old….”
[diaper being slid into place and Velcro attached]

Later that same day I heard “Safety Dance” (listen here: Lyrics here: as we were driving, so I turned up the radio and told the kids how much I loved the song when I was in college. I admit, it’s not “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” but then again, we haven’t got around to playing those types of songs for the kids. Currently, their favorite cd features bluesy, bluegrassy versions of songs like “I’m the Sheik of Araby” ( it starts at 1:45) and “You Are My Sunshine” ( or, if you want a laugh, listen to this version: Still, I don’t think the kids were all that impressed by the lyrics:

“We can dance if we want to,
We can leave your friends behind…”

Of course it could be because they're two years old and don’t have any friends yet.

Here are some of the other weird mixes of happy memory and present day reality that made me laugh.

Phil Collins "Sussudio"

[Lyrics: ]
Then: Hearing the song echoing across a prison compound as I went to interview a man who had been wrongly imprisoned
Now: Putting my son to bed early for continuing to do something he was told not to.

“You Can’t Hurry Love” performed by Phil Collins

[Lyrics: ]
Then: Looking for love in college.
Now: Rushing my daughter to finish lunch so we could make it to a doctor’s appointment on time.

“True” by Spandau Ballet

[Lyrics: ]
Then: Hanging out with a good friend who was going through the difficult process of deciding whether or not to come out of the closet.
Now: Asking my son if he’s pooped in his diaper and hearing him say no when it’s obvious the answer is yes.

“Total Eclipse of the Heart”

[Lyrics: ]
Then: Trying to figure out what the lyric “Living in a pollygeg and throwing off sparks” meant.
Now: Chasing my son after he turned off the bathroom light while I was changing my duaghter’s diaper.

“Tell Her About It”

[Lyrics: ]
Then: Sorting out feelings about a girlfriend
Now: Telling my children how much I love them only to have them tell me how much they want to get off the bathroom counter.

“Sweet Dreams Are Made of This”

[Lyrics: ]
Then: What the Hell was that?
Now: I don’t care what it is, it’s got a great beat and we can dance to it in the bathroom.

“Walking in Memphis”

[Lyrics: ]
Then: listening to it on my Walkman during bus rides and train rides throughout Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.
Now: Waiting for my kids to go to the bathroom and repeatedly telling my son, “ Penis in the potty! Penis in the potty.”

“You Can Call Me Al”

[Lyrics: ]
Then: That was funny.
Now: Man, I hope I don’t have to explain it to my kids when they get older. I’m not even sure I understand it myself. Maybe I’ll just stick with the birds and the bees. It's easier