I’m happy to report that my inner child is still ageless. ~ James Broughton
A few weeks back, a video made the Facebook rounds. You probably saw it: an old man in a nursing home, virtually unresponsive to the people around him, listens to music from his youth and lights up, singing, dancing, and interacting freely with the interviewer. It’s a wonderful video, and if you haven’t seen it (or want to see it again), here it is. Have a box of tissues on hand, you’ll need them.
Now, me being the snarky snark that I am (in other words, this made me cry and so I had to start making jokes in order to distance myself), I got to thinking. The music from my youth wasn’t exactly Cab Calloway. What songs will Sausage play for me, if and when I end up in a similar state to Henry from the video?
I’m sure he’ll play The Beatles for me — I know all the words to most of their songs, and they’ve always been a go-to for me. Then there’s Simon and Garfunkel, and Blondie. I guess these are all innocuous enough, and I shouldn’t embarrass him too terribly by rocking out to Magical Mystery Tour. But I’m not ultimately a child of the 60’s and 70’s. My formative music was from the 80’s and 90’s, and the 90’s in particular were not a decade of sweet innocence from songwriters. It was a decade of screaming obscenities and equating sex with death. So what are some of the songs that I’ll most respond to when I’m 95 years old, belting them out and grinding in my seat, I wonder?
Here’s a small selection of songs that I always turn up really loud and get dancing to. I know all the words to every single one.
5. Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”. I had this on vinyl as a kid, and it always makes me feel like a happy, bouncy six-year-old in neon leggings. I can’t imagine that I’ll feel any differently about it when I’m 95.
4. The Offspring, “Bad Habit”. My poor mom. I used to put on The Offspring and turn it up really loud, just to annoy her. She never said anything about it, but she had to have been wondering why I couldn’t be one of those girls who was listening to bubblegum pop instead of to angry punk. Whatever. This song still makes me headbang (though I get a headache from it now).
3. Fiona Apple, “Criminal”. This song makes me feel naughty, and I expect that if they play it for me when I’m old I may just become a pincher. Nurses, take heed.
2. Jill Sobule, “I Kissed A Girl”. This will mostly be embarrassing because my poor son really doesn’t want to know that much about my college experience. He just doesn’t.
The official video, the one I watched when I was 15, is not on YouTube. It’s here, though. Not to be missed. Did you remember that Fabio was in it? I didn’t.
1. Divinyls, “I Touch Myself”. Years ago, on the radio, I remember a female DJ talking about how all women have a “Secret Stripper Song.” It’s a song that they do their sexy dance to every time they hear it — and they hear it every time they do their sexy dance. This is it for me. Even if I’m in public when I hear it, I’ll always do a mental striptease to this song. When I’m 95 and doing a chair dance in the nursing home, I anticipate that my son will be as mortified as it is possible to be. And that’s always fun!
What songs will you be belting out from your wheelchair?