I've reconnected with an old friend since moving to Vegas: radio. Radio, especially Old School 105.7 because any station where I am pretty much guaranteed to hear Earth, Wind & Fire or "Return of the Mack" is a winner in my book.
The radio was always on when I was growing up, sometimes as a baseball game, sometimes as background noise, but most of the time, as music. My aunt said we were like little jukeboxes since we knew all the words to all the oldies, which was 50s and 60s music back then. I'd hedge a bet songs I heard on their first run are now considered oldies. When did I get so old? Arrg. But that's for another day.
As I was driving downtown to pick up Joey earlier this evening, with my old friend, Radio, on some random station and the song, "Father Figure" by George Michael came on. Of course, I started singing because George Michael sing alongs are life giving. Sidenote: This was while driving by the church where I accidentally mistook a priest for a dude wearing the world's greatest priest costume until I noticed the "Latin Mass" signs. In my defense, Spiderman had just walked by and, Vegas.
So I was driving down the street, singing about tiny hands (insert your favorite Citrus in Chief joke) and preacher teachers, when I remembered something from two decades ago that really got my goat.
And they say elephants never forget.
I remembered a poetry workshop that I absolutely loved. It was an odd mix of people and I still have a folder full of random notes and poems from the class. Some of us were serious writers, some of us were just fulfilling a requirement, but we were all there. The professor was a little nuts, which is usually the best kind of professor in a creative class. I can remember a few of my peers fairly distinctively, but I can remember one of the poems with absolute clarity.
The writer was conventionally beautiful, which was a big selling point in the late 90s Midwest. She had been working on a poem to sort out some feelings with her father. You know, Daddy Issues. Not like he was a molester or anything like that, but neglect leaves its own mess of scars.
We'd been encouraging her to really get at the root of things and be brave about it. Raw. And when she brought something to share in a workshop, I was curious what I might hear.
It took me about three seconds to realize that half the poem was lyrics from "Father Figure." Not sure if I was gonna laugh or call bullshit, I surveyed the room, my mouth dropping in disbelief as most of them bought it.
Sometimes I think that you'll never
They were fawning all over it.
I will be your father figure
Put your tiny hand in mine
I wasn't sure if the professor was just so cool he'd never heard George Michael on the radio or if he was just being kind.
They kept fawning, so I started making that weird scrunchy face where I get thick lines between my eyebrows, but my eyes stay wide-open because I just can't.
Just hold on, hold on.
And I won't let you go, my baby.
I was so angry.
And then sad because she obviously didn't understand the song.
But I didn't say anything because I used to be better at that.
I will be the one who loves you
'Til the end of time
"Father Figure" ® lyrics by George Michael