Some of my fondest memories have to do with the many hours I have spent driving to and from various academic and recreational activities with my kids. Of course we had our share of bickering, irritations and complications, but we also had several “games” we played to entertain ourselves along the way. Sometimes we would try to carry on a conversation making the last word in each sentence rhyme with the last word in the previous sentence, hoping to not be the person who couldn’t come up with one more. Sometimes we tried to respond to each other only with questions. Whatever we did, it almost always ended up with a lot of hysterical laughter.
One of our favorite games was to make up alternative lyrics to the songs on the radio. For instance, we would sing, “So now I come to you with broken arms” and “Return to Simba”. One of the boys’ favorites was “Killing me softly with Islam”. We had all sorts of fun with this game. Sometimes the words would come as a result of someone not being able to understand what the singer was saying, as in the case of Ann Murray’s “Even Though We Aint Got Money” in which I will always hear some sort of king-a-ching thing in there where it says “bring a tear of joy”, thanks to David.
I never think of this game that I don’t remember a church Christmas party where I was trying to explain it to a small group of women. One of the moms of very small children didn’t quite understand what I was describing, so I thought the best way to help her, would be to sing one of our latest renditions. My boys were at this time in that preteen stage, and very…boy. I began to sing the song that was their favorite at the time, a variation of “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett. I began to sing, “Young girl, get out of my house, there’s going to be a hole in your blouse, better run girl, I have a gun girl.” As I sang, I began to notice the look on the young mom’s face was not so much amused as it was appalled. I wanted to stop, that voice in my head was yelling, “no! go back!” but I just kept singing right to the very end. When I got done, there was and awkward silence followed by an, “Oh” from the young mom. I died a little inside and found a way to excuse myself to another location. Uh, merry Christmas. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I felt as if I had violated about 95 rules of proper conduct at a church Christmas party. Later I apologized to the young woman for having offended her senses of propriety, only to find out that her main response had been one of confusion, because she had never heard the song before. I guess it is kind of hard to catch the irony if you don’t know the song at all. Oh well, I would like to tell you that since then I have been on my utmost best behavior, but the truth is that I go about life making a fool of myself on a regular basis.
Whatever regrets I may have for embarrassing myself in front of other people, I have no regrets for the hours of laughter I have shared with my children. It gives me a sense of great satisfaction to know that I have passed on to them the ability to find humor in life wherever they go. I think it is one of the most important keys to survival.
And it gives us moments to remember.