Magic Jewball

all signs point to no

 

I was that close to working at 7-Eleven, you know

Filed under : Life in general,Music
On January 1, 2010
At 1:30 am
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So I hope you had a great New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. I certainly did; I was working. But it’s not what you think, see, I had a big baked goods order for New Year’s Day. But while I was rolling dough to Pat Benatar, I was thinking about previous working holidays. It all ties in together. I recently found a cassette of my second favorite album of 1981, Precious Time. It was a cheapie that I had recorded off the LP I owned and man, is it in bad shape. But I’ve been finishing off its disintegration by singing along with it in the kitchen lately. Pat Benatar represents a lot of things to me. The most recent connotation is the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High where, of course, “three girls have cultivated the Pat Benatar look.” I still laugh out loud whenever any of those girls is in the shot.

They say FTaRH is accurate as far as representing high school goes, but I have no idea as my high school was nothing like the typical. But I’ll tell you what, it nailed what life is like as a teen working in a mall. Every time I hear Stacy say, “another Summer at Perry’s, I can’t…” I nod in understanding. Not that I disliked my time in retail. I adored it even while I hated it. I dream of it even now, vividly. But I always worked holidays and Sundays too. I was thinking tonight about NYE 1992. I went to a party at a friend’s posh place on the East Side, slept over, and then took an early morning train back to Baltimore. See, the mall opened at 11 and I had to work. I remember my other friends still sleeping, the empty, snowy streets, the silence in the taxi. But I didn’t mind.

Still, even now I won’t work Sundays. I appreciate every single lazy Sunday I have. This week I proctored exams at a local, er, unnamed Orthodox Jewish university. The week ran from Christmas Eve every day through NYE except Saturday, naturally. I signed up for every available session except Sunday. I am telling you, all these years later you will not take away my Sunday. Now, I may not know Mike Damone’s high school associations (I did internalize his “wherever you are, act like that’s the place to be” credo, but that’s a subject for another day) but these kids, well, they were my homies. They dressed just like the kids in my HS (nice pants, no jeans, button-down or polo shirts, all with the same haircut) and they had the same mannerisms and smartass senses of humor. Some of them swayed while they concentrated on their exams, as Jews do in prayer. I remember that too. I hope they all did well… except for that one kid who wouldn’t keep his eyes on his own paper.

But back to Pat Benatar. I was thinking while I was jam-spreading why I liked her so much when I was never a big fan of any other woman singer. I think it’s because of her toughness. I wasn’t a tough kid at all, far from it. My mother used to tell me I was like a flower, that anyone could crush me. I think I wished I had a little Pat Benatar in me when I was that age. And by that age I mean so young that I originally thought Hell is For Children meant that she thought children should go to Hell. I was a little offended, I have to say.

Oh yeah, and the songs. What great songs, they still stand up even now. If you’re wondering what my favorite album of 1981 was, that, of course, was The Police’s Ghost in the Machine. If you’re wondering what my Top 10 albums of the Oughts were, you’ll have to wait till Sunday… I still have some more baking to do.



Title comes from Mike Damone in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

People think Hit Me With Your Best Shot was Pat Benatar’s toughest song but I think it’s this one.

 

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