Monday, August 17, 2009

Don't stand so close to me.

Last Friday, I picked up my cell phone and took a peek at it, and saw that I had a text message. This is what it said:

"Who were the ancient heroes of old? Hercules and...?"

It was from Dad.

And so I called him and said, "You, of course."

Which in a way, was a burn as much as a compliment.

And he said, "What?"

So I then explained. And he thought it was this great compliment, and spoke with a really deep voice, saying: "Why, thank you, Laura." Followed by a rendition of Gaston's song in Beauty and the Beast, "Every inch of my body, is covered with hair!"

Thanks for that, Dad. But at least I wasn't there to see him showing off chest hair. Eww.

He then made me list off all the famous Greeks I could think of, made easier by my recent read-through of Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Later, at home, I found his list:


Some of the names weren't misspelled.

I fixed the rest, and after he said, "Hey, I need that song--"

This is when he proceeded to sing these lyrics, although the tune he sang them in had little to do with the original song his rendition was based on. To quote American Idol, he "made it his own."

This was the song: "Every breath you take, every da-da-dum, every something-something,[pause] I'll be watching you!"

I think the pause had something to do with forgetting lyrics, rather than dramatic effect, though it may have had to do with forgetting the song he was trying to sing altogether.

Because I am somewhat musical and know my dad and the varied depths to which his psyche plunges him on a daily basis, I knew he meant a song by The Police, the one that the CBS (Columbia Business School) professor remade in the funny video I love and play for everyone I know. Jen played it for me during the election.

You know the real song, right? Every Breath You Take by The Police. Sting, you know?

Good. Because I'm not going to sing it for you.

Dad wanted me to get it for him.

"Download it!" He said.

"Do you have five hours?" I asked him. "Because that's how long it's going to take."

This is with the understanding that my dial-up would work the first time, and that I wouldn't have to diagnose my messed-up connection a billion times because Best Buy didn't give me a new dial-up modem when mine was freaking out, it just tried to fix the driver for the one I have--it didn't work but I'm not about to take it back.

"Five hours?"

"Yep. That's about a minute of song for every hour of download time," I said. "Provided nothing goes wrong."

So he handed me a twenty and I went to Walmart, discovering they had not one album from The Police, and only one by Sting, which mercifully happened to be Sting and The Police: Greatest Hits, or something to that effect. I don't have it in front of me right now.

I bought it and drove home, thinking about how funny it was that Dad was about to use a song in his sermon (why else would he want an album by the band in question?) written by a man who also had an album called "Tantric" and then it hit me--there was no way in any realm of the imagination that Dad would know that.


Now, a good daughter would have paused the Sting song she was listening to and called her pastor father to alert him to that fact, and the fact that the song she was listening to was about a man who was in love with a prostitute too. And that he might want to be prepped for defending his song choice in front of the very, very angry people churches can sometimes produce (they seem so nice when you first meet them).

But this is what I did: I turned up "Roxanne" and kept driving. And I decided that, if anything went wrong, I would cry ignorance and say, "What's "tantric" mean, Daddy?"

Because life is just funnier that way. And if all else failed, I would be in a pew twenty feet away from him when the music started playing. He would be far enough away that no one would put us together in their memory of the event. And there are back exits, you know. And I wouldn't be far enough away that he couldn't see me.

Just far away to make it look like I wasn't laughing.

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