Uncanned Laughter

I’m about to go back, way back, to the ’60s. Yup. Today’s prompt is to report on some wrongly remembered song lyric or cream pie in the face moment that was funny. I am the youngest of three siblings, with an older brother and an older sister. When the tv shows Hullabaloo and Shindig were on, my sister was away at boarding school and missed all the dance lessons one could acquire by assiduously watching the go-go dancers or the people in the audience. My brother was too involved in his own academics to watch these shows either. I, on the other hand, found the time with no difficulty, and I learned a number of fancy moves. (Or so I thought.)

When we went on our annual vacation to an old summer camp my grandfather had bought, there was not a lot of entertainment to be had for wild teenagers who yearned to be hippies. We had an old radio that could pull in New York City radio stations from 400 miles away, but only after about 8 p.m. So we would wait on tenterhooks for the rock ‘n’ roll to come in, playing rapid cutthroat card games from the end of dinner to the beginning of the music. When the music finally came in, the cards were left strewn on the dining room table as we all decamped to the living room and the old radio.

One night, I began to dance to the music. My sister watched for a while and then got up to try what I was doing. She made a reasonable first effort, and I moved parallel to her so she could copy what I was doing. Then my brother, who was loudly singing, “In the garden of Eden, baby, don’t ya know that I love ya,” jumped up and wanted to learn. Unfortunately, I had collapsed laughing on the couch when I heard what he was singing.

“What? What?” he asked. I left it to my sister to explain that we had the album at home and the words were not the garden of Eden. My brother was furious. He made it quite clear that he did not like having his leg pulled. But we both insisted, and finally, when my Mom wasn’t watching, he grabbed the phone and called NYC. He couldn’t get to the DJ but he got to his producer, and he was red in the face as the words “In a Gadda da Vida” (or however it is spelled) were in fact spelled for him.

We laughed, since we had all heard very interesting guesses at lyrics before. My brother decided he still wanted to learn to dance, and so we worked for an hour or more, and at the end, my brother and sister could do a reasonable version of the skate. Younger folks will get what I’m talking about when I say Axl Rose was doing the skate as he sang “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” Even younger folks may have to ask their parents about that.

2 thoughts on “Uncanned Laughter

  1. Hobbie DeHoy

    So I myself don’t have the cool smart phone app that can “hear” the music and take you straight to the lyrics, but my husband has it. I’m guessing these kinds of arguments are short-lived these days, because finding lyrics is one of the joys of internet searching. However, your brother calling the DJ makes a much better story!

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