The rules of background music and Dr. Dre…

Wherever I have worked there has inevitably risen the question of background music in a common area. There are two camps…those who can work better with music in the background and those who can’t. I was apathetically mute on the subject for fear of offending someone. It’s amazing what workplace enemies are created over everyday comfort.

Truth is, if I can hear music playing I can’t ignore it. I am unable to tune it out.  I am compelled to play these games in my head, naming the song, the band, the musicians in the band, and the lyrics.  It doesn’t even have to be a real song. Right now there is a Halloween Snoopy solar powered bobblehead nodding in at 110 beats per minute. I know this because I watched the clock and counted. I couldn’t help it. It is close to matching the Target commercial jingle that I heard this morning on the news which is now stuck in my head. A little slower but close. AAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!

Anyway, I truly need to firm up the rules of background music. Truly. I was sitting at Scramblers, a restaurant specializing in eggs. (duh) I was a little early (as always, another compulsion) so I sat in the waiting area listening to the music playing a little louder than typical background. More of a party vibe at Scramblers. Something was bothering me…I thought “I know this song” but I couldn’t figure out what it was. The Beatles? No… it was a piano and strings rendition of something but I couldn’t place it. Then it hit me. It was “I Need a Doctor” by Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Skylar Grey. OMG. This is on my favorites playlist. I remember when they performed it on The Grammys …they cleaned it up but every so often a word was beeped out. The performance was electric. The audience of well dressed celebrities was enthusiastic even as Dr. Dre came out and verbally gave them all the middle finger. Somehow I found that verbal gesture appealing. How can “I Need a Doctor” be background music at Scramblers, a diner with chicken and country décor? I rested my head in my hands and waited (prayed) for it to mercifully end. I wanted to stand up and sing along, beeped words and all. I guess I missed my chance of being thrown out of Scramblers.

You went to Scramblers without me…

I looked around to see if anyone else noticed this mind-blowing occurrence. Everyone was devouring their eggs, pancakes and hashbrowns, staring at the person across from them while chewing, nodding occasionally as if to show empathy while really wishing they had more bacon. They didn’t even notice this cataclysmic breach of background music protocol.  When the song came to an end I shook my head, figuring it was just an aberration.

Do you remember the “Henry the Eighth” verse that says “second verse, same as the first”? Remember how I said I loved Harley Quinn and wanted to be her? Well, the song at the end of “Suicide Squad” is also on my playlist. It is “Heathens” by 21 Pilots, a band out of Ohio (yay!). Yes, the strings and piano tore into “Heathens”. Some of the lyrics are “all my friends are heathens, take it slow. Wait for them to ask you who you know. Please don’t make any sudden moves…” and you get the drift.  Although this translated to strings better because there was an actual melody, it’s pretty dark for background music. All I could do was think why, why?  It’s unknowable. I was torn between horror and wanting to buy the cd.

She’s on a rant again…

As the ever-energetic violinist slid into “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns and Roses (yep, another one on my playlist) my friend arrived. She didn’t seem as mortified as I was when I frantically told her of the complete disregard for the rules of background music.

What are the rules you ask? Let me enlighten you grasshopper…

Nothing without a melody. Nothing that is on my playlist. Nothing that Harley Quinn would like. Nothing more recent than 1970. Nothing that was originally rock, rap, or punk. Peter, Paul and Mary is OK. Nothing with lyrics that can’t be sung in front of children or innocent dogs. Finally, nothing that will make me feel old. Now how hard it that??

 The whole music thing is like the dog thing. If someone has or had a dog, they HAVE to pet any dog they see. I plead guilty—we went for about 6 years without a dog and I never passed up a chance to get dog hair on my pants. What is this urge to pet a strange dog? Can it be simply that we love dogs? Can it be that we need love even for a minute? Something to mull over, right?

Chester has been a busy boy, with lots of walks. Since it is getting dark earlier here, we had a great view of the full moon. Chester just stared at it and wouldn’t leave the deck to go potty. I had to go down the stairs with him.

Milo and Chester got into it yesterday when Chester bullied his way into the basement. I’ve been cleaning out the basement, removing dead stink bugs and such. There was quite a ruckus but nobody got hurt. It makes me wonder if they actually kind of like the excitement. Milo is a small cute kitty (picture below) but he was growling at Chester and not jumping up to the top of the cat tree. I think Chester may be in trouble.  

Chester better watch out!

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A classic overthinker trying to age gracefully while living with a big, too smart for his own good shelter pup who must have his daily walk.

4 thoughts on “The rules of background music and Dr. Dre…”

  1. So you’re telling us you are basically the Rain Man of Muzak. Oh yes, Dr. Dre, played at the awards show, 110 beats a minute…I’m an excellent driver, Chester, I get my underwear from K Mart. Actually, I relate. Put on background tunes and I immediately start to pay more attention to the song than what I am supposed to be doing. But your playlist is generations newer than mine which topped out with hot hits from the 70s but if you play any more Journey I’ll scream. Also, do you know John Mulaney’s comedy routine about “What’s New, Pussycat” played endlessly at the diner? If not, try this out, it’s topical: Oh, and Chester deserves to go to Scramblers.


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