The Lyrically Challenged

I don’t know the lyrics to half the songs that get stuck in my head and even when I do know them, I find myself singing them incorrectly.

While I am in fact cognizant that it is not “wrapped up like a douche” but “revved up like a deuce,” I am still inclined to sing the former. This goes double for “I don’t wanna work. I wanna bang honky girls all day.” Again, I know that Mr. Rundgren was not composing an upbeat little ditty about vigorous intimate relations with young Caucausian females; but ever since a seventh grade friend confided the misheard lyric to me, I’ve preferred it to the real one. Banging honky girls? Fun! Banging on the drums? Booooo-ring.

But now with an infant, this whole wrong-lyric business has evolved into another beast entirely. I cannot belt out a single melody any more without perverting the lyrics into something twisted and horrible. It’s like a disease. Weird Al Disease.

I place the blame squarely on my daughter and her developmentally-appropriate lack of verbal skills. When your kid can’t yet talk back, the one-way dialogue can get tedious pretty quickly. So I do what I’m sure (I hope) other parents do–put my every thought to music. Mercilessly. Tunelessly. With no regard for rhyme, cadence, or syncopation. And certainly not for my own self-respect.

Real lyric: Psycho killer, qu’est-ce que c’est…fa fa fa faaaaa fa fafafa faaaa fa
My lyric: Pears and oatmeal, q’uest-ce que c’est…yum yum yum yuuuum yum

Real lyric: M-m-m-my Sharonah
My lyric: M-m-m-my pajamas

Real lyric: It’s my life…it’s now or never. I ain’t gonna live forever. I just want to live while I’m aliiiiiive.
My lyric: It’s your hat…it’s now or never. You ain’t gonna wear it forever. I’ll just put it on you ’cause it’s coooooold.

Sometimes I throw the cadence out the window entirely–I have an uncanny ability to fit six or seven syllables where only one should be.

Real lyric: Doctor doctor, give me the news I’ve got a bad case of loving you.
My lyric: Doctor doctor, give me the news I’ve got a bad case of chewing on the cell phone.

Real lyric: I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly- HIGH!
My lyric: I’m gonna change your diaper, I’m gonna put some Aquaphor on your butt right now- NOW!

Once in a while I manage to preserve the original rhyme and cadence. These are my masterpieces, but they’re few and far between.

Real lyric: What becomes of the broooooken-hearted…
My lyric: Can you smell that your daaaaaaddy farted…

And sometimes I’m so dedicated to preserving the rhyme, I will la la la the bulk of the lyrics until I can get back to a good place (good being a relative term).

Real lyric: Cheer up sleepy Jean oh what can it mean…to a daydream believer and a homecoming queeeeeeen.
My lyric
: Please please go to sleeeep oh please go to sleep…I am tired la la la la la la la la la la sheeeeeep.

Oh forgive me, Davey Jones.

I wonder at what age to I need to start worrying about this melodic misinformation I’m imparting to my daughter. Will she acquire my disease, and will it adversely affect her? Will there be a day that she come home crying from preschool, having been called out by the lyric gestapo on her rendition of the Hokey Pokey? Will a pedantic teacher dampen her fun by admonishing, “it’s not the itsy bitsy spider ate his alfalfa sprouts“?

Or maybe, if there is a God, she will be rewarded for her innovation. I can only hope that one day, some caring young music teacher will sit down next to her on the floor after class, put his arm around her and say, “Let me tell you about a guy called Weird Al….”

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