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Humor January 2017

Gray Matter

Help Me! I Think I’m Cursed

By Jody Lebel

I’m pretty sure there’s no cure for this disorder, so in desperation I’m starting a foundation, PSHU, to raise money to look into whatever it is that causes a sane person during a breast exam to chirp out Madonna’s infamous song lines “Like a virgin. Touched for the very first time.”

I believe I’m suffering from musica-nervosa. Is there such a thing? Or maybe it’s musical dementia. Is that catching? Can it be passed on to somebody? I think it can because I’m sure my husband had it, and now I’ve got it. Listen, everyone on God’s green earth likes to sing. I like to sing. I mean not on stage or anything. That would be too easy. Normal people sing at karaoke, or in the shower, or in the car. And they know they’re doing it. Me? I sing everywhere. And I’m oblivious.

You know how you drive along and you start thinking about something, and it could be anything – well, anything but driving along – and all of a sudden you’re at your street and you don’t remember really getting there? That’s what I do, only with me it’s singing. I’m spectacularly random about it. There’s no pattern or rhyme or reason. There isn’t even a warning.

I married a man who sang like that. At first it was kind of amusing, almost endearing. For example we’d be on a crowded elevator and by the 10th floor it would dawn on him that he had been singing, “I want to dance with somebody” by Whitney Houston, and that he had been singing it from the moment the elevator door closed on the first floor. I would giggle (new brides giggle), fix him with moony eyes, and say sweetly, “Honey, you’re singing again.” He had been at the part that goes “Ooooo, I want to feel the heat with somebody” when he let it peter out. I would wrinkle my nose at him and smile and give him a little hug. He was just so darn cute.

After a few years it wasn’t so darn cute anymore. I pretty much stopped the nose wrinkling and the smiling altogether. One weekend we attended a wedding ceremony at a beautiful church with old, hard wooden pews, and gorgeous stained glass windows. The priest was droning on and on and I remember thinking about how numb my butt was when all of a sudden my husband blurted out Meat Loaf’s “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.” After suffering a withering stare from the groom’s mother, I squeezed my sweetie’s hand until I heard his bones crack. He quickly made the sign of the cross with his good hand, and starting mumbling “Let us pray.”

When my daughter was a teenager, but not yet old enough to get a license, we used to drive her to the mall on Saturdays. This was an embarrassment for her because our car was rather old and junky and she would slink low in her seat in case we raced by any of her friends. On the drive there I remember zoning out, thinking “hmmph, when I was your age we had to walk to the store. We didn’t even have malls” when suddenly I was roused out of my thoughts by an exaggerated groan from the back seat. My husband had been singing “She’s a freak, she’s super freak-aaay” by James Rick. It was about that time that I began to use the slitty-eyed look of death on him.

This went on the whole time we were married and never stopped. Never even eased up.

One time in our senior years we attended a charity fashion show put on by one of my friends. Halfway through the runway part he began to belt out “Who let the dogs out? Woof, woof, woof-woof.” Irritated, I gave him a sharp elbow jab that left a black and blue bruise, and growled “stop it” through clenched teeth.

Two years before he died I remember a conversation in our living room that went something like this:

ME: Stop that horrendous racket this very minute.

HIM: What racket?

ME: That relentless singing.

HIM: Was I singing?

ME: (My right eye began to tic.) I distinctly heard “Cuz every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man.”

HIM: That’s ZZ Top.

ME: I know who it is.

HIM: I don’t think I was singing ZZ Top.

ME: Yes, you were!

HIM: I was just clearing my sinuses. Maybe it sounded like ZZ Top.

ME: You weren’t clearing your sinuses.

HIM: (Gawd-awful nose honking sounds) There, I’m fine.

ME: Just shoot me now.

My husband passed away. It was sudden and without pain, and I was thankful for that part of it. I let the choir sing his favorite songs at his funeral but even so I think he cursed me with his malady. Now, to my chagrin, I find myself blurting out songs everywhere. You’re probably thinking that’s not so bad; there are worse things in life to bear. Well, let me tell you it’s quite humiliating. You try going to the grocery store and singing to the bag boy, who is too young to have even heard of Bruce Springsteen, “Baby we were born to run.”

Last week at the car dealership the mechanic was going over a long expensive list of what needed to be done when all of a sudden he stopped and stared wide-eyed at me. I realized I had been singing Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s get physical, physical. I wanna get physical. Let me hear your body talk.” I was so mortified I sent a neighbor to pick up my car.

I’m pretty sure there’s no cure for this disorder, so in desperation I’m starting a foundation, PSHU, to raise money to look into whatever it is that causes a sane person during a breast exam to chirp out Madonna’s infamous song lines “Like a virgin. Touched for the very first time.”

You may send your tax-deductible contribution to: Please Shut the Hell Up, in memory of my dear departed husband.

 

To balance out her dark days as a criminal court reporter, Jody Lebel writes romantic suspense novels and humorous short stories.

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