Lame that tune

I’m back from the beach, where my husband and I enjoyed a few days with some long-time friends. We came home with sand in our shoes, color on our cheeks, some soft ice cream stains and a terrific new game.

Our friends made up this game, which was great fun. I encourage you to play it, but one of the creators is a prominent intellectual property lawyer, so you’d best not steal the idea.

The homespun dinner table game offers the best in musical entertainment, laughter and profound humiliation.

Each person staying in the house was asked to bring his or her MP3 player to the table and hand it over to the leader. We had 10 players. One by one, each person’s song list was set on Shuffle and three songs were played—at random; for the benefit of the Podless, that’s what “shuffle” means.

I believe, anthropologically speaking, that our iPods are telling relics, revealing much about our true selves. And admit it, don’t we all have one or two songs in our libraries that we’d rather not have anyone discover?

Well, that’s the point of the game, and somehow the Shuffle function can bore right through to that one song that reveals to your loved ones—and the fellow dinner guests you’ve just met—your inner pathetic dweeb.

So here’s how it works. The first player, who happened to be I the other night, surrenders her iPod to the leader, who pops it into the speaker system. When a song comes on, the rest of the group gives it a thumbs up, thumbs down or some sort of gesture that in essence means, make it stop—now. It’s a little like Pandora Radio. We all decided that the make-it-stop option should be limited to three per voter, as some people are natural-born critics.

My first song was a little lame. It was Chris Isaak’s version of Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man.” As uncoolness goes, I’d hoped Chris Isaak and Neil Diamond would cancel each other out. Turns out, in a group where half the members were over 50 and the other half under 27, I wasn’t so lucky. Thumbs down. Shuffle stopped at my second song, Heart’s “Crazy on You,” which nearly everyone agreed is one of the best songs ever. Saved. Number three killed me. It was Ray Stevens’ “The Streak.”*  ‘Nuf said. (Don’t look, Ethel!)

A few other players were almost as exposed and embarrassed. The hostess blushed as her device found “I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The group agreed that my husband took the prize with Claudine Longet’s “Lazy Summer Night.” Who remembers Claudine Longet? The elder half of our group remembered Ms. Longet–her having been married to Andy Williams and having been convicted of fatally shooting her Olympic skier boyfriend and having been with the family at Robert Kennedy’s assassination and funeral.

The younger half of the table was busy banging out a drum chorus of “Make it stop.”

Try the game at your next dinner party and let me know how it goes.

*In the meantime, who’s old enough remember “The Streak?” Who’d like to hear a real life story about 1973’s fleeting pastime?


Filed under Family and Friends, Foibles and Faux Pas, Movies, Television and Radio, Music, Sports and Recreation, Travel

8 responses to “Lame that tune

  1. Sheree

    I REMEMBER THE STREAK! My prom was streaked, my first frat party too! And Heart’s “Crazy on You”… a classic! Agreed, one of the best songs ever written. Off to learn how to work my ‘smart phone’ just so I can play this game!!!

  2. I remember ‘The Streak’. But I must admit I haven’t thought about that song in a very long time. I was in high school when streaking became a national pastime. I remember my best friend and I got these t-shirts that said ‘I am a streaker seeker’ and thought they were hilarious! Needless to say we were not allowed to wear them to school, but we did wear them everywhere else!

  3. Marty Welch

    Yes Yes Yes…I am a Claudine fan. Always have been and probably will be forever. In spite of the abuse, the iPod game is a hoot.

  4. Jo Turner

    I can foresee many opportunities for humiliation and look forward to trying this. (You can probably loop a lot of Ray Stevens tunes into embarrassing stories, but let’s hear your Streak tale!)
    We had a similar experience when we were trying to trim down our vinyl collection a couple years ago, many of which were artifacts of our teen years; some appalling memories came out of this chore. I refused to trash my “George Maharis Sings” album, which is terrible, but recalled my adolescent crushes on the stars of the Route 66 tv show.
    Music is indeed the window to our souls, past and present!

  5. Marty Welch

    Jo…I love vinyl. I actually have a Charles Manson album.

  6. Polly

    This sounds like a great game, and since it is shuffle it can be played endlessly. Full disclosure — I buy albums, not just singles. So when Buster Poindexter comes on you are free to ignore all songs that aren’t “Hit the Road Jack”.

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