We knew of racism and something or other about the Civil War from our Social Studies book. The actual content of the lyrics proved irrelevant. Or that if there was anything Michael Jackson didn’t have to worry about it was being ignored. We were fledgling intellectuals hyped up on sucrose. This made complete sense.
More so than Alan Trammell or Lou Whitaker or even the now-retired and mustachioed Tom Brookens (my own favorite Tiger player), more so than any other Tiger player, Mickey Tettleton had become our favorite emulation on the whiffleball court. In real life, Mickey Tettleton was one of the early adopters of the philosophy of three possible outcomes: walk, strikeout or home run. True to form, our emulations, so awkward and overproduced, also resulted in three similar but distinct possible outcomes: pain, humor or frustration, but almost never victory.
It began innocently. These things often do. A Zenith turntable/8-track/cassette combo player rescued from my grandmother’s house in Wisconsin as we sorted through valuables and priceless non-valuables before the estate auction. I took a few of those records (leaving the crate of worn Roger Whitakers), a box full of 8-tracks and her guitar, a guitar that had always just been a piece of furniture. It wasn’t until after she died that I considered the significance of that guitar. Though other tchotchkes collected dust the guitar never did. Unfortunately these things often wait too long. Now that guitar sits, propped up against my own bookshelves and I still can’t help but wonder: What was her connection to music? And then, inevitably: What is my connection to music?
The date was ingrained in our heads. April 23rd, 1985. That was what they’d told us. We had to wait until the 25th – the day our truck made the delivery.
It was red and white and waxed up just for the occasion. When it turned into the driveway we abandoned our back-porch lookout, littered with empty Dr. Pepper cans and Cheetos, and ran outside to mount our pedaled steeds.
Music and movies have always been colored tabs on manila folders containing collections of moments and memories. Music recalls mental states better than any specific memory. I was listening to the Beastie Boys’ The In Sound From Way Out! when I misunderstood a three-way stop and crumpled the bumper on …