The wait child neon light late night lights hurt

Today, I've been listening to a lot of things that I have very specific memories of from my college days. I'm old now, so I get to talk about my "college days." Treasure these moments.

I used to take the bus to my 8:30 German history class. The ride took 20 minutes or so, so a few times -- even though I'm about as far from being an early bird as you can get, while still being the kind of bird who gets the worm, if you know what I'm saying -- I don't even know what I'm saying -- anyway, a few times I took the shuttle that came at 7:50, just so I could sit outside the lecture hall and watch all the pretty journalism girls bounce from hallway conversation to hallway conversation while listening, in my cute little cd walkman, to the first seven tracks of the first Pretenders album -- right up through "Stop Your Sobbing" -- and then capping it off with "Brass In Pocket," that 1980 uber-hit, while I walked through the doors and through the aisles to my seat next to the girl I always sat next to. Her name was Margery, and she was a shiny Denver dime in a cable-knit coin purse, and once I even worked up the nerve to talk to her. I don't remember what I said, but I remember she laughed, and said something back and I laughed, and I said something back, and she laughed, and she said something back, and I laughed, and then I couldn't think of anything to say, and the conversation fizzled. And that was it. No more talking to Margery, not ever again, though we sat next to each other every day the entire semester. I'm not sure if it was force of habit, or active an active stalkerly impulse on my part, though I do know it spanned the entire landscape lecture hall, and I wasn't always the last one to sit down. Yeah, right, she was following me is more plausible.

So "Brass in Pocket," right? It's one of those songs that everybody my age knows, but nobody really knows that they know until they're told what it is, and then they know it forever.

But, amazingly, I don't think I ever really made the connection consciously, until right now, that while I was building an emotional monument out of a Margery, I was compulsively listening to a song that goes, "I've got to have some of your attention, give it to me."

Why didn't I make the connection, you ask?

In a word, Wolfsonizing. Have you ever heard of the French nonsense poem, "Un petit d'un petit"? It goes,

Un petit d'un petit
S'étonne aux Halles
Un petit d'un petit
Ah! degrés te fallent
Indolent qui ne sort cesse
Indolent qui ne se mène
Qu'importe un petit d'un petit
Tout Gai de Reguennes

Basically, it means, "A little of a little (no subject) astonishes itself at Halles." It's nonsense. In other words (literally in other words), it goes, humpty dumpty sat on a wall, humpty dumpty had a great fall.

What's the point? Well, I swear to you, I think Chrissy Hynde writes her lyrics in a cross between French and Japanese, and then listens to them with an English ear, and homophonically transliterates the words for her lyric sheets. "The Wait," as far as I can tell when I listen to it, contains not so much as a single word of English. I am quite sure that it's the work of one of those Japanese cover bands who figure out song-lyrics phonetically and then sing a sophisticated form of gibberish, without quite knowing it's wrong.

"I want a range rife." I'm pretty sure this guy actually sings, "out on my skateboard, the night is just funky," which is at least as good as the original. Thanks, Steve. You know how sometimes you sing a song really loud in your car while it's playing, and you really have no idea what the words are, but you really have no idea that you don't know the words because you know the sounds? I'm pretty sure that's how Chrissy Hynde feels all the time. In "Brass," there's that list -- "gon' use my arms, gon' use my legs, gon' use my style," and then I'm pretty sure the next thing she says she's going to use to make him notice is "my Sensei." And you know what? I'm all for karate in new wave dating. As Van Damme would put it, "you taught me to use the any technique that work. Never to limit myself to one style. To keep an open mind!"

"Brass in Pocket" has always rubbed me the wrong way a little bit, because I feel like such a fraud when I'm listening to it. It's so incredibly slinky. So much slinkier than I am. There's no way I could possibly get away with saying anything like this to anyone, let alone saying it like this, and let's just be honest with ourselves. Chrissy Hynde is not talking to me. Don't get cocky, she's not talking to you either. She's probably talking to Sufjan Stevens.

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