Friday, October 15, 2004

Dorks Unite!

This morning as I was getting dressed, I had a sudden urge to get out some of my old CDs that I hadn't listened to in years. I ended up playing They Might Be Giants albums and smiling happily at all the memories, the oh so dorky memories the songs brought back to me.

In high school I was not what you would call "cool". I wasn't a cheerleader, I wasn't athletic, I didn't drive an expensive car, I didn't get invited to the popular kids' parties. And yet if I could do it over again, I wouldn't change a single thing. I don't know many people who would say that high school was one of the happiest times of their lives, but for me it really was. We had an excellent honors program at my school and I loved learning. I liked being one of the smart kids. I was comfortable with who I was and felt very little pressure to measure up to some vague standard of coolness. I had lots of friends who liked me for me and not for what I wore (this is glaringly obvious when I look at photos from that time - yikes!) And I did what I enjoyed, regardless of what other people thought about it. I was an officer in the History Club, advertising manager of the yearbook, vice president of the French Club, and lead soprano in the school choir. I was busy, tired, and very fulfilled. I hope my kids have such a good time when they're that age.

So back to They Might Be Giants memories. My best friend Andrea and I were big fans and in eighth grade we even made clever music videos of the songs "Dinner Bell" and "Fingertips" from the Apollo 18 album (I sincerely hope that videotape never, ever falls into the wrong hands.) I identified with the quirky weirdness and the tongue-in-cheek intellectualism of their songs. Who wouldn't love a song that goes Blue canary in the outlet by the lightswitch who watches over you Make a little birdhouse in your soul Not to put too fine a point on it Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet Make a little birdhouse in your soul. I mean, come on people, that's just happy stuff! Let the nerds be happy!

I haven't kept up with TMBG since high school, and I recently learned that they released a children's album a few years ago entitled No! I am definitely buying it for my child. With songs called "Robot Parade" and "I'm Not Your Broom" it's got to be good. (I've always thought their songs had a silly quality that would make them appeal to kids, but the lyrics aren't always kid friendly, for example "I Palindrome I": Someday mother will die and I'll get the money / Mom leans down and says "My sentiments exactly, you son of a bitch.") I've seen firsthand how educational TMBG songs can be. They did a cover of a song from the 1950's called "Why Does The Sun Shine?" I remember my little sisters Tori and Tanne (then ages 8 and 3) finding the tape and listening to it over and over again. They both had every word memorized. It's pretty impressive to hear a 3 year old sing, "The sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace Where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees."

So I guess my whole point is, I'm glad I was a dork in high school, I'm glad I haven't lost that dorkiness, and I hope my kids are dorks too, if it makes them as happy as it's made me.


  1. Anonymous12:52 PM

    This is too funny as my husband had never heard anything by TMBGs and I made him listen to song after song after song last night, sure he had to know something, anything by them. He looked at me like what kind of freak did I marry. Glad I'm not the only one who likes them. :)


  2. I didn't really listen to TMBG but I was definitely a dork in high school. All the time while I was IN high school, I thought I hated it, but I really loved it. I realize that now and I rack my brain for how I can recreate that experience for my kids.

  3. Last night after our high school play was over the kids were stiking (tearing down) the set... the stuck in their BELOVED "retro" 80's CD and the theatre was filled with the Police, Culture Club, Thompson Twins, Cyndee Lauper, Bananarama and Blondie and so many fun others! The 35 kids had a black demolishing the set and claening up and I realized now, as a teacher, I am the dork QUEEN!!!!!

    Yea for dorks!!!!

  4. Haha, I can't listen to "Exquisite Dead Guy" without thinking of you and freshman year.

  5. This very morning I danced to New Order's Bizarre Love Triangle and laughed at how OLD I AM!!! It's good to know someone else was rocking out to a classic 80's band!!!


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