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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Plastic Spoon

I really enjoy music. I couldn't possibly name a single type of music that's my favorite, because my taste tends to be quite varied. Depending on my mood, I might be listening to music ranging from opera to pop to old movie music to classic rock to indigenous music to classical to who knows what. No, I don't like everything. For example, I don't know any songs by Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus, and aside from a stray song here or there, I am not a huge fan of country music. Sorry, y'all. Music can do amazing things, things I wish I could accomplish with mere written words. The melodies can evoke all ranges of emotions, and when lyrics are added, if they are added, they refine and describe these moods or experiences.

It isn't uncommon for me to have times when there's a soundtrack playing in my head. I think it happens to many of us. Most of the time it's a nice background to whatever I am doing at the time. Of course, there are other times when it's pure torture. I'm sure you've experienced it - you're watching the tv and an ad comes on with a song that is really inane or just something you hate. You reach for the remote to mute the tv, but it's too late. The damage has been done. Even though you hate the song, you'll keep hearing about how they dialed "### cash now," or some other equally annoying ditty. Don't worry, eventually those scary songs will move on so that your mind can enjoy another soundtrack.

The other day, I was doing some things in the kitchen and my mind kept hearing one of my all-time favorite song lines. The song is called Substitute, and was written by Pete Townshend of The Who and released as a single in early 1966. The line that I think is so brilliant? "I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth." Of course it isn't that fabulous unless you know the saying that it is in direct contrast to. For many years, the phrase, "he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth" has referred to someone being born into a family of wealth and privilege. The implication is that they are so rich or fancy that not only do they dine on the finest foods, but they eat their everyday meals with utensils that most people either can't afford, or only use on special occasions. To take it a step further, they can afford to feed foods that get in every crevice on a silver spoon to a baby. After all, there's a maid to polish it up afterward. So the song, in this and other lyrics, is about being born into a life that is far from privileged. The character who sings this line wasn't raised with maids and fancy cutlery and china. They probably grew up in a cold-water flat. Yes, they had running water. But if they wanted it to be hot, they had to boil some on the stove.

So when I was hearing this song line while I was preparing dinner recently, I suddenly burst out laughing. I was hearing the line and started thinking about it, when something just struck me as hysterically funny. My mental answer to the line was, "You must have been rich compared to my family! We didn't have any spoons you just threw away after you ate, we had to wash ours!" I started to think about my Mama and her practicality. When there's very little money to be had, there's none to be wasted. I can almost hear her saying, "A plastic spoon!? In this house, we don't throw things away after we use them! People who throw things away after they use them are just lazy. What a waste of money!" Maybe that's why I don't throw the spoon away when we go out occasionally for frozen yogurt. I bring it home, wash it, and use it again at home when I eat yogurt or ice cream. Or reuse it when I pack a lunch for those long days at the hospital when Trent has more than one appointment. I guess even when your Mama is long gone, you can still hear her yelling in your head. But at least it drowns out the sound of those horrible commercials!