Most people at my job use an iPod or an mp3 player to help ward off the boredom, the deep, deep boredom. The company not only allows this, but encourages it. Many of the duties, especially on the production floor, are repetitive, and iPods help ease the pain.
I, of course, have my Nano all charged-up and loaded every day. I listen to music sometimes, but it’s mostly talk stuff. Like old time radio programs (Suspense, Gunsmoke, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar), Phil Hendrie, Clive Bull, vintage Jean Shepherd, audiobooks (Seth Godin, mostly)…
I love music, of course, but it doesn’t really do it for me at work. I don’t know why.
When I first started working there a manager was trying to reach me on a walkie-talkie. I’d stepped away from my desk for a couple of minutes, and forgot to take the squawk box with me. I guess he was hollering my name into it repeatedly, and getting no answer.
Frustrated, he stormed over to my desk, and found me sitting there with my iPod plugged into my skull. And he flew off the handle, believing I hadn’t heard him because I was blasting Pantera or somesuch. He “asked” me not to listen to music anymore.
My heart sank. I love those old programs. As pathetic as it might seem, they’re often the highlight of my day. So, I told him I’d been in the shitter when he paged me (pisser, to be more precise), and my iPod wasn’t going anywhere.
This led to one of those awkward moments when both parties stare at each other, waiting for the other to make the first move. He finally broke, and said, “Answer me when I call!” and stormed away.
So, my iPod is VERY important to me. I resisted them for many years, but now own two, and cling to both like a life preserver. Especially the Nano I take to work. Sweet sainted mother of Bobby Buntrock!
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago… A woman who sits in a cubicle near my desk has broken protocol, and started bringing a freaking boombox to work with her. Everybody else is using mp3 players, and she’s playing stuff out in the open air.
It starts with the volume turned down, and not overly obnoxious. But it gets louder as the night drags on. I think she gooses it a bit, every hour or so. And I’m not joking, she has a CD that MUST be called “The Worst Songs of the Modern Era.” I haven’t seen the jewel box, but know the title anyway.
This thing features (I kid you not) “We Built This City,” by Starship, which is possibly the shittiest song in the history of our planet…
I worked at a grocery store in Greensboro (right after I left this joint) when that crap was inexplicably popular, and played over the loudspeaker roughly twenty times per shift. My entire body would go rigid whenever it came on again, and my sphincter would turn to stone. Nothing has changed during the ensuing twenty years…
Her collection of horrible music also includes an old Mr. Mister tune (something to do with wings), an anal acorn by Billy Joel called “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” and at least two songs by (are you ready?) Toto.
It’s almost unbelievable. It’s as if Satan made a mix-tape.
And it only gets worse, the longer it plays… Eventually that Whitney Houston song comes on. You know, the one Dolly Parton wrote, and sounds like a fire alarm going off? Every time it comes around again, I almost instinctively drop to the floor and start crawling toward the light.
After the wailing finally ends, “Believe” by Cher starts playing, and I actually get nostalgic for Mr. Mister. That’s the one where they run her voice through some kind of distortion program, and it sounds like the PA system at Home Depot. The annoying melody repeats in my head until I seriously contemplate catching the first flight to southern California, locating a forest fire, and walking straight into the flames.
I’ve “asked” the woman to turn down the volume on her Box of Terrible several times, and she always complies. But why should I have to do it every night? Every freaking night?
Anyway. I said I wasn’t going to write again until Monday, but didn’t want to leave an update about unspeakable tragedy flapping in the breeze (although you guys provided some amazing stories!).
So, let’s talk about something a little more enjoyable: bad music that was popular. What tunes should be included on Volume 2 of “The Worst Songs of the Modern Era?” Use the comments link below.
And I’ll see you folks on Monday afternoon, or maybe Tuesday.
Have a great weekend!