Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hey There, Delilah, What's It Like On That Planet You're From?

Could anybody tell I was having a bad day yesterday? I mean, it's not like I ranted about anything.

No, the holidays are not Cranky's favorite time of year. Add to that all the brouhaha about the economy, and the bailouts, and the huge mistake I made of reading the local paper's editorial section on a day that was already a little blue, and there you go. Ainsley's right; I have been mean, and perhaps I should think about changing that.

After I posted the GM and UAW rant last night, I got out of Dodge (har) for a little bit. I needed to be alone. I needed to get out by myself, listen to Delilah, maybe have a little cry, and get some items necessary for baking a coffee cake for the kid's teachers' holiday breakfast Friday.

I've written before about the embarrassing fact that I am a closet Delilah listener. There are worse skeletons I could be hiding, but not by much.

So there I was, sad, stressed, contemplative, getting out in my car all by myself in the rain. I turned to Delilah for a cheap bit of sentimentality sure to bring on a good cry to get everything out of my system and make me a better person for a few days.

I didn't count on the giggle fit that ensued.

One of my favorite things on the Delilah show is when she completely mismatches, in my opinion, the song to the moment. I'll be listening to the caller's sad story, and have in my mind a half dozen "good" ballady pop songs that could fit, but then she'll trot something like "Young Turks" out and make me go, "WTF?"

Last night a woman called in who has five children ranging in ages from 2 to 11 with number 6 on the way right after Christmas (yikes.) The woman was calling to give a shout-out to her patient Super-hubby, who was helping her chase the kids already there and dealing with her fatigue and mood swings from the kid yet to be and generally being a prince of a guy who was making the whole motherhood thing bearable for her. Of course, D told her she would find "the perfect song."

Well, I could think of quite a few. There's "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion. The similarly-titled but not as similarly-sounding-as-you-might-think "Because You Love Me" by Jo Dee Messina. You could do old-school with "Stand By Me." Or go over-the-top with Mariah Carey's "Hero." I mean, those are just the "thank you for being there during the most difficult time of my life" songs that occurred to me in the 10 seconds before the actual chosen song started playing.

It started out promising. A new Faith Hill song called "A Baby Changes Everything." Ah, just like the Johnson and Johnson commercials! Sweet! Maybe not perfectly perfect since this is baby number 6 for this woman, but kinda perfect. Surely it mentions the baby daddy's role since the point of the woman's call is to give props to her hero hubby. Cue Faith Hill's soaring voice. What could possibly be wrong?


The lyrics start out talking about a teenage girl, no ring on her hand, lost and alone and in a certain predicament, all her dreams and plans dashed by an unexpected event, deciding she needs to run far, far, away.


So, um...a teenage pregnancy-runaway song for a mature woman who has been a mom for nearly a dozen years now? Really?

I listened carefully. Maybe it would be one of those songs where the same chorus is used in a couple of different contexts as a couple or a person gets older. You know, like "Butterfly Kisses" (which starts out with a dad getting butterfly kisses from his sweet little girl and then ends with him getting butterfly kisses as he's walking her down the aisle) or the tearjerker "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye?" (where a mom helps her little girl say good bye to her best friend when she moves away, then helps her say goodbye to her husband after they separate, then finally helps her say goodbye as the mom herself wastes away in a hospital bed.) I don't know why these types of songs get me, but they do. They use every cheap tearjerker cliche in the book, but it works. So I was waiting for the cleansing tears.

But then I realized the song is really about (wait for it)...

Mary. Yes, that most famous of surprised teenage mothers.

Delilah played a nativity song that also serves as a message about unwed teenage mothers, a Christmas song in which Joseph plays no real role, to honor this woman's helpful husband. Are you kidding me?

About halfway in I got the giggles. And the giggles soon became belly-shaking laughs. And then I did end up crying, but only because I was trying to hold the giggles in so I could run into the grocery store without looking like a loon, and when I try to not laugh I end up getting so tickled that I cry.

Gosh, I needed that.

With the next song I realized that Delilah is just doing Christmas songs now in honor of the season, so I forgave her a little bit. I don't know what she could have picked there that could have worked ("I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas"?) for a pregnant woman and her husband.

But surely...surely there is something else.

Later she played "What Child Is This?" for a woman whose 19-year-old daughter, the baby of the family, is about to leave the nest and move into her own apartment, so she redeemed herself with that oddly poignant choice.

If you're interested in hearing the Faith Hill song, click here. You probably won't find it as amusing as I did because you are a normal human not two hairs away from a nervous breakdown like I was last night. But if you are amused/overjoyed by overdone Christmas ballads ("The Christmas Shoes", "Mary, Did You Know?", etc.) this will be right up your alley.

And weigh in on this one: Is there another Christmas song that would have worked better for this not-long-distance dedication? Or am I judging the D too harshly?

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