WARNING: If you are easily shocked, this might not be the best post for you. Run along now, shoo.
The raisons d’etre for this blog post are a little obscure, so I’ll give a little context in three parts.
1) The other day, whilst driving across town with a fussier-than-usual Seabass in tow, I turned on the radio and hit upon an old favorite, Led Zeppelin’s “The Lemon Song.” As Seabass grew more and more fussy, I turned the volume dial up and up and up until it drowned him out. (This is often the only way I can get Seabass to relax in the car for any drive that exceeds 10 minutes in length.) Finally, he stopped whining and stared out the window. As we drove with “The Lemon Song” thumping, I started to pay attention to the lyrics:
Squeeze me, babe, ’till the juice runs down my leg
Squeeze me, baby, until the juice runs down my leg
The way you squeeze my lemon, ah
I’m gonna fall right outta bed, ‘ed, ‘ed, bed, yeah
As Robert Plant howled and moaned these words, I shot a nervous glance back in the rear-view mirror at Seabass. Does he understand? Does he sense the innuendo? Unnerving.
2) I was preparing dinner in the kitchen last night with the local college radio station on in the background when Seabass ran in from his bedroom and started “dancing” (bobbing, shaking, lurching) to the beat.
“Do you like this song, baby?” I laughed, putting my knife down and starting to dance with him. I went to turn the music up and realized it was a song I used to sing karaoke to in college: Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine.”
3) Like every Wednesday, we attended the kids’ music hour this morning at my old workplace, Boo Boo Records. If you’ve ever been inside, you know that it’s packed to the gills with old concert memorobilia, record covers, and music posters. I’ve stared at the walls for years and somehow missed a giant LP called “Butt Candy” by The Sidekicks until this morning. I noticed it sometime between singing “The Wheels on the Bus” and “I’m A Little Teapot.”
Part of me wants to grab Seabass and run away from this stuff. I mean, it’s completely inappropriate to talk lemon-squeezing, cocaine-snorting and butt candy at his age…or any other, really. And I can already see his little wheels turning, trying to sort life out. It makes me want to vacuum-pack him to preserve his sweet innocence for as long as possible.
But there’s another part of me that loves Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin so much (um, I could do without the Butt Candy, though) that I want Seabass to enjoy dancing to their infectious rhythms no matter what the words say. They are, after all, our rock and roll heritage! And it’s not my fault that they put dirty words to face-melting solos and tasty licks.
I always appreciated that, even though my parents were born-again Christians, they never stopped rocking to good music. (Mom and Dad met in a rock band in the 70s, so it’s in my blood.) My brother and I grew up with Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Eagles – even Cheech and Chong – and have not only lived to tell about it, but have become respectable members of society…with excellent taste in music, I might add.
Enough outta me – what do you think? Sterilize your kids’ upbringing to preserve their innocence or give them a comprehensive cultural education and run the risk of exposing them to something disturbing along the way?