I learned a hard lesson at a very young age: Hard-earned money doesn’t always buy what you think it will.
My mother went every few months to have her “hair done” at The Naturally, located in a KC landmark, Hallmark Crown Center. While she was doing her thing (spending hours to look naturally curled and colored), my father, younger sister and I would walk around this unique shopping center, taking in the cute stores and special candy shops.
As a junior higher (and wannabe ‘cool kid who knows the latest music’ novice), I loved to go to the record store in the downstairs floor of Crown Center. Many times I would save my allowance to buy some music. And by ‘some music’ I mean, 45’s. $.99 each. It was rare I had enough money saved up for a full-fledged album, but occasionally I could score big and take home the latest KC Kasum tunes.
Such was the case one pivotal Saturday, somewhere in the late 70’s.
I found the perfect album. It had all the latest hits: Carwash, Afternoon Delight, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.
I was pumped!!
It was a great price, so I snatched it up.
I walked around Crown Center with my head held high. I was SO all that. I had it – the key to music coolness. I would be able to talk about the exact lyrics and probably even discuss some of the back history of some of the artists.
Waiting for Mom to get done with her hair seemed like forever. This record bag was burning at my side. I had vinyl to ingest. A needle to pick up time and time again as I wrote down every word of each song.
I had musical coolness to achieve.
The drive home seemed endless. If my sister, Anna-Margaret, even dared look in the general direction of my “you’re-not-in-junior-high-yet-you-just-wouldn’t-understand” bag of Top 40 hits, I glared her into head-turning-away submission.
Finally, we drove into our driveway.
I ran upstairs.
Ripping open my album and with the ever-so-cool slamming of my bedroom door, I sat cross-legged on the floor next to my record player and with careful fingers, not to smudge or scratch the black vinyl surface, I lifted the turn table arm and placed my album on the notch.
I sat back.
I could just imagine all the boys that would flock to my table at lunch, sensing that my coolness factor had just skyrocketed into a level that would surely carry me most of the way through high school. Musical knowledge reputations were key to homecoming dates and cheerleader gal pals. I was certain there would be a dance party at my house most Saturday nights. Word would get out. People would want to hear this album!
The record player arm shifted.
The record dropped into place.
The first song began to play……
Irwin the Disco Duck, to be exact.
No behind the scenes, insider information on Elton John, Rod Stewart, or Leo Sayer. Just a quacking duck rendition of The First Cut is the Deepest.
A hard lesson to learn: Not everything is as it seems.
Sometimes, cool song titles plastered all over the front of an album – an album sold at a suspiciously reduced rate – amounts to merely a duck, rocking it out with the slightly lesser known Wibble Wabble Singers.
I still blush in embarrassment when any of these songs cross my iPod shuffle.
(And mentally, I quack just a little of the chorus.)