My friend Steven Christopher Wallace texted me today to tell me he had finally watched one of my favorite movies, “To Live and Die in L.A.” which he had never seen before due to extreme procrastination. The conversation brought on one of my childhood flashbacks. I remember in perhaps 1986, as a wide eyed, jean jacket wearing, mirror tinted sunglasses sporting, prepubescent 80’s kid, that one of the only times I ever bonded with my stepdad was one afternoon we sat on the couch and watched “To Live and Die in LA” in its entirety followed by a basketball game(the Chicago Bulls vs. someone.) It is one of the few memories I have of being a child where there was not some sort of anxiety or childhood trauma involved. And I use the word “trauma” loosely as in from the perspective of a child. Getting grounded no TV for a week for sneaking your football back from the 3rd grade teacher who unjustly took it from you…or having to sleep with the lights out with a talking Pee Wee Herman doll visible in your room is traumatic to a kid.
Speaking of the 80’s, whenever I hear popular 80’s songs I am reminded of how I comically misheard the lyrics to many of them:
Take for example the chorus of Madonna’s “Material Girl” which I heard many times being dragged shopping with my Dynasty era, diet pepsi drinking 80’s mom. Waiting hours and hours while my mother spent ungodly amounts of time browsing and trying on shoulder padded clothing and pantyhose at fashionation (a hip 80’s clothing store not to be confused with the porno boutique chain “fascinations”)
“everybody’s living in a material world, and i am a material girl”
is how it went, but I mistook the lyrics for:
“cause everybody’s living in a cereal world, and I am in a cereal bowl”
And I REALLY thought those were the words to the song.
another fine example was how I thought the song “The Heat is On” was really “Peter’s Uncle” (I had a friend named Peter, though why someone would be writing a song about his uncle and it subsequently playing on nationally syndicated radio was outside the bb gun scope of my logic at the time)
I still remember the disappointment while riding in a truck when I told my own uncle how “I really like that song that just played, “Peter’s Uncle” only to have him get briefly confused, laugh and then tell me “that’s not Peter’s Uncle” it’s “The Heat is on.”
And so it is. In the real world of material girls, here I am a serial boy, in a cereal bowl, living in a cereal world…kind of explains a lot. I’ve often wondered if I was perhaps the ONLY person out of the millions who heard these songs to interpret the lyrics in this fashion.