One would think that half the blood coursing through my sons’ veins – a blood suffused with a love for music ranging from U2 and Led Zeppelin to Elvis Costello and The Clash, along with a deep-seated loathing for all things Country music – would at the very least give my sons the strength to resist the guitar’s twang and the lyric’s longing to bring the girl back (along with the singer’s pickup truck). The young mind is a mercurial thing. Getting my sons to see the logic behind the need to take a bath/shower on a regular basis (read more often than once in a lunar cycle) is apparently on par with astrophysics, but getting them to like a musical genre that sounds like a cat undergoing a wax treatment and the singer is actually singing about it is like breathing or picking their noses.
The little minx (that’s what I’ve taken to calling my wife) has extended her evil to the kids in carpool. How do I know this? One morning, I was filling in on carpool and the youngest of the group squeaked from the backseat, “Grant, can we listen to _________?” (I don’t even dare mention the name of the band.) Before I could steer this youngster right by lying to him (the only proper thing to do in the face of this miscarriage of musical justice) that my radio didn’t receive Country stations, my oldest son reached over and slid in the CD in question and selected number 13. Now my own children are complicit in this crime! I’m not sure how to broach this subject with the carpool parents.
I can assure you I’m not taking this lying down – it would make the driving all the more difficult. The only way to fight this cancerous cacophony of Country is head on. Whenever I have the boys with me in the car, I’m flying around the radio dial in search of examples to which I can both expose them and teach them to recognize what they should appreciate in good music. The opening to “When the Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin, the mesmerizing stylized guitar in “How Soon is Now” by The Smiths, the angst-filled lyrics of “Baba O’Riley” by The Who, and the passion of “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop – these are just a few of the arrows with which I am hoping to fill their quivers against this insidious foe coyly masqueraded as Good Old Boys just having a good time. However, the ranks of the opposition are filling, and I think I’m fighting a losing battle.
In many ways, it feels like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Good, close friends of mine – friends with whom I’ve rocked out to White Stripes – have declared to me that they like, say, Garth Brooks or Toby Keith (it hurts just to write that). And they say it like it’s the most natural thing in the world! I don’t dare challenge them on this for fear they’ll let out that blood-curdling scream and expose me for one who is not like them. I’m not sure if my wife is one of them or if she’s just independently evil. Either way, it’s clear I don’t stand a chance – she spends way more time with my sons doing things like teaching them to say their prayers, helping them with their homework, baking them cookies, etc. It’s absolutely shameless the depths to which she will go!