Friday, December 15, 2006

Stating the obvious.

Today, I gave a carless soldier a lift into town. My CD changer was in random mode and one of the CDs that was getting extra play was Robbie Williams' "The Ego Has Landed." I know that Robbie ain't all that in the states but when I lived abroad he was *the shit* (TM) and I associate his music with good times fueled by a lot of scotch. Brilliant his music may not be, but oh my, is it fun.

As one song finished, the soldier -- all of 19 years old -- asked me with a scowl, "Who is this on the radio?" I should have remembered that if it ain't Slipknot, it ain't music. But I thought maybe I could share my interest in catchy Brit pop with someone new.

"Robbie Williams," I replied. "Have you heard of him?"

"Oh, right. Yeah. He's gay."

Now, I wasn't sure how to take this exactly. When I was a wee one, "gay" most often meant dumb or too insignficant to be bothered with. Like, homework was "gay," the Barbies we would never admit we played with in private were "gay," and so was Ethan, the guy whose left pointer finger was permanently attached to the inside of his nostril.

But these days the word has a whole new connotation. So I had to ask, "Do you mean gay as in stupid or gay as in homosexual?"

He raised one eyebrow and said, "Well, I meant stupid but the other most likely applies, too."

I didn't reply for a moment. The fact that there was some overlap in lexicon between an old broad like me and a boy that I technically could have given birth to made me a little giddy. But then, I started to take offense. The music was not stupid (well, not much, anyway), nor is Mr. Williams a homosexual (at least, not if Page 6 is to be believed). And so right when I was about to protest, to explain Robbie's overwhelming "shitness" abroad and how he's more likely to be suffering from an overabundance of pussy, the sounds of track 4 filled the car.

My breath smells of a thousand fags
and when I get drunk I dance like me Dad
I'm starting to dress a bit like him

And with those words exploding in my ear, I thought better of saying anything. The soldier already got an education in nostalgic, old lady music. He didn't need me to explain the finer points of British slang, as well.

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