On Monday Friday of last week I went into work after two days of leave to hang out in the hospital with Judy and then after her release help her out a bit and ensure that she suffered no relapse. I stopped by the little coffee shop called the Dancing Goat for my 24 ounce cup of Southern Pecan (this shop does not have French Vanilla) coffee with 4 French Vanilla Creamers and 4 packets of Splenda. While I was there Pat, the lady who runs this shop and ensures that I get my free cups of coffee as I fill up my frequent flier card, had her boom box radio on. She usually has a station that plays R&B or R&B-Pop crossover classics playing in the background This particular morning as I was talking to Pat and fixing my coffee the radio station was playing a song from back in my high school days came on the radio. As I fiddled with my creamers and Splenda I heard Play that Funky Music White Boy by the Ohio players. I found myself flashing back to my days at Edison High School in Stockton California. The song got into my head. The whole day and night since I had the duty I found myself walking down the hallways singing and sometimes dancing to “And they were dancin’ and singin’ and movin’ to the groovin’ and just when it hit me, somebody turned around and started saying: Play that funky music white boy, play that funky music white, play that funky music white boy. Lay down and boogie and play that funky music ‘til you die, ‘til you die. As I did this I would occasionally draw the attention of staff members or visitors. I would kind of smile and say: “Sorry I hate it when that happens to me.” Unfortunately it happens far too regularly and I don’t understand why. Maybe one of my Psychciatry or Neurology colleagues can provide an answer. Judy would just tell me that I’m nuts, however this is not a clinical diagnosis, unlike my PTSD.
I couldn’t help it. I was consumed by this Ohio Player’s hit; every time I turned around I was singin’ “play that funky music white boy,,,” It was wild. Now I have had this happen with other hits from high school which once I hear them I can’t get them out of my head. A month or so ago it was the Commodore’s She’s a Brick House, a week ago it was the Top Gun Anthem. A couple weeks before that it was Wild Thing from Major League. I can’t help it, these songs get in my brain and I can’t let go. It sometimes reaches the level absurdity when I find myself singing Mel Brooks movie songs like Blazing Saddles, The Inquisition, Springtime for Hitler and High Anxiety. I don’t care what song it is, if I heard it back in high school or my first couple of years of college the song will stick and I won’t be able to rid myself of it. If you haven’t has someone walk in an elevator or come around a corner unexpectedly when you are “movin’ and a groovin,” you really can’t understand. The problem is it doesn’t have to be this song. It can be any song. It is scary and I just don’t get it.
When I was in high school my class was the first to go through high school under the “forced busing” program. The white guys and gals from the North Side were bussed down to Edison High School on the South Side. Over the years Edison’s demographics had become overwhelmingly Black, Hispanic and Asian. When the whites, Hispanics and Asians from the North side showed up it was culture shock, but not in a bad way. Our class was about 25% each of White, Black, Asian and Hispanic (Mexican.) We became the “Soul Vikes” and enduring friendships between kids of different races were formed which remain to this day. I think that our class was a prototype of the new America. Our 30th reunion was great and I am honored to be a part of the 1978 Soul Vikes. This experince helped me to come to love and appreciate R&B and soul. I may not have rythem or dance, but I love to be Movin’ and a groovin’.”
The fact that I am a proud member of the Soul Vikes of 1978 is not the issue. The thing that I don’t understand is just how a song that I haven’t heard in years takes over my life, even if only for a day. To me this is a mystery one of the things that I term: Things that I don’t get. If you see me doing this humor me.
Judge Sotomeyor: Savior of Baseball: Back in 1995 Baseball was faced with its most serious crisis. A player’s walk out that lasted well over 200 days. The MLB management was content to let things ride and it was getting close to the point of no return. Americans were rapidly becoming fed up with both the players and the owners, especially the owners. It was then Judge Sotomayor who stepped in and ended the crisis. She has been credited by many writers and players with saving the game. She has come under criticism by many and some like George Will, a baseball historian who I greatly admire take issue with this. However at the time the players and owners were on a self destructive path that could have destroyed the game. Baseball, it’s management at leadership among the owners and players union officials is far from perfect, but had they continued on the course that they were on in 1994-1995 it would have killed the game. Judge Sotomayor’s ruling, which favored the players unions did save the game from itself. As far as the rest of her record I have only superficially looked at it. She seems to be more liberal than some conservatives would like and more conservative than some liberals would like. Time will tell what kind of justice she will be should she be approved. Like any Justice she will be judged on her record. I do pray if she is confirmed that she will be true to the Constitution, law and people. Apart from that, as a member of the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish, I will always be thankful for her actions in 1995.