The trip is six hours up and six hours back. That makes twelve hours in a car with Mrs. C switching the radio from station to station (love Sirius) to listen to the music of her choice. Her choice is music from the Fifties through the eighties. Mrs. C is an expert on almost all music from these eras. She names a tune before the first lyric is sung, and can tell you the group or performer…most of the time. When she does not know the group and all its history, there is THE BOOK.
THE BOOK is “Top 40 Hits” by Joel Whitburn. It has all the songs, all the groups, and all the members in any group from 1950 through 2000. She has three copies of THE BOOK; one in each car, and one for the house. If ever there is a question about top 40 hits which she does not know, she pulls out THE BOOK.
When she is driving, and she does 95% of all driving, she hands me the book and I am required to look up stuff that I really do not care about. To make it worse, I am the king of stupid when it comes to alphabetical order searching. Smoke comes out of my brain as I grind through the “Alphabet Song” multiple times for every search.
“Hmmm… ‘The Kingsmen’…Is that under T or K?”
“AbcdefghijK…abcdefghI…abcdefghijklmN…do you have any idea how many Kings there are? Wait here it is, “Louie, Louie,” it hit number 2 in 1963.”
“Hey, listen, a Patty Duke hit. Who knew? Check her out.”
“Duke…Duke…abcD…abcdefghijklmnopqrstU…here she is. Yes she had two hits in 1965, “Don’t Just Stand There” hit number eight, “Say Something Funny” hit twenty-two, and why do I care?”
“’Why DO I Care?’ I don’t remember that one.”
“It isn’t a song, it’s a question!”
“You’re a jerk!”
THE BOOK weighs about 14 pounds and rests on the back seat of the car. Every time I reach back for it seven different muscles in my arm make funny snapping sounds.
“Who was Spanky in ‘Spanky and our Gang?’ Didn't she also join The ‘Mommas and the Papas?’”
“I don’t care.”
“Get THE BOOK!”
“Damn. AbcdefghijklmnopqrS...abcdefghijklmnoP…Geeze I hate this. Yes, Elaine ‘Spanky’ McFarlane joined the ‘Mamas and the Papas’ in the early eighties.”
Every once in a while I make the mistake of asking a question.
“Wasn’t that song first done by Little Richard?”
“I don’t know, check...”
“THE BOOK!! Damn, never mind I don’t really care.”
“Well now I do, check THE BOOK.”
Let me tell you, after twelve hours in the car, I really hate THE BOOK!”