It was a rare attempt at subterfuge and it failed miserably … it’s impossible to sneak anything past a 4-year-old, but you can’t blame a Daddy for trying.
I wanted to listen to MY music for a change. It was just a 10-minute drive to Wal-Mart, and I figured we’d be in the parking lot before Jellybean realized what was going on.
I was in a metal frame of mind – not sure what that says about my mood at the moment – and I was had a hankering for some Judas Priest, nothing vile or violent, just loud.
We were maybe a foot past the mailbox when I looked in the rearview mirror and saw Jellybean mouthing along. My heart leapt like I’d just been told to “Come on down!” at the Price is Right.
It took to the guitar solo to realize that Jellybean wasn’t singing, she was shouting – and not in that heavy-metal-fist-pumping kinda way. She was actually yelling over the music and trying desperately to get my attention, this look on her face like she’d just swallowed a turd-flavored bug.
So I broke the first rule of rock, and turned the music down to just below ear-splitting.
“Daddy!” she bellowed, “Why is that man screaming … is he hurt?”
“No sweetie,” I answered in that tone that says, ‘this is a teaching moment.’ “That’s Rob Halford. He’s got the greatest voice in heavy metal. They call him the Metal God … He’s supposed to sound like that.”
We drive for a few feet as Jellybean considers this. Another track starts, though at a more tolerable level.
“I don’t like it,” Jellybean says. “Can I hear Glee now?”
And that pretty much drove the final nail in my metal experiment. I bond with most people through music. My Lovely Wife says that at any given moment I have more songs rumbling through my head than anyone she’s ever met. ‘Course have the reason I fell in love with her is that she knows every line from “Informer” by Snow and has been known to bust out Warren G. anytime she hears the word “regulate.”
I take it as a compliment that my mind can go from Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical,” to the Ramones’ “Cretin Hop,” to the theme from Star Wars to Loverboy’s “Workin’ for the Weekend” and finally REM’s “The One I Love” in the time it takes to walk from the bathroom to the kitchen.
I taught The Diva to appreciate both Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Eminem and Lil’ Wayne (those last two might call my parenting skills into question, but at least it gives us something to talk about … rage and blunts mostly, but only from a place of “making wise choices and rappers aren’t role models.”)
And the same can be said for Jellybean, though I’m still working on her appreciation for ‘80s hair metal (most of whom are now bald, which is a tad ironic) as well as classic rock.
While I must confess to loving Glee, to choose Lady Gaga over Judas Priest offends my better nature … though not nearly as much as having a toddler holler “I’m a freak, baby” at the top of her lungs from the daycare parking lot as “Bad Romance” blares in the backgroundaHHlkdlkjdsslHalkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkdkd.
Still, being a good Dad means making concessions. At least she’s knows when to properly head-bang during Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” That’s not something that can be taught … that’s instinct, baby.
Contact Brett Buckner at email@example.com