A Head Full Of The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father Theme Song

Humans never truly know whether they are normal or weird.  Although we may have many friends and close family members, we still live largely within our own heads, perceiving the world in our own way.

The only way to know for sure whether we are unusual or pretty much like everyone else is to ask other humans pointed, and embarrassingly self-revealing, questions.  Like:  does anyone else occasionally find themselves replaying the insipid theme song to The Courtship of Eddie’s Father in their heads, for no apparent reason?

People let me tell ya ’bout my best friend . . . .

I always despised that show, with its cloyingly cute little kid and Bill Bixby as the prototype ultra-sensitive Dad and the blatant attempts to elicit “Awwww!” reactions from the audience.  I hadn’t thought of the show in years, but yesterday morning there it was, the chipper, annoying, Harry Nilsson theme song, playing through my head as I walked up the back stairs of our building.  And once it was bouncing around in there, it was impossible to get it out.

He’s my one boy, my cuddly toy, my up, my down, my pride and joy . . . .

Some cue caused the brain neurons to fire and retrieve the theme song from an awful ’60s TV show.  But what the hell was it?  And, even more disturbing, what other trivial bits of stray popular culture lie locked securely within my brain tissue, ever to be forgotten?  The names of all members of the original cast of Laugh-In?  The words to The Monkees’ Auntie Grizelda?  The precise dialogue of the disturbing dinner scene of Eraserhead?

Whether we’re talkin’ man to man or whether we’re talkin’ son to son . . . .

Gah!

Looking In The Mirror, And Hearing Your Own Voice

I have a weakness for learning about human psychology.  How do humans think?  What approaches are more and less likely to cause the listener (or reader, for that matter) to have the intended reaction?  I think it is fascinating stuff.

One reason the results of psychological studies and experiments are so interesting is that it’s easy to translate the information to your own experience.  It’s like looking in a mirror.  It’s impossible not to consider how you match up with the results.  It’s nice when they indicate that your modus operandi is sound — but it’s hard to take when the data reveals that your approach is hopelessly wrong.

We all look in the mirror countless times a day, but often we don’t really recognize how we are perceived by others.  It’s like the shock you felt when you first heard your own recorded voice and realized it didn’t sound to others like it sounds in your own head.

How do you react when you see someone unintentionally do something that is completely off-putting, counterproductive, or inflammatory?  I always wonder how the person could be so clueless — and I find it unnerving because I realize that I also could be blundering through life, deeply offending people I’m actually trying to impress or persuade.

We’d all be better off if we spent more time studying the human condition.

Ample Asses And Ancient Graffiti

Anyone who has been to Pompeii knows that the ancient Romans were accomplished graffiti writers.  So were many other ancient humans, from the cave-dwellers forward.  More and more, bits of ancient graffiti are being translated, and the results are classic — and often hysterical. The writings tell us something meaningful about our ancestors.

For example, how can you not smile about the unknown Greek guy who wrote, 1,500 years ago, “Sydromachos has an ass as big as a cistern.”  Who today hasn’t felt a similar urgent need to point out the reality of an acquaintance’s enormous rump?  It reminds me of a co-worker who, years ago, saw a newly hired employee who formerly had been an intern and who, in the intervening period, has put on a few pounds in the posterior.  With perfect timing, the co-worker scrutinized the colossal keister, turned to a friend, and said in an awed voice:  “That’s not the ass we hired.”

The ancient graffiti writings confirm that there is something basic and immutable about the human condition that remains lurking below — temporarily hidden, perhaps, by the trappings of civilization and technology, but always ready to appear at an opportune moment.  It’s reasonable to conclude that, for so long as human beings survive as a species, a big butt is always going to be worthy of a wry comment.

As Timeless As Wine (Or Human Behavior)

Archaeologists have uncovered the world’s oldest known wine press in southern Armenia.  The wine press was found in a cave and is being dated to 4,000 B.C. — 6,000 years ago.  In short, the wine press is so old that it predates even the rise of the ancient Egyptian civilization.

The archaeologists believe that the wine press produced a dry red vintage using some kind of foot-stomping method.  They also speculate that the wine was a special vintage used in a burial ritual by a complex ancient society.

I think the key facts in the article suggest a different back story.  Those key facts are (1) a cave, (2) wine, and (3) the world’s oldest discarded leather shoe, which also was found in the same cave.  Do those facts sound to you like the ingredients of a burial ritual?  Or, do those signs point to a secret drinking place where the lazy ne’er-do-wells of the tribe could escape to kick off their shoes, stomp a few grapes, guzzle homemade hooch, and enjoy some drunken hilarity with their buddies away from the tribal chief, the high priest, and angry spouses?  To confirm this theory, the archaeologists need only start looking for dice, chicken bones, and signs of ancient graffiti in the vicinity.

The wine press may be 6,000 years old, but human beings really haven’t changed that much over the millennia.