Recently, my sister, Dorothy, asked me to participate in a half marathon with her. Beyond my early twenties, I have never really embraced running because a touchdown or stolen base isn’t at stake. Therefore, I needed some convincing. She then informed me it wasn’t just any marathon, but a rock and roll marathon. This means that during the marathon, bands will be playing loud music at every corner, pounding your brain much like your tender feet pounding the pavement for thirteen painful miles. (Why couldn’t she have asked me to participate in a rock and roll barbecue!????) I told her this music could only cloud my running rhythm and perhaps induce me to dance freakishly or bust out into an air guitar solo amongst the other weirdos in Seattle. Even though I don’t listen to rock and roll anymore and can’t name one current rock and roll band, I said I’d do it. (Dorothy lives in California and it’s not often I get to see her. Otherwise, the answer would have been “Hell to the NO!”
As a talk radio dork, I don’t often listen to rock and roll. I don’t buy CD’s, and if someone should ask me who my favorite rock and roll band is, I could only answer with a kiss. At a very early age and in a very special way, Dorothy, amongst other older sisters, Patricia and Maggie, introduced me to the rock and roll band, Kiss.
Not having reached the age to attend public school, I didn’t require an alarm to wake up for anything. Yet, I was awakened by one each morning. It was blaring, dream shattering rock and roll music played by my teenage sisters after our father would leave for work. When my father was home, we never really listened to music unless it was “A Very Perry Como Christmas”, or a “Paint Your Wagon” classical musical on T.V.. However, when he’d go off to work each morning, long before my three older sisters had to be at school, they’d fire up the platinum. Evidently, my mother didn’t seem to mind too much as she was getting ready for a full day’s worth of laundry, which was everyday for her. Even though only five of her thirteen children still lived in the house, her load remained heavy. Perhaps, it was the music inspiring her to press on.
I was curious about the aggressively noisy music. In the mid seventies, I was still attached to Elvis and could play a mean tennis racket guitar, but this was far different. This current music held a loud, edgy, almost dangerous tone. Secretly, I grew to accept it and enjoy some of it. I would stay in bed each morning listening to many songs, but one in particular played by Kiss titled, “Rock and Roll All Nite” became my favorite. I began paying attention to the lyrics and wondered what it would be like to rock and roll all night and party every day.
When my sisters and two older brothers would finally leave for school, the music would end, leaving only my mother and me at home for the day. Mom always kept me entertained. She’d read to me, play card games with me, and when I could convince her, she’d come out to the yard and try to play baseball with me. This was terrific, but I remember changing our routine up a bit when I asked her to play some records for me. Of course she would. It might give her a break. So, while my mother reached for an Elvis record, I stopped her and asked if I could listen to some of the music my sisters would listen to while I was still in bed. Not a problem. I chose the live Kiss “Alive” album and knew exactly which song I wanted to play: “Rock and Roll All Nite”.
With mom going downstairs to make us lunch, I placed it on track five, and listened to the song several times. I had already memorized the words while listening to them countless mornings, and I could hear mother laughing at me downstairs as this four year old, toe headed, bushy haired rockstar belted the the lyrics out, air tennis guitar in hand, as if I was their one man miniature cover band. All I needed was some sinister makeup and a disgustingly long tongue. It was exciting, but after a bit, I grew a little tired of the song and began listening to the band speak in between sets. This was even more intriguing than the music. They would bellow to the audience statements and questions which seemed scratchy at first, but after a few listens, some became quite clear, one in particular. I memorized it as well. The lead singer would say something profound such as this: “Hey, Detroit!!! (Fans screaming at the tops of their hair) DOES ANYONE OUT THERE WANT SOME WHISKEY!!!!!!!!!!? From downstairs, when this question was screamed by the lead singer, I could hear mom dub in her own portion of the album. Each time I would play this part of the album, mother would bellow from below, “DOES ANYONE UP THERE WANT SOME BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING!!!!!? Cool as can be, (she always was and still is) instead of tossing the record like a frisbee into the atmosphere, rather, she simply modified it.
Each day for lunch, mom would always give me butterscotch pudding, my favorite, for dessert. So, shrewd as she was, she made an executive suggestion for me to make the record that much better. As a consummate professional, even at the age of four, I knew everything had room for improvement. I was all hair and ears. She implied that instead of asking the audience if they would like some whiskey, perhaps I could replace “whiskey” with “butterscotch pudding”. Now, I had no idea what whiskey was at the age of four, but I did know this. There ain’t NOTHIN better in this world than butterscotch pudding. She had me play the record again with both of us making the proper substitution. “DOES ANYONE OUT THERE WANT SOME BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING!!!!!!!!? The fans still roared, and it stuck.
Years passed, and at some point in my life, I had to try this whisky Kiss raved so highly of in 1975. I did, and mom was right. Butterscotch pudding was a far better substitute. It took me a full night to realize pudding was superior, but by the next morning, I had made my definitive choice.
Pre-marathon meal? Butterscotch pudding……..I still love that stuff.