Having fallen into a YouTube hole, it’s necessary to stick my head up and start writing this column without a single idea about what it will be about.
Fats Domino was walking to New Orleans a minute ago, and now Little Richard is singing to me about Lucille. With nothing coming to my mind to say, the pretty boy has moved onto “Tutti Frutti,” which reminds of dishing up ice cream at O’Neal’s in Tyler during the summer between my junior and senior year of high school.
Mr. O’Neal called his ice cream—which he actually made in the back of the shop—Hawaiian Pineapple. Maybe “Tutti Frutti” was just a bit, you know, gay. At 16, I could scarf up a double dip, cover it with hot fudge, nuts, and whipped cream, eating it when no one was looking and without any consequences to my waistline. And Mr. O’Neal’s Rum Raisin was so real tasting that I’m still surprised his church—he was a deacon at First Baptist—didn’t object.
Somehow the auto queue just put up the Chordettes singing “Lollipop,” so I had to run to that other lollipop song. “My Boy Lollipop” was first released as a single in 1956 and sung by Barbie Gaye, followed by the 1964 version by Millie Small that was an international hit. Though there is so much that could be said about girls calling their boyfriends “lollipop”, I’ll just push on…
When I’m having one of these reveries, a visit to Connie Francis is inevitable. I can’t think of anyone who made songs bouncy when the lyrics are almost always sad. “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” and “Who’s Sorry Now” are about something that sure isn’t lollipops. Or suckers, as we called them back then.
“Where the Boys Are” just started up, and I decided to check out Facebook while Connie sings. Heaven be praised, a classmate (possibly occupying a parallel YouTube hole) posted a clip of seven flamenco dancers performing in jeans and no shirts. The routine has provided the best three minutes of my week.
The best 30 seconds of the week was provided by a friend who posted a clip of himself doing pushups. Shirtless. (There’s a pattern here, isn’t there?) In any event, there are enough men, regardless of orientation, who should consider doing the same for all of us stuck at home needing some eye candy in these troubles times. Come on, boys, do it for those of us who couldn’t do pushups without the help of a small crane.
But for inspiration, there’s nothing to beat “I’m Still Here.” From Shirley MacLaine’s revised rendition for Postcards from the Edge to Elaine Stritch’s version of the original for Sondheim’s 80th birthday concert and a seemingly endless group of other performers (Bergen, DeCarlo, Kitt, Burnett, Miller, Baranski, even Nancy Walker), I urge anyone needing a lift to find your own favorite. Everyone on the gray side of 50, and even some who aren’t, will know what I mean. I suspect everyone else soon will.
Now what’s this? With social distancing, Pete Buttigieg is letting his beard grow. Thank you, Lord. And, Lord, since he talks to you all the time, please tell him not to shave it off when the crisis is past. (Maybe Chasten will have something to say about that.) After all, from the pictures I’ve seen, Mayor Pete has just gone from looking like the smartest little boy in the room to someone who needs to indulge the world with a clip of him doing some shirtless pushups.
Well, I’m going to send this off and get back into my hole. Now, where are those flamenco dancers? Oh, there they are…