A different kind of fear

Posted by jdg | Monday, November 06, 2006 | ,

I have a confession. Although I have complained about kids' music time and time again, even comparing most of it to, "a secret U.S. Army acoustic weapons system designed to paralyze and induce vomiting by all exposed to it," I do have this cassette tape that Juniper's old day care gave us to listen to at home so she would be familiar with the music at the weekly singalong. And I have been playing it in the car lately. A lot. At first I treated it like one of those little hammers in the "break only in case of emergency" boxes. But only an emergency turned into "only when she's screaming" which then turned into "only when she asks for that goddamn Dancing with Teddy song" which then turned into the tape being the default audio experience in our 4-door sedan. Wood and I went out for dinner without Juniper on Saturday night and we drove two miles before we realized we were still listening to that fucking tape. And we were fucking humming along with it.

But that's not the worst of it. Yesterday was an unusually warm and pleasant November day, and Juniper and I were driving with the windows halfway down on Detroit's east side. At a stoplight two young black dudes rolled to a slow stop next to me, their chrome-plated rims shaped to look like the barrel of a revolver were spinning long after their car had ceased forward motion, and from the trunk of their car two enormous speakers were blasting a bass-heavy rap song, the only lyrics of which seemed to be, "Scared motherfucker? Then call the police. . .Scared motherfucker? Then call the police." This, by itself, did not bother me. In high school I had driven a friend to "a fat girl's house" so he could "get some pussy" in my 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix with the one gray fender and he put an MC Breed cassette in my Kenwood deck, but the only lyric on the whole album seemed to be, "it's just another nigga to my AK. . .it's just another nigga to my AK." That made me uncomfortable. These guys turned to look at me through their backseat passenger window and I nodded, feeling pretty out-macho'd just by virtue of their ride. Then the driver of the car leaned forward and turned his stereo' volume down, and all you could hear was the music coming from my car stereo at an unexpectedly high volume:

Everyone jump-n-jump-n-Josie,
Everyone jump-n-jump-n-Josie,
Everyone jump-n-jump-n-Josie
Jumpin' all day long!

I would have reached for the volume knob myself, but that would have sent Juniper into a whiny chorus of "more Jumpin-n-Josie? more Jumpin-n-Josie?" So I just shrugged my shoulders, and before I could offer them some of our pruno, their stereo was blasting even louder than before and the light had turned green, and they were squealing their tires to get away from us. Now who's scared, motherfuckers?