Big Time!

Lately, the boys and I have been struck by a critical case of laziness. Instead of riding our bikes into school, I’ve been driving them. It’s not so bad, though. They like all sorts of music, from Styx to Fun to Bob Marley, and we play it as we ride in.

The other day, I tried to introduce them to Peter Gabriel. I put on So for the morning ride, and immediately joined in the singing.

Red Rain is coming down.
Red Rain!
Red Rain is pouring down, pouring down all over me.

Have you ever suddenly realized that you were the only one singing? Yeah. that was me. My oldest son was reading a book, and his little brother was drawing.

“Don’t like it, huh?” I asked. I probably shouldn’t have started with Red Rain, but I hadn’t really thought about what the first song on the album was.

“No, no,” my oldest said. “It’s great.”

“Yeah,” his brother echoed. “Really great.”

Nothing like being patronized by a couple of elementary schoolers. “Okay,” I said. “I’m sure you’ll like this one.

You could have a steam train
If you’d just lay down your tracks
You could have an aeroplane flying
If you bring your blue sky back

“Oh yeah.” my oldest said. “Much better.”

“Wait,” I said. “We’re almost to the good part.”

I want to be your sledgehammer! Why don’t you call my name?

“See?” I said. “How can you not like that?”

No answer. They were back to reading and drawing.


As we pulled into car line, I powered down the windows, cranked up the stereo, and blasted Big Time.

The place where I come from is a small town 
They think so small, they use small words 
But not me, I’m smarter than that, 
I worked it out 
I’ll be stretching my mouth to let those big words come right out 

“Da-ad!” my oldest said, clearly embarrassed.

“What? We always crank the tunes in car line.”

“Yeah, but. . .” He gave me his significant look: head tilted forward and to the side, eyebrows raised.

The problem, I suddenly realized, wasn’t the song. It was my singing.

“Fine.” I turned the CD player down low, took a deep breath, and put two decades of repressed 80’s into the loudest singing I could manage:

I had enough, I’m getting out
To the city, the big big city.
I’ll be a big noise with all the big boys.
So much stuff I will know!
And I will pray to a big god, as I kneel in the big church…
Big Time!

He slapped his forehead with his palm and shook his head. His little brother burst out laughing.

Next week: Bon Jovi.

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