Monday, June 2, 2008

Gowan my way?

...you have to respect his dedication. No other coach in the AFC East would dress up as a woman and jump in front of a moving SUV in the faint hope of taking out a star running back he would have to face twice a season. I highly doubt the coach of the Jets, Dolphins or Bills would go that far.

***

There's awkward, there's really awkward and then there's my experience with a bed salesman yesterday. Everything started off normally enough as we were shown a couple of different models and asked a couple questions about how we sleep, any ailments we have etc...you know, a seemingly typical interaction between interested bed buyer and commissioned bed seller. He struck me as a bit keen but, for the most part, a relatively normal, hard-working young salesperson and, on a personal-level, probably a reasonably cool guy. Then the song on the sound system changed. Not even a half-second into the keyboard intro and his eyes lit up. Inside this young man a fire was immediately ignited. "This" he declared in an excited fashion "is my favorite song ever". At this point I had absolutely no idea what the song even is. In fact I was shocked that he could have identified it given the fact that we had only heard a split second of a fairly generic 80s synthesizer chord. He continued. "Anytime you hear Moonlight Desires by Gowan, you know its going to be a good day". I had absolutely no idea how I was supposed to react to this. Was he kidding? He can't possibly mean that. He was being sarcastic, making a joke, wasn't he?

If he was kidding, however, how did he instantaneously know what song it was? This lightning quick reaction indicates more than a passing familiarity with the song. Maybe he was serious. This guy couldn't have been older than 26 or 27. Moonlight Desires just turned 21! There's no way that song had any role in this guy's life as a new release. Even if he had some sort of mature-beyond-his-years appreciation for music I find it highly unlikely that he would gravitate towards something that most likely debuted on an adult contemporary station. As a young person you tend to look for something that to some degree or another rocks. Gowan clearly didn't rock in 1987, nor does he today. Even if it was something his Mom used to play as a kid he would have surely moved on to something else upon developing his own taste in music. Maybe he came across the tune later in his life. Though slightly more plausible than a 5 or 6 year old becoming a diehard Gowan fan I don't view this as particularly likely either.

Growing up, I'm sure he may have heard the song a couple of times but I can't imagine an environment being created where it would become his favorite song and maintain that status to this very day. As far as I can tell the song didn't have a resurgence at any point that would coincide with some seminal moment in his life. Surely there's no chance he got drunk for the first time, got to second base, drove his first car, watched his favorite team win something or do anything remotely awesome with "Moonlight Desires" cranked on the stereo. That song is the soundtrack to elevator rides and dentist appointments. Picture May long weekend around 1998 or 1999, the time I approximate some, if not all, of this guy's firsts could have occurred. I highly doubt a Gowan CD gets anywhere near this imagined cottage or campground. This is pre-digital downloading so there's no way someone is travelling with a limitless musical library. Someone would have needed to pack an actual Gowan CD or at the very least a mixed tape that had included "Moonlight Desires". I really don't see someone dedicating backpack space to this when that space is at such a premium. Let's see, I'm a 16 year old kid. Let's leave the beer funnel and bong at home so I can rock out to Gowan around the campfire. Wait a minute, no wonder I don't have any friends. May 2-4!


This just doesn't add up.

Maybe its a gay thing. I really doubt he was hitting on me as I was with wife and child. Besides if you're using some sort of gay pick-up code wouldn't you mention something a little less cryptic just in case your intended target was a bit new to the man-love game. "The Pet Shop Boys are my favorite band. Would you like a backrub?" or "I love this song as much as the volleyball scene in Top Gun" would be a bit more clear in getting the point across. Regardless, this guy really didn't seem like a man's man. There really is no ready explanation for this.

Moonlight Desires is a relatively obscure song with no discernible kitsch value, cult appeal or critical acclaim. Also, from my research the song has never been covered by a better/cooler band. If you play it backwards it doesn't talk about drugs or the Maharishi. It's not a rebel song, a fight song, an anthem or an epic. No chaperone has ever admonished a couple of adolescents at a school dance for not leaving room for Jesus while Gowan brought the houselights on. This is a completely unremarkable song from an unremarkable era. Having this as your favorite song is akin to saying your favorite food is iceberg lettuce. I went over the lyrics dozens of times. Trust me, this is pure fluff. Even if you like crap there is plenty out there that's crappier. I have racked my brain trying to come up with a single reason why anyone, nonetheless a guy in his mid-late 20s who sells beds, would chose this as their favorite song and have come up empty.

I'm brought back to his inexplicably quick identification of the song that started all this. Even if I were to assume that this was his favorite song of all time I find it hard to believe that he could have picked it out so quickly. This is not Hell's Bells we're talking about where the very first sound immediately sends a message to your subconscious identifying what's about to happen. It was almost as if it was staged, like he knew what was coming. Maybe the music is on a loop so the salesmen, particularly those who've been there for a while, have the playlist memorized. That could explain the inhuman reaction time in naming the song but why then did he say it was his favorite song when there is clearly no reason it would be? Maybe it wasn't about him. Maybe it was about me. Maybe he saw something in me that said to him "make him think you're a Gowan fan". Why would he want to do that? Do I look like a fellow Gowan fan and this is his attempt to improve his chances of a sale by making some sort of connection with me? I'm not even sure what a Gowan fan would look like but presumably it's not a look one would strive for. Maybe there's no logic to the statement itself and this is all just some technique to put me off. That would be quite a piece of gamesmanship. If that was his intent he's certainly been successful. Here we are more than a day later and I'm still thinking about it. In fact, you could say it haunts me...it haunts me.

Well played Bed Salesman, well played.

1 comment:

Uncle Rico said...

I don't know dude...you fail to consider the impact the video. Larry Gowan on top of some Incan/Aztec/Mayan temple in a royal blue blouse? That sh*t is hot.