I don’t know what time it is. I don’t even know what day it is. I don’t know what month it is. I don’t even know what year it is. GODDAMNIT, I don’t know what part of the universe I’m in, or if I’m even still part of the universe or if there even is a universe or if I exist anymore in any form or capacity beyond being able to wonder whether or not space or time is real. I am a nebulous haze, a halfway remembered dream, a secret whispered into a black hole.
Nothing is real. Not my job and not my life and not my stupid face. None of it. NONE of anything. None of it; save for one unstoppable, unassailable question asked by men from England pretending to be men from the Bahamas: Who let the dogs out?
Maybe a month or two ago, my twin sons found an old iPod I’d tossed in a kitchen drawer after I bought my first smart phone. They asked me what it was so I explained it to them. (“So it’s like a phone but it plays music,” the one with the missing tooth confirmed.) Then they asked me if they could keep it. I said yes because, whatever, no biggie. At this very moment though, OH MY GOD RIGHT NOW THOUGH, now it seems like a decision no less disastrous than letting Preteen Leatherface have a chainsaw he found in the garage.
Quick aside: The boys were probably searching the drawer looking for a butcher’s knife or a blowtorch or something. I don’t know. I was paying zero attention to them. At the time, I was only concerned with trying to watch the last minutes of a pre-recorded episode of the TV show Hannibal because I am 31 years old and that is the type of corny thing I think is interesting now. I was talking about it at work to a coworker recently and actually found myself saying, “It’s cool, only thing is it doesn’t come on until nine.” UNTIL NINE. Like, for me now, for Dad Shea, that’s just an unreasonable time for an hour-long show to start. SMH. I was supposed to be a fucking racecar driver, man.
At any rate, after a day or so of pretending like the iPod worked, the boys asked me to make it work for real. We hooked it up to the charger for an hour or so, unhooked it, connected to a docking station, then malibooyah: “And Daddy said, Let there be portable music: and there was portable music. And Daddy heard the music, that it was good: and Daddy divided the music from the silence. And Daddy called the music THE TITS, and the silence he called SILENCE. And the Mos Def and the the Talib Kweli were the first playlist.”
But so we turned it on and they started clicking through it and listening, is what I mean.
It was cool for a bit, and, had this all taken place a year ago, would’ve remained that way. But the boys, nearing six now, are developing their own thoughts and feelings about what is or is not enjoyable music. AND SOON-TO-BE-SIX-YEAR-OLDS DON’T KNOW SHIT ABOUT MUSIC.
Like, after 30 minutes, they started asking my wife to put new music on there; “different, better songs.” They erased nearly 1,300 records, a collection of rap culled together over, probably, a three-year period. And they replaced them with four songs. FOUR.
1. “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” by C&C Music Factory
I was actually kind of happy about this one. I used to listen to it when I was kid, mostly while I was practicing karate moves in my room by myself but sometimes while I was practicing karate moves on my sisters. (Have you ever even karate kicked a little Mexican girl in the leg? That shit is high comedy.) But by, say, the ninth time it’s played in a row, the rap duo’s demands begin to sound less like didactic party chants and more like wartime crime commands.
2. “Space Jam,” by Quad City DJs
From the surprisingly effective Space Jam soundtrack, of course. The boys have never seen Space Jam, but they already know they love it, which is good because it’s definitely one of the best basketball movies that’s ever been movie’d. I showed the boys a clip of the movie on YouTube, then immediately backdoored that with a Who Framed Roger Rabbit? clip at YouTube’s suggestion. I thought it was a good idea. It wasn’t. The opening scene shows some cartoon baby cussing and shit at movie directors and handlers behind the scenes of a cartoon they’re filming. This was maybe two weeks ago we saw it, and the boys are still talking about. Fucking cartoon babies were off the chain in the ‘90s, man.
3. “Gangnam Style,” by Psy
You know what’s cute? Twins doing the “Gangnam Style” dance once. You know what’s fuuuuuccckkkkiiinnngggg horrible? TWINS DOING THE “GANGNAM STYLE” DANCE EVERY 30 SECONDS FOR SIX DAYS. Those little fools just Gangnam Style all through the house now. Hand to God, I was watching the Spurs/Lakers game two weeks ago and, like he materialized from the thin air, one of the boys came Gangnam Styling across the room completely naked (he was previously in the tub). You can’t forget seeing tiny balls Gangnam Styling, man. You just can’t.
4. “Who Let The Dogs Out,” by the Baha Men
This one, this one more than all the rest, is just so terrible. Like, it’s not even fun to talk about how bad this one is. There’s just nothing more defeating than hearing it wind itself down, getting two or three seconds of silence, prayPrayPRAYING that a different song comes on, then hearing it start back up over at the top. When you realize it’s on repeat and you’re likely going to hear it bleed through the walls for the next 20 minutes, that’s the moment you figure out whether or not you can make your body spontaneously combust on command (spoiler: you can’t).
All day of every day with those songs, that’s my life. I write about rap music for money, man. MY WIFE LITERALLY OWNS A VINYL COPY OF OUTKAST’S AQUEMINI. And none of that has bled through. None. The boys aspiring to listen only to the aforementioned gibberish is like if I was heart surgeon and they wanted to grow up to be the guy at Golden Corral that cuts the roast beef slices.
The boys love that iPod. There’s nothing to be done. All I can do now is pray the dogs find their way to my house and chew my ears off.