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The Song that Never Ends

August 5, 2011

From a tender age, I had an implicit understanding of the finer nuances of psychological torture.

God, I could be annoying.  But not annoying in a willy-nilly, almost forgivable unconsciously grating fashion.  No, I was very methodical in my methods.  I was exacting in my results.  And I often used my full arsenal to punish my parents for perceived slights I suffered.

I am amazed, in retrospect, that I was allowed to survive until adulthood.

Exhibit A:  I don’t even remember what made me so enraged.  But there I was, absolutely furious, purple-faced with righteous fury, all directed at my father.  And I was old enough to know better- I was definitely in middle school.  But still, there I was, in a screaming match with my poor dad.  My brothers had already fled for the proverbial hills- the basement.  I was just getting up a good amount of steam when my dad did the unthinkable: instead of continuing to engage me, he went to bed.

I followed him to his bedroom door, and was shocked when he turned the lock and refused to come out.  He was ignoring me.  It was the single worst and best thing he could have done to me.  It was insulting.  It was degrading.  (It kinda made me feel lonely- wasn’t he my dad and required to love me even when I was being horrid?)

It drove me bonkers.  I threw my entire weight against the door.  The wood bent under my assault, but didn’t splinter or break.  I tried karate kicking the doorknob.  No effect.  I tried picking the lock with a nail and needle I found in my bedroom.  Useless.  And I screamed throughout, my voice going hoarse and sounding like a smoker’s.

Finally, I admitted that I wasn’t getting into that room.  But I wasn’t defeated yet!  I decided to switch tactics.  If I couldn’t physically knock down the door, maybe there was a way I could make my dad voluntarily emerge from his lair.  I figured that my best bet was to be so annoying that he had to come out to shut me up.  I stopped my scream.

And started to sing, “This is the Song that Never Ends.”

This is Lamb Chop.

For those of you who never were children, this is the song that Lamb Chop and friends sang at the end of every episode of “Lamb Chop’s Play-Along.”   It has only one verse, and is triumphantly repeated over and over again by hand puppets.  You don’t get more annoying than that.  (Please tell me you don’t get more annoying than that!)

And I sang it with all the lusty power of an extremely pissed off eleven year old.   I sang that one verse, “This is the song that never ends, it goes on and on my friends…” for over an hour, right outside of my father’s closed bedroom door.  There was no way that he could have not heard me; the walls weren’t that thick.  Occasionally I would rest my voice for a minute and sob instead.  But he didn’t come out.

It was almost 11:00PM at this point; not only was I still pissed, but I was exhausted.  I had been in full blown tantrum mode for hours now, and I was wiped.  But my pride was on the line. ‘The Song that Never Ends’ could not cease to be!   I couldn’t admit that dad had beaten me and go slink off to sleep.  So I dried my eyes and padded into my bedroom, got my alarm clock radio, and put it in front of my father’s door.  I turned the volume knob as far as it could go.  And, just to add insult to injury, I turned the dial to a rap station.  My dad hated rap music.

As satisfied as an ignored eleven-year-old can be, I left rap music blaring down the hall and went to my room.  I was asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.

At some point in the night, my dad must have realized it was safe to come out of his room to turn off the radio.  Because I awoke to the blissful sound of nothing the next morning.  My father and I had both outlasted the song that never ends.

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