So there I was traipsing around a local department store a few weeks ago and as I was perusing the aisles of merchandise for those little boxes of sugar cereals (I know that’s childish…but I jones for sugar cereal every now and again plus what do I need with a big box of Cocoa Krispies or Lucky Charms?) I started to hear this musical sound emanating from my mouth. Puzzled at why I would be making this noise in a public place, I quickly realized then and there that I had become one of “those” people.
You know “those” people, the kind that whistle in public places. They’re usually male, sometimes give off a somewhat eerie vibe, and seem to have an upbeat attitude. Now I’m male, I don’t think I give off an eerie vibe, and I’m more often than not in a pretty even keel mood…not down, not doing somersaults or anything but just a “steady as it goes” attitude…in fact you could probably call me “Steady Eddie” even though my name is Mark.
So with these things (non-eerie vibe, “Steady Eddie”) going for me, why would I ever whistle in public? Well over the last few years…scratch that, all my life…I’ve been really cognizant of my surroundings. I hate to brag but I do notice things really quickly even though it may not look like I do. Like if I go into a store, work, a restaurant, someone’s house that I’ve been to before, and something was there and has been moved, I notice the difference right off the bat. The same goes if someone has recently gotten new glasses or has changed their hair…I just notice those things. So it goes without saying that whenever I’m in a location I immediately become aware of things like: the people, what they’re wearing, what the room smells like, the temperature of the place, if there’s music playing, etc.
The thing that I never really noticed too much is if I’ve always whistled whenever I go into a store. I’m almost sure I have, but for some reason I can’t remember. Maybe I whistle so much that I’m just not aware anymore! Yikes! Kind of sounds like a boring episode of “The Twilight Zone”.
On this particular day that I noticed my whistling, the song “Paradise” by Coldplay was playing. Now when I caught myself whistling it wasn’t a slight, airy whistle, it was a full blown whistle (like that rooster from “Walt Disney’s Robin Hood”) so I was pretty much whistling IN STEREO.
And listen, I know it’s technically not considered “cool” to like Coldplay unless you’re a sarcastic hipster or a mother bustling around her children in a mini-van or whatever, but gosh darn it…I don’t care! I love Coldplay! Just love them! In fact, I think you might have to be made out of stone or posh granite to not at least sway your head or arms to songs like “Charlie Brown”, “Shiver”, “Warning Sign”, “Everything’s Not Lost”, “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” (I play a killer air guitar to this one!) and yes…”Paradise”.
Luckily no one else was in the aisle or I’m sure I would have gotten the dreaded “steely-eyed stare down” that I’ve given “those” people who check their phones for messages or calls while in a darkened movie theater. Folks…once the trailers are done, turn those phones off! If it’s THAT important you have no right to be going to the movies in the first place. Rather, give me your money and I’ll be happy to apply it to the next movie I see and since there are a TON of movies I can’t wait to see between now and the end of the year, your money will be really well spent.
Anyways, after I realized that I was whistling like that Robin Hood rooster to “Paradise”, the song was pretty much over. So guess what song comes on next? The song “Stranded” by Heart! Now I’m not sure if many people remember this song but gosh darn it…it’s my favorite song by Heart! This song is a bigger emotional roller coaster than Junior High School! It starts slow with those great lyrics, those drums, then that awesome electric guitar kicks in and the lyrics get more and more intense and before you know it the song is over and you’re left feeling like you just watched “The Sixth Sense” for the first time. All of this is coming from someone who loves the great power ballads of Heart, songs like: ”All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” (Not a song you want to be playing on the radio on a first date unless you know the person really well and all they want to do is make love to you…which would be pretty cool!), “These Dreams”, “Never”, “Who Will You Run To”, and “What About Love?” (Yeah…what about love Ann and Nancy Wilson? Please tell us!).
I have to say that once “Stranded” started playing I was not only whistling (this time by choice) but I was also mouthing the words. I actually had to make sure that I went down an aisle where there was no one else so I wouldn’t look like a total fool.
After the emotions of “Stranded” died down…do you know what song comes on next? The song “All For Love”. Yep…that song by Bryan Adams, Sting, and Rod Stewart. Gosh darn it…I love that song! Plus I always thought it was really clever that three guys sang the song together and it was from the soundtrack to the 1993 movie “The Three Musketeers” because you know…there are three people singing the song and it’s from the movie in which there are three musketeers. How brilliant! And they actually sing the lyrics, “’Cause when it’s all for one it’s one for all!” you know because that’s a play on the motto of the musketeers! Down right genius!
By this time my shopping excursion was over and I had made it to the checkout lane. I decided not to bother with those self check-out lanes because they never seem to work right for me so I figured I would wait in the regular checkout line. While waiting I pondered the music playing in the department store and I wondered who gets to make the actual playlists for it. I know it’s not a local radio station playing in most of those bigger chain stores or restaurants because there are no commercials or local advertisements between songs. More than likely the music is beamed down by satellite but I wondered if by some chance, unbeknownst to all of the employees and customers, that there was a secret door somewhere in the back labeled “PRIVATE” and only a select few people actually know what goes on in there. When one opens the door there’s a guy sitting there on a computer spinning tunes for the store the whole day.
If there was such a job, I’d love to have it! I think I’d start the day with “Walking on the Sunshine” and with a lot of agreeable late 1970s/early 1980s jams (in other words lite rock…Leo Sayer, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, that song from “Superman: The Movie” that Lois Lane says as a monologue, “Can You Read My Mind”). Then I think around noon I would have what I’d call “Mandatory Matthews” which would be about three or four songs from Dave Matthews Band back to back…but (like I’ve said before) none of that LIVE stuff because one song is likely to fill up a whole hour. I’d probably fill the 1 to 6 PM hour with stuff like Coldplay, Heart, Bryan Adams, Phil Collins, just good agreeable stuff. From about 6 PM to 8PM I might play some new alternative music that wouldn’t offend anyone. From 8 PM to 10 PM I think I would bust out songs by Prince like “Let’s Get Crazy” or “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”, or some songs by Expose’ like “Seasons Change” or “Point of No Return”.
By closing time (and no…I wouldn’t play “Closing Time” by Semisonic…that would be too much of a cliché) I would probably play the same three songs each and every night: First I would play the extended theme song from the TV Show “Moonlighting” sung by Al Jarreau (”Some walk by night, some fly by day…”). Then I would play “Take Me Home Tonight” by (Steady) Eddie Money. The final song I would play before I told everyone good night would be “Everytime I Close My Eyes” by Kenny G and Babyface (I like to call him “Face”). By the way, if for some reason you’re in a car with me and this song plays you better bring earplugs because I usually turn it up more and more as the song progresses.
So as you can tell, I’ve put a lot of meaningless thought in being aware of the kind of music that plays in department stores. I guess that’s what you get for whistling in public.
One last thing…if by some chance you’re in a department store and it’s near closing time and you hear “Everytime I Close My Eyes” by Kenny G. and Face, know that it’s probably me and I’ve finally gotten my dream job of being an in-house DJ for a department store. If you want to, and if you have time, it’d be cool if you stuck around the parking lot for a bit and maybe we could go out for a drink or two and I could whistle for you what will be on the next day’s playlist.