Are They Playing Your Song?

“I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.”—Forrest Gump

It may be "your" song, but does it reflect the real you?

As a college kid in the ‘80s, I used to marvel at the phenomenon of sorority girls—or any cluster of girls partying together—going crazy when certain songs came on over the radio or nightclub sound system.

It was like this song was the group’s “anthem” and really spoke to the things they held near and dear. The first few notes would start and there would be a collective gasp. Fists would pump in the air and you would hear people saying “Oh…My…God!” with big dramatic pauses in between the words.

Maybe one of the girls would begin to cry, or two of them would hug and sob.

Having been a cynic my whole life, I would always try to level the moment. I’d ask, “Why are you guys flipping out over this song?”

One would say something like: “They played this song when we were on Spring Break together last year and it got us through the worst things. It is OUR song.”

ME: “Sweet Home Alabama?”


ME: “To Alabama? Why?

THEM: “Well, it’s our SONG!”

ME: “Do you know anyone in Alabama or what kind of things they do there? I mean, what city are you going to in Alabama?”

THEM: “Whatever! We ARE SO THERE!”

ME: “Have fun…”

THEM: “Whooooooo Hooooooooo!”

This kind of event seemed to repeat itself for years after school, too.

I would be in a club and Springsteen would break into “Born To Run” over the sound system and the nerdiest, book-wormiest friend of mine would look up and close his eyes.

“What’s wrong?” I’d ask.

HIM: “This song. It’s MY song.”

ME: “Born To Run? Tramps like us, baby we were born to run? C’mon, dude, you can’t run without your asthma inhaler. How is this your song?”

HIM: “Shhhh. Let me listen!”

And with that he would close his eyes and go on this dream sequence trip that I never really could believe applied to him.

Or maybe a girl I would take out to dinner would hear “Desperado” by the Eagles. She would smile a tight confident smile at me like she was entering a zone I simply could not understand.

Like she was this complicated, poetic femme fatale and I simply did not know what I was in for messing with a gal like this and her cold, hard heart.

The Eagles were singing: “Your prison is walking through this world all alone … You better let somebody love you before it’s too late.” She’d stare at the floor and shake her head.

“Is there something wrong with your salmon?” I would innocently ask.

She’d snicker, “No. No it’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”

ME: (Wanting to avoid the story) “OK.”

HER: (Continuing anyway) “You see, Ron, I’ve been hurt before. And I’ve hurt people, too. Are you sure you’re up for this little friendship?”

ME: * sigh * “Probably not. Waiter? Check please.”

See? It seems we all see ourselves differently than the world really sees us.

These people and their reactions to the songs had elevated themselves to movie roles where they were the central and most important character.

I guess that’s healthy in many ways, but when that perspective is lost and people begin to take themselves too seriously, I think we need to wheel out the portable “Flake-o-meter” and provide the obligatory reality check.

Last week, Miami Heat basketball player LeBron James mentioned that he could envision finishing his career right back where it all started—in Cleveland.

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