During a recent daily FaceTime call with our Seattle daughter, Scooter (not Jamie’s real name), she suggested we listen to some podcasts. I reluctantly put away my latest ‘cure for the common boredom’ (the vacuum cleaner) figuring once a day use was sufficient and downloaded the Apple podcast app onto our iPhones.
Lounging in bed the next morning, Most Beautiful One (MBO) and I listened to an episode of The Moth Radio Hour which is a series of story-driven shows on the topics of music, design, history, humor and more. We saw The Moth show live several years ago and used to listen to it on NPR while driving, so we were familiar with these moving and often hilarious personal accounts.
In my make-believe world (where I’m spending a considerable amount of time during this forced stay-at-home period), I imagine standing on the Moth stage at Benaroya Hall in Seattle sharing a humorous but poignant story about the time MBO and I first fell in love. The audience would be spellbound (or sleeping – it’s difficult to tell) as I grasp an old-fashioned microphone in both hands and relate the following anecdote (which, by the way, is true)…
The year was 1968, Nixon was running for president, MBO was 17, and I was 18. Due to a lapse of parental character judgement, I was not allowed to date her. After a secret rendezvous at a friend’s house for some culturally appropriate inhaling, we decided to hitchhike to the Hollywood apartment where I was camping on a ratty old living room couch while attending UCLA.
At this point, I would pause to sing a few lines from a pre-Monkees’ 1965 song by Davy Jones:
So what are we going to do
When the word gets out
How are they going to stop us
When it gets about
So what are we going to do
We’re going to tell them we’re in love
Then I would continue…
A used wide Oldsmobile swerved over to the curb on Robertson Boulevard to give us a ride. While I scrambled inside followed by MBO, I noticed the driver’s eyes were extremely dilated, and his hands were tightly gripping the steering wheel. As he accelerated into traffic, he handed me a well-worn pack of Camels and told me to pull out the last cigarette. Unfortunately, I shared his shaking hand syndrome (mine out of fear) and accidentally broke the cigarette in half. This made him furious, and he proceeded to tell us he had just stolen the car and was going to do terrible things to us.
At each intersection, I kept nudging MBO to jump out of the car, but she thought I wanted her to remain still. Finally, for some reason we will never understand, he let us off at a large lawn on La Cienega Boulevard in front of a public building and sped away. We collapsed onto the grass and swore to never hitchhike again, except we needed to get to my place and the cell phone and Uber had yet to be invented.
So, one last time, MBO stuck out her thumb; we were picked up by a trendy looking fellow in an open yellow dune buggy. When we climbed in, we immediately recognized the driver as Davy Jones of The Monkees! He was delightful and drove us all the way to Hollywood. To this day, whenever we hear Theme from the Monkees, we reflect on how fortunate we were to have escaped such a harrowing situation.
In this fantasy, I would conclude my Moth story by reciting these four song lyrics in a very loud voice:
Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around
But we’re too busy singing
To put anybody down
The audience, of course, would go wild (or not)!
During this pandemic, the music of the Monkees reminds me not to lose my silliness (impossible!) and to appreciate everyone who spreads kindness.
Stay home and stay safe!
Other titles by Mike during Covid-19:
Pema Chodron and the Coronavirus
Helen Keller and the Coronavirus
Prince Hamlet and the Coronavirus
ABOUT MIKE LISAGOR – Mike Lisagor plays harmonica and sings in Good Karma Blues. He has written hundreds of magazine articles and blogs on a variety of business and Buddhist related topics. He is the author of “Romancing the Buddha,” which he adapted into a successful one-man show that he performed at Bainbridge Performing Arts and in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. His nature photographs have appeared in the Boston Globe, Bainbridge Island Magazine, Living Buddhism as well as in several local galleries. His latest graphic art project, “Reimagined Nature”, is in the lobby of New Motion Physical Therapy.