Bulletin Board, excerpt

Lead entry in (St. Paul Pioneer Press) Bulletin Board, January 7, 2004; part II, Jan. 10, 2004

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Why is everyone giggling? Why is Poet X blubbering?

Writes Poet X of PDX: "Being able to wear headphones at work (doing data entry) is a double-edged privilege.

"The funniest thing is taking them off to walk to a different part of the room and hearing, say, four people wearing headphones giggle from different parts of the room at the same time: A few people listen to the same radio call-in show and are laughing at something said there.

"I prefer listening to CDs and have found not surprisingly, I guess that music featuring a perky piano is conducive to some perky keyboarding of my own. I've sometimes wondered, as I listen to Ray Charles perform 'What'd I Say,' if I have an audience behind me watching my lively rendition.

"One must be wary, though, of songs that inspire other emotions. I mean, specifically, tears. A few weeks back, I was listening to Bronski Beat's 'The Age of Consent' CD. Lead singer Jimmy Somerville was singing 'No more war, please,' in his flawless falsetto. Something about the song being 20 years old and all the wars that have occurred since it was first put onto vinyl had me fighting back tears like a driver on ice fighting a tailspin. I don't want to imagine a co-worker bringing me something and finding me at my console inconsolable.

"A week later or so, it happened again when I was listening to the radio (special occasion: A local station was celebrating 35 years on the air, playing and provoking long-lost memories). 'Sky Pilot' was the song to nearly prompt the waterworks: 'Sky pilot, how high can you fly?' A chilling song for wartime, then as now.

"Tom Jones's 'Green, Green Grass of Home' is another song I have to be very careful to play only if I'm not feeling 'on the edge' emotionally.

"Best to stick to Ray Charles or Dr. John at the keyboards while at my own keyboard."


Wednesday's Bulletin Board brought you some cautionary words, from the personal experience of Poet X of PDX, about listening to music at work (data entry, w/headphones). No sooner had we published that one than we heard again from Poet X of PDX:

"How could I have missed this? Besides avoiding songs that might make one cry, one must avoid songs that otherwise cause one to sing along.

"The only time I'm sure I've sung aloud is the unavoidable 'Mercy!' in Roy Orbison's 'O Pretty Woman.'

"A couple nights ago, it was all I could do not to join in my favorite line in the Broadway cast album of 'A Chorus Line.' Heads would have turned as they walked by my cubicle and heard a male voice lilting: '(Mammary glands), where are my (mammary glands)?'

" 'Tramp,' an early-'60s duet by Otis & Carla, is another sure-fire want-to-sing-along-but-can't. ('Otis? You're a tramp.')

"Having been, in my youth, in two separate productions of 'The Music Man' makes that soundtrack especially dangerous for listening to while keyboard-flailing. ('Goodnight, ladies, goodnight, ladies,' anyone?)

"Here's the irony: I got the Walkman and started using it at work to drown out the singing-along of the woman one cubicle away from me."

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