Monday, April 02, 2012

"Dustin" storyline prompts soul searching -- or at least iPod searching

One of my new favorite comic strips these days is "Dustin," by Steve Kelley & Jeff Parker. The title character is a 23-year old slacker kid who has finished college but hasn't found full-time employment or moved out of his parents' house.

I don't have one of those. So far. Thank God.

But I identify with Mr. Ed Kudlik, Dustin's father, a paunchy, balding, middle-aged lawyer. (Gosh... why would I find anything in common with someone like that?)

Last week's strips focused on the loss of Ed's iPod -- on which Dustin had thoughtfully inscribed his father's name and phone number so it could be returned if lost. Extortion ensues. I've included four from the set, which culminated on Sunday, to give you the gist of the storyline. (You can find all of these, for the time being, on the Chicago Tribune Comics Kingdom site.)

After this little story, I identify with Ed more than ever now: There's Barry Manilow on my iPod, too. And some Paul Anka, too (though not "Having My Baby"). There's Air Supply, and Bread and Meat Loaf and the Bee-Gees on my iPod as well.

In Sunday's strip, Mr. Kudlik tries to persuade the blackmailer that the threat of exposure does not frighten him. "Your threat [is] to disclose that I enjoy a healthy variety of popular music?" he asks. The blackmailer replies, "My mistake, Mr. Kudlik. I'm sure lots of professional, middle-aged men have six Bee Gees hits on their iPods."


I have 11 on mine. I just counted. Including the insufferable "New York Mining Disaster 1941." Oh sure, you don't remember the title. But if I start falsetto singing, "In the event of something happening to me/ There is something I would like you all to see...," years of therapy might come undone and, worse, that dumb song would be stuck in your head for a week. Even though you hated, hated, hated it when it was in the Top 40.

You give me a hard time here and I'll cue up Jim Stafford's "I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes."

I like having that stuff around, really, just in case I ever get tempted to think that popular music "then" was uniformly great.

I really do like a variety of music. Stevie Wonder just gave way -- just now -- to Artie Shaw on my iPod. Earth, Wind & Fire and Blood, Sweat & Tears and Tony Bennett. Louis Jordan -- the King of the Jukebox -- still reigns on my iPod, in heavy rotation. (When I was little, my father told me "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby" was the national anthem of the South Side of Chicago. I believed him.)

I've never traveled much. But when I'd go out of state for a deposition, one of the first things I'd do would be to look for the Oldies station on the rental car radio. I would generally be disappointed. I mean, I'm OK listening to Kansas, the Cars, Elton John or the Doobie Brothers for the thousandth time -- but there'd never be anything by the Temptations or Smokey Robinson or Lou Rawls. In Chicago we had both on our radio stations (WCFL and WLS). Was it really that different elsewhere?

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well i won't bother to tell you my ringtone is "stayin' alive"...

smiles, bee