Thursday, February 7, 2019
I'll Never Stop Being Amazed
Driving into school today I tuned in to the Underground Garage on SiriusXM as Palmyra Delran's new song "Tragedy Ann" was playing. I've been a fan of Delran since I saw her band the Friggs tear it up at the late, lamented Sleazefest down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina ten or so years ago. I haven't listened to her new record, yet before I'd made a right turn I was singing along with the chorus, notes and words I'd never heard before in this arrangement, this tune, this performance—singing along as if it was the hundredth time.
Fifteen minutes later, I board the elevator in Zulauf Hall to go up to my office on the tenth floor, and just before the door closes the adjacent elevator opens and off pops a guy heartily, and loudly, singing the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B." All I hear was a line as he disappears—my grandfather and me—yet before my elevator reaches the second floor I'm singing the song to myself, then whistling it as I get off the elevator, now idly wondering who's going to take the torch from here: catch the tune consciously or otherwise from me—carry it inside, sing it aloud, or hum it—to the song's next magical destination, as an earworm or a gift. It's been hours, and I bet the the trail of "Sloop John B"'s is still going strong, somewhere, in the hallway of an office building, in an aisle of Hy-Vee, in someone's car whose radio's on the blink, in a bedroom where a new mom is laying down her baby, a trail lit back when I heard a stranger sing a song today.