Jake has the local classic rock station streaming on the computer, and I leave it on as I sit down to answer my email.
The Allman Brothers.
And then the opening chords of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. There is something about this song that makes me want to cry. It’s such an unnecessary bummer. It’s 1970’s drug-addled navel gazing. Why go there?
As I reach to turn it down, Jake says, “Ohhhh, I love this song.”
I sigh, and leave the song on.
“Of course you love it, ” I say, “you’re a teenage male. I think you’re legally required to slowly bob your head to the rhythm of this song.”
Jake grins, “To Stairwell to Heaven?”
I love him. Jake is famous for his mispeaks.
“Well, maybe not to STAIRWELL to Heaven. Maybe STAIRWAY to Heaven. “
“But…” He laughs, trying to salvage his cool, “a stairwell and a stairway are the same thing!”
“Noooo, not so much. A stairwell is where you put the stairway.”
I pull up Dictionary.com’s definition and read it to him.
” ‘A stairwell is a vertical shaft or opening containing a stairway.’ No, I don’t think a stairwell alone is going to get her to Heaven. If it had a stairway IN it, then maybe. But otherwise it’s more like ‘Empty Open Shaft To Heaven.’ Then the song is even MORE depressing.”
I put on my best Robert Plant face, trying to look as if I’m both bored by my coolness and in deep, emotional pain. I start to sing along:
There’s a lady who’s sure
That her stairwell needs more
For right now it is em–pty
With no stairs.
There’s a builder she gets
He builds stairways out west
And his spirit is crying to
“See?” I ask, “Now the song is about construction. I’m not sure it would have been such a big hit if they had gone in that direction.”
“Wow. Thanks for clarifying, Mom.”
“You’re welcome, honey.”
Because the song goes on interminably, it’s still on, and we get back to work as it plays out. Every time the chorus comes around, both of us sing, “And she’s building a staircase to Heaven!”
The song finally ends, and as the next comes on, Jake groans.
It’s Journey, Wheel In The Sky. I can’t stand Journey. I can’t stand that voice. While making up my owns words to Led Zeppelin was a first, I always sing along with Journey. My lyrics are always about the same subject.
Jake is shaking his head before I even break into song, before I even start with the high, nasal falsetto. He knows what’s coming.
I turn up Journey, and start singing along:
I sing this way because my pants
My pants are tight that’s why I ca-a-a-n’t
I can’t sing just a little bit lower
My testes are shoved up under my ribs
No one has seen my testes in ye-e-a-a-ars
Oh, maybe I should go put on some boxers.
Oh, the wheel in the sky keeps on turning,
Don’t know where my gonads are hiding!
Wheel in the sky keeps on turning.
I make up verse after verse as the song plays out, all about pants so tight they’ve caused testicular damage; about all the places where Steve Perry’s gonads could be lodged, causing him to sing with this ridiculous voice.
Because really, why else would someone sing that way? Exactly.