What Are Your Pop Culture Quirks?
If you’re passionate about pop culture, you’re bound to be a little quirky. The books you read, the music you listen to and the films and TV shows you watch eventually seep their way into your habits, memories and conversation.
I recently realized that I have all sorts of little things I do that are kind of interesting, strange or outright illogical. So I’m going to out myself as incredibly random person and present some of my own pop culture quirks.
Fall on Me
I could be in the subway, on the treadmill, or in the middle of a conversation. A few times I’ve even done this hearing the song live at an R.E.M. concert: I raise my arms each time I hear Michael Stipe sing, “lift your arms up to the sky” in the song “Fall on Me.” I wish I could say why I started doing this, or even when, but I honestly have no idea.
I don’t play Simon Says with any other R.E.M. song (for example, I don’t stand in the place where I live, then face north) or any pop song for that matter, but this is the one thing I do. I really can’t explain why.
Johnny Damon is an Angel
I’m not a baseball fan, but I was drawn in to the game when I lived in Boston and the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time since 1918. Many people were really excited–and hot for–the long-haired, scruffy Johnny Damon. Since he was supposed to be dreamy, every time I would see him come up to bat, I’d sing “Johnny Damon” to the tune of “Johnny Angel.” This quirk has stuck with me, even after I became a New Yorker and he a Yankee and then ex-Yankee.
Where Are They Now?
After finishing a TV season on DVD, I check out the show’s Wikipedia page and IMDB page, to get a sense of whether the actors I became attached to over 22 or more episodes still have promising careers. More often than not, this ritual leads to disappointment, when I see that so many of them have resumes littered with Law and Order guest spots or were third-billed stars in Lifetime movies.
I’ll Be There (But I Won’t Listen)
An extinct pop culture quirk: I vividly remember the first time I heard Mariah Carey’s MTV Unplugged cover of the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There.” It was in 7th grade, and I woke up just in time to hear the song premiered on Rick Dees’ KIIS-FM morning show. I immediately loved the song, but in my sleepy haze I missed the first lyric in the second verse.
After I listened to the song, for some inexplicable reason, I decided that I never wanted to know the lyric. Whenever I heard the song subsequent times, I’d actually block my ears or mute the song so I wouldn’t hear it. I think it was some weird junior high OCD thing, but unlike the “Fall on Me” quirk, it thankfully expired before high school. (In case you’re wondering, the line was “I’ll reach out my hand to you.”)
Shock and Awe
The Westing Game is one of my favorite books of all-time. I remember the exact moment I fell in love: it was during the reading of Sam Westing’s will when Grace Wexler is shocked by something she hears and exclaims out loud. The lawyer yells “sit down, Grace Windsor Wexler!” The lawyer then sheepishly explains that the admonition wasn’t coming from him, but was actually written in the will.
I think I gasped. I definitely laughed out loud. That sentence astounded and delighted me in a way no single book ever had before. And ever since I read it in elementary school, whenever I’ve experienced similar moments of euphoric surprise, I think of them as “Grace Windsor Wexler” moments.
90s TV Theme Songs
Whenever I hear the name “Martin,” I just can’t say the name. I have to say it like the way it is sung in the Martin theme song.
In a sort of similar vein, any time I see Brandy I automatically launch into “Mo to the! E to the!” from the Moesha theme song. (So it’s probably best I’m not a viewer of Dancing with the Stars.)
Yo Yo Yo Quiero
I think of all my pop culture quirks, this one has been with me the longest. Each time I visit San Francisco (and in fact was just there, which was the inspiration for this post), Divisadero Street inexplicably reminds me of I Love Lucy. Specifically, this episode. (Fast forward to the 2:10 mark.)
Whenever I see the word, I automatically hear Lucy singing this song, instead of her singing “Yo yo yo quiero” its “Divisadero.” And then I continue to have the tune stuck in my head for the rest of the time I’m in San Francisco.
So. Incredibly. Random.
What are your biggest pop culture quirks?