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10 Songs Indelibly Stamped Upon My Cortex - #5

2007-10-16 - 7:22 a.m.

Attempts To Watch Heroes Live Opposed to Downloading: 0 for 4

I'd rather drink okapi snot than another glass of Airborne. But as far as I know, okapi snot isn't supposed to cure a cold. But as soon as I find out that it does, it's okapi snot for me! I just typed "okapi snot" 3 times! Ok, now 4. That's odd. Of course, it's better than typing out the word "Intergalactic" 600 times. Damn. OK, on to the next installment of our series, which, with each passing entry, makes me think we may be surpassing 10 of these and perhaps shoot for a dozen. Or maybe a baker's dozen!! Who knows?! I'm feelin' crazy. Which is good, because this next song is all sorts of crazy . . .

#5. Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves - Cher

I started working at the Wallakers in the Fall of '99. It was not long after the insanity that was my 21st birthday. (Which, of course, doesn't even hold a candle to Ben and/or Rich's 21st birthdays) Frederick was working their, briefly, and I needed some cash flow as my alpaca farm was about 5 years ahead of its time. I started working there almost right after I applied and it was Playmobil wishes and Melissa & Doug dreams from then on out. I worked mostly with Andrea & Maura from the get-go, but it wasn't until a year or so in that Kate started working there too. Not long after Kate's arrival came the G. Wallakart and with it Justin, Al-Y, Shan-Y, and Hadlee. Meanwhile, Hannah & Becca were almost always skulking behind the shrubbry from time to time as well. Finally, Kate got too big for her toy-selling britches and moved on to greener pastures . . . 200 feet down the mall hall. At a jewelry cart. Personally, I feel the allure of being positioned within puking distance of Pretzel Time and T.C.B.Y. (and with it, my arch-enemy, Star) was too much for her to deny. But it was in Kate's Fox Run repositioning that made it possible for us to not only truly appreciate the mall psycho-nuggets for who they truly were (which was psycho), but to also slowly be driven insane by the mall's choice of blaring music. Specifically Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves."


     From the opening jangling guitar/banjo/harpsichord/calliope(??) chords of "Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves" it is evident what song it is. Especially if it's a slow night in the mall and it comes blaring out of the loudspeakers. Before Kate had moved down the hall, there were many dead nights in the winter spent playing Honey Bee Tree and Pass the Pigs and hearing the psychotic lyrics of "Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves" in the background, even thundering over the the inanity of SugarBeats or the jungle bongos of the latest Putamayo selection. To be sure, Springsteen's, "Born to Run" got almost just as much airtime in the mall corridors and this excited us almost just as much. But as the Wallakers family ebbed and flowed, and we started playing fevered in-joke domino tournaments (example: Placing a "Volcano" domino on to the "Domino's Domino", which itself was connected to the "R.M.C.F.S.C.B.F. Domino". Yeah, we were pretty crazy). All the while though, "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" continued to play on the fucking radio. As soon as one of us would hear it, the other would call either the cart or the store and inform the other one that, "our song" was playing. Now, granted, I claim to almost every person I know that said person and I have "a song". It's usually whatever song is playing on the radio at the time. But who would EVER want "Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves" to be their song? Well, Kate and I would, that's who.

So in between ferrying Maxim & Stuff magazines back and forth to each other that we had marked up with our own idiot jokes involving the heat making my lips sweat, and Jonah Falcon, etc., we'd also run across mall denizens such as:
- Sylvia the Heavily Made-Up Psychotic (Homeless?) Woman who tried to get a job at the seasonal Hickory Farms while also begging to use everyone's phone so she could warn her loved ones the CIA was on its way.
- Dottie, who much ink has been spilled about so people can better know her insane doll naming, buffalo stealing, skelligan fearing ways
- Jonathon, the mousy clerk at CVS that Kate had an "imaginary" relationship
- Fat Tuesday, and her lesbian cadre
- Big Wig, the Jackie O. double with a 4 foot(!) beehive wig and Bono sunglasses, that pulled her hot pink suitcase on wheels up and down the mall halls
- Crazy Old Man, who would sit and talk to Kate for HOURS and drive her so batshit that she's have to secretly call the Wallakers so I could come down with a broom and chase him back into the mall's crawl space down by The Bombay Company.

All the while, Cher was intoning, "I was born in the wagon of a travellin' show / My mama used to dance for the money they'd throw / Papa would do whatever he could /Preach a little gospel, sell a couple bottles of doctor good". "Doctor Good"? What the fuck is that shit? A love potion? A cure for feline distemper? Crazy gypsies. But it gets better! How could it not?! It's a Cher song about gypsies! "Picked up a boy just south of Mobile / Gave him a ride, filled him with a hot meal / I was sixteen, he was twenty-one / Rode with us to Memphis / And papa woulda shot him if he knew what he'd done". Well, don't leave us in suspense Cher! What did he done?? What did that boy from just south of Mobile done?! Oh . . . I see. Well, I mean, you gave him a ride and filled him with a hot meal, and we all know those come in threes. Also, Cher first met Sonny when she was sixteen and he was 27(!), so . . . perhaps this song is a little more autobiographical than we once thought! Plus, Sonny found her playing around a gypsy caravan when they first met! Plus, he would come around every night and lie his money down! Ok, that last part isn't true at all and is just me lamely trying to retrofit the legend that is Sonny Bono into "Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves".

So now when I hear the song, which admitedly, being outside of the Fox Run Mall, isn't too often, I'm forced to think of all my fronds from the F.R.M. - psychotic and not. And wondering how we ever found our Mr. Blick's country of origin (Estonia) and wondering if the San Francisco Music Box Company is ever coming back (it isn't) and if it's true from Aly's M.A.S.H. game results that she's going to marry ToyKeeper Chris (she . . . isn't?). But mostly I think of a young girl named Kate, sitting lonley at her jewlery cart, deleting names from her cell phone, and spilling melted cheese from her taco bell dinner all over her glittery wares while the rich baritone of Cher tells her it's gonna be all right after all. As long as she buys 3 bottles of Doctor Good. It's a real steal! 3 for the price of 2! And she'll throw in Chastity Bono too! Oh you gypsies, always with the deal making!

Please step back at least 5 feet while watching the above video as Cher's monstrous hair could possibly strike you and paralyze you. Don't say I didn't warn you.

It's been real,

Wonky's Normal Eye

Next: We're plunging back into the 90's with a "mud-boggin'" classic that was almost the last song I ever heard

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