Amy Grant, I Will Remember You

When I was about 7 years old, I was introduced to one of the greatest American singers of my generation. Sure, you may not have heard of her, but I thought she was the BEST. Her name was Amy Grant and she inspired my short-lived love for pop music.

What a gorgeous velour dress!

My grandparents bought my sister and I some new cassette tapes for Christmas. I was given one of Tina Turner’s tapes and my sister received Amy Grant’s tape called “Heart in Motion.” My sister and I shared everything, so this meant that essentially, we both received two new tapes. And even if she didn’t want to share Amy with me, she had no choice. We shared a room and there was nothing she could do to prevent me from hearing these magical tunes.

This tape included such hits as “Baby Baby,” “That’s What Love is For,” “Good for Me,” “I Will Remember You” and “Every Heartbeat.” I listened to these songs over and over. Her music was so meaningful and full of life. “Baby Baby” was my favorite track. The best part was that I was allowed to listen to her as much as I wanted because her music was kid-friendly, unlike a certain famous musician of the time who always seemed to be wearing oddly shaped braziers and no top.

It turns out that Amy was already a highly successful Christian musician by the time I learned of her. I guess she decided to cross into the mainstream and thank goodness for that. This particular album proved to be widely popular, hitting the top of the charts and even winning her a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year (she lost).

As you know, life is full of changes. For some reason, as time passed by, Amy drifted out of my musical repertoire. She was substituted with other musicians, including Ace of Base, Mariah Carey and Rod Stewart. Eventually Amy’s songs no longer played on the radio and it seemed that everyone had forgotten about her.

Approximately 20 years later (this summer), I jumped on the Apple bandwagon and bought my first iPhone. First of all, this is probably the best purchase I’ve made in years. I’m still trying to figure out how Blackberry is still in business. Anyway, shortly after buying my phone, I discovered the joy of downloading music directly from iTunes to my phone. I had taken a long hiatus from keeping up with music because I dreaded dealing with my ancient computer when transferring songs to my iPod. I finally bought a new computer and once I had my new phone, I went on a music-buying binge, purchasing song after song until my iTunes giftcard no longer carried a balance. Even when that happened, I kept purchasing.

Among the plethora of songs added to my collection was the entire “Heart in Motion” album. I’m not sure why Amy popped into my head out of nowhere, but this was a long overdue reunion. The second I heard the first part of “Good for Me,” I was instantly taken back to my childhood. I could still remember exactly how the song went and took a lovely walk down memory lane. This continued for several tracks, until I got to the song titled “Hats.” I had already decided I must have had great taste in music as a kid, but suddenly I started to rethink this. This was the worst song I had ever heard.

I have a bad habit of listening to songs for years before I actually pay attention to the words. I decide I like a song based on the overall feel and don’t always consider the message that is being conveyed. This usually makes me feel like a horrible person. I’ll suddenly decide to listen to the words one day and realize the beautiful love song I’ve cherished for years is actually a song about physical abuse or death. I’m not kidding, this happens all the time.

I assume this is what happened with “Hats.” This song isn’t grim or depressing like many songs turn out to be. No, this song was just awful and somehow I never took notice the first time around. I didn’t remember anything about it as an adult. Clearly it didn’t make a big impression, but still, how could I have heard this and not had some serious concerns? It’s about a woman who has many responsibilities (mother, wife, employee, etc.). Therefore, she wears many hats. That’s fine I guess, but still, the song is not good at all. If you would like to hear it, look it up, I don’t know how to link to songs. Here are the lyrics (they’re lengthy, just peruse the first few parts and you’ll get the picture):

The sun goes up
The breakfast show
Can’t you see me running?
It’s crazy, don’t you know?
(Don’t you know, don’t you know?)

The moon is high
I’m workin’ through the night
Will somebody tell me
Where do all the hours go?
(I don’t know)

Well, it don’t stop
No, it’s never gonna stop
Why do I have to wear
So many things on my head?
(HATS!)

One day I’m a mother
One day I’m a lover
What am I supposed to do?
(HATS!)

Working for a livin’
All because I’m driven
To be the very best for you

The water is hot
(So hot)
The phone don’t stop
(Hello, good bye)

So how do I manage
To hold on to my sanity
(I don’t know, baby, I don’t know)

The red dress on
Time for having fun
(Time for having fun)
But can I really be
The girl you think you see me?

The spirit is willing
But the flesh is weak
Why do I have to wear
So many things on my head?
(HATS!)

One day I’m a mother
(One day I’m a mother)
One day I’m a lover
(One day I’m a lover)
What am I supposed to do?
(HATS!)

Working for a livin’
(Working for a livin’)
All because I’m driven
(All because I’m driven)
To be the very best for you
(HATS!)

One day I’m a mother
(One day I’m a mother)
One day I’m a lover
(One day I’m a lover)
What am I supposed to do?
(HATS!)

Working for a livin’
All because I’m driven
To be the very best for you

This may be a dream come true
This may be poetry in motion
This may be a dream come true
But when it all comes down
It’s an often lot to do

It don’t stop no it’s never gonna stop
Why do I have to wear
Thing on my head?
(HATS!)
One day I’m a mother
(One day I’m a mother)
One day I’m a lover
(One day I’m a lover)
What am I supposed to do?
(HATS!)

Working for a livin’
(Working for a livin’)
All because I’m driven
(All because I’m driven)
To be the very best for you
(HATS!)

One day I’m a mother
(One day I’m a mother)
One day I’m a lover
(One day I’m a lover)
What am I supposed to do?
(HATS!)

Working for a livin’
All because I’m driven
To be the very best
Very best nah, nah, nah
(Nah, nah, nah)
(HATS!)

What am I supposed to do?
(HATS!)

Working for a livin’
(Working for a livin’)
All because I’m driven
(All because I’m driven)
To be the very best

It don’t stop
No, it’s never gonna stop
Why do I have to wear?
Why to I have to wear?
(HATS!)

One day I’m a mother
One day I’m a lover
What am I supposed to do?
(HATS!)

Working for a livin’
All because I’m driven

I suppose we all make mistakes. As much as my blood curdles every time I hear this song, I can’t turn my back on Amy. Her other hits are too great to dismiss. I will continue to listen to Amy’s songs for years to come. I’ll tell my children and grandchildren about her, insisting that she was the greatest musical act of my time, much like my parents try to do with The Beatles. Okay, okay. I know you’re up in arms over that comment. I’m just kidding. I love The Beatles and appreciate their contributions to music. But I also love Amy Grant. Sure, they may not be comparable, but she helped form my personality and did not influence me to do drugs, unlike a certain band did with an entire generation.

It’s a Man’s World

Throughout the history of mankind, societies have traditionally been ruled by men.  Over the past few centuries, women have become increasingly frustrated with being oppressed and have begun fighting for equality.  In more recent years, this has been achieved by protesting for the right to vote, the right to receive equal pay and the right to wear pants on a regular basis.

While great progress has been made in the quest for equality, there are a few things that I believe are continuing to hold us back.  Men have been the recipients of unfair advantages for years and it’s just not right.  Many of these advantages are obvious:

  • Not being expected to both work and care for children, pets and home
  • Ability to watch sad movies without sobbing
  • Inability to give birth
  • Ability to pee outdoors with ease

However, some advantages are far less noticeable to the average woman.  Unfortunately, because these issues aren’t readily apparent, corrective action has not yet been taken.  Girls, it’s time for change!

While reading about these unfair advantages, I suggest you ask yourself if you have missed any significant opportunities as a result of men being so lucky.  If the answer is “yes,” find a man to yell at over it (but please, don’t tell him whose idea that was).

Unfair Advantage #1:  Dictator-like control over indoor temperature

As a young girl, I could remember waking up in a cold house, reaching for something warm to wear for the journey from my bed to the bathroom.  As I grew older, I found out that the temperature in the house could actually be controlled by a little dial next to the coat closet.  I couldn’t understand why we were living in such harsh conditions if it didn’t have to be that way.  I eventually learned that we kept it so cold because my dad found this to be “comfortable.”  Hmm…maybe I wasn’t paying attention in class the day we learned the definition of “comfortable.”   I assumed he was just very warm-natured and I was willing to make a sacrifice if that were the case.  I could make it through 18 years of frigid existence as long as I could look forward to a future in which those I would share living, schooling or work space with also enjoyed living in toasty peace. 

Those were hollow dreams.  I went on to college, where I consistently carried at least one heavy sweater or jacket with me at all times.  Do you know how hard it is to do well on an essay test when your fingers are so cold you can barely scribble your name?  If you’re a guy, no, you don’t know.  This thought has never even crossed your mind, because you consider a 65 degree classroom to be pleasant.  You also probably scored higher than me on said test because your brain power was spent focusing on the questions, while my brain was focused on mere survival.  I have actually raced through tests and quizzes before so that I could escape to a warmer environment.  And you know who suffered most as a result of such mistreatment?  My GPA.  I wonder what scholarships or awards I missed out on.  I guess I’ll never know.

I frequently experience the same discrimination now that I’m a working girl (not that kind).  I typically work in a conference room with 2-10 other people, and more often than not, at least one of these people is male.  Well, guess who gets to control the thermostat?  Yes, the man.  Sometimes if I get there first I’ll adjust the temperature to a moderate 73 degrees or so.  I’ll work happily for about an hour until a male states that he’s burning up.  Before I know it I’m sitting in what feels like a walk-in freezer. 

Men- I don’t take issue with your thinking 85 degrees is too warm.  I get it.  I’ll never experience pure comfort as long as a guy is in the same vicinity.  However, I do object to your overly-used statement that it’s better to be cold than hot.  Of course nobody can work well when it’s too warm, but I don’t think you understand how difficult it is for us girls to work when we’re so cold.  Men say that you can always put on more clothes but you can’t always take more off.  Again, I get it.  But what exactly do you want me to do when A/C gusts are causing my body to shut down?  I can only wear so many sweaters without looking completely ridiculous, not that that even matters at the point when your bones are cold.  And guess what?  I can’t exactly put a blanket over my face.  Perhaps you’d like me to wear a ski-mask while I work?  Trust me, I would love to if it were socially acceptable.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to sip on hot beverages throughout the day, hoping that they’ll assist in the thawing process.

So, at what point is this temperature thing straight up discrimination?  Sometimes I feel that men are trying to make me quit as a result of torturous working conditions.  Men, we’re really not asking for that much, just a happy medium.

Unfair Advantage #2:  The Clothing Situation

You know how couples joke about how the man only gets a fraction of the closet space that the woman gets?  There’s a reason for that:  women are expected to maintain a high degree of clothing variety, while guys can rotate the same three outfits for all of their adult life and nobody would even notice.  Over time, this can take a serious toll on a woman’s chances of success.  We have four major clothing-related hurdles standing between us and our goals:

  • The cost of clothing:  On average, women spend approximately 17 times the amount of money on clothes that men do.  This severely impacts our savings rate, which in turn reduces how much we invest and causes us to have to retire 4 years later than men. 
  • The requirement to match:  It is very difficult for a man to screw up when it comes to matching his clothes.  When you have 3 pairs of khakis and 5 button-up shirts, the chances of them going together is pretty high.  On the other hand, women are faced with the great challenge of deciding which of 20 pairs of pants or skirts goes with one of 50 shirts.  This may be considered “fun” to some, but not this chick.  My friends and I are currently campaigning to get the accounting profession to adopt the use of scrubs for this very reason.
  • Shopping:  I know that most girls love shopping, but I find it to be a necessary evil.  I would rather do anything else than shop.  Once again, the guys lucked out with this one.  There are many reasons I dread shopping, but the main reason is that it’s close to impossible to find clothes that fit.  But not for men.  A man can either a) go into a store, pick out a shirt without trying it on, pay and be out the door all within 15 minutes or b) wait for his wife to come home with new clothes for him.  That must be the life.  This, however, is the typical shopping experience for some of us:
    • Decide you need to go shopping
    • Schedule a shopping trip for the coming weekend
    • When weekend comes, get hives just thinking about going shopping
    • Four weeks later, finally go to mall
    • Try on 23 articles of clothing, only to be reminded that you have a freak body since nothing fits
    • Cry a little in the dressing room
    • Try on 14 more articles of clothing
    • Finally cave and purchase one or two things even though they look terrible
    • Pay a small fortune
    • Leave
    • Return clothes next weekend
    • Vow never to go shopping again
    • Repeat
  • The pain:  Men, do you ever wonder why your wife/girlfriend is on edge at the end of the day?  I’ll tell you why.  She’s been walking around town all day in “shoes,” which I think should actually be called “pain makers.”  Something is truly amiss in the world when we have the choice to wear semi-unstylish shoes that enable us to walk (as shoes were intended to do) or to wear cute shoes that make our feet BLEED, and we repeatedly choose the latter.  I don’t know how this whole high-heel business started, but I don’t get the impression that guys are on our side.  If they have a choice to ask out a girl wearing heels or a girl wearing flats, he’s gonna pick the one with heels.* Guys also get to wear socks daily.  This is enough to make me consider a risky and fairly controversial operation.  I LOVE socks, but alas, the use of socks by women still isn’t widely accepted in the workplace.  This is another reason men stay warmer than women, by the way.

Unfair Advantage #3:  Having all the time in the World

According to my calculations, women spend a total of 2 more hours each day getting ready in the morning and for bed than men do.  This equates to men getting 10 additional hours of sleep during the week.  Are you kidding me?!  This is the greatest discriminatory injustice of all.  So, if women are already comparable in work performance, what does this mean?  It means that those feminists of yesteryear had it wrong all along.  We don’t deserve equal pay for equal jobs, we deserve more pay.   We are exhausted.  And I’ll show you why this is so:**

Female Morning Routine:                                                           

  • Brush teeth
  • Shower
  • Shampoo and condition
  • Maybe shave legs
  • Wash face
  • Brush hair
  • Dry hair
  • Curl hair if naturally straight
  • Straighten hair if naturally curly
  • Put on moisturizer and/or lotion
  • Put on make-up
  • Agonize over what to wear
  • Iron selected outfit
  • Realize selected outfit is ugly
  • Agonize over what to wear (again)
  • Iron newly selected outfit
  • Find matching jewelry and shoes

Female Evening Routine:

  • Put bandages on foot blisters caused by heels
  • Floss
  • Brush Teeth
  • Wash Face
  • Scream when seeing self in mirror without make-up
  • Put on moisturizer and/or lotion

Male Morning Routine:

  • Maybe brush teeth
  • Hopefully shower
  • Maybe shave face

Male Evening Routine:

  • Maybe brush teeth

So, it’s confirmed:  men get everything.*** Men, if you want to help out the women folk, I beg of you, don’t utter the words “I’m tired” before 2 PM.  We know that you rolled out of bed 15 minutes before leaving the house.  If you care about us, you’ll say things like “I’m considering joining a cause to outlaw high-heels” or “I wish you women wouldn’t wear make-up, it’s really overwhelming your naturally beautiful faces.” And for the sake of your dental hygiene, please brush your teeth at least twice daily.

*Assuming he’s not made to feel like a little person when standing next to her.

**This list doesn’t even apply to those with kids.  I can’t imagine the horror of adding that into the mix.

*** Except the option to carry a purse.  I actually pity them for that.

I Have an Adrenaline Dream

If there’s one thing Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us, it’s that we can all have a dream (I interpret this to also mean “dreams”).  Whether it’s graduating from college, climbing Mt. Everest or furthering the civil rights cause, we all have something we aspire to achieve. 

This evening I was reminded of my very own long-since developed dream.  I had just taken the life of a spider by smashing it in a rather violent manner (and then dousing it in Black Flag when I saw remaining signs of life).  It was my own fault that he was in the house.  Coco was staying over and I left the back door open for her to wander in and out at her leisure.  After coming inside for the 12th time in the last hour, I saw her trying to paw at something under the recliner.* I took a gander and saw a small beetle squirming through the carpet.  Having just killed a similar creature, I could understand her desire to remove this pest.

In order to get to the bug, the chair would have to be moved.  My moving the chair for the sole purpose of bug-murder seemed a bit extreme, but I had to do it for the pup.  I also didn’t want this thing crawling around my house all willy-nilly.  I mean come on, people sleep here.

As I lifted the chair, I was surprised by how light it was.  This doesn’t make any sense since I’ve moved it several times before and should know its approximate weight by now.  (You get used to doing such man-tasks when being a husbandless home owner).  Anyway, as I set the chair down, I was reminded of an idea I came up with long ago.  It was similar to the lifting of the chair, but on a much grander (and cooler) scale.

This fantastic dream developed as a result of the pairing of two things:

1)  My ability to think up ridiculous, yet brilliant ideas (according to myself)

2)  My abnormally alert nature, which causes me to have cat-like reflexes and adrenaline rushes of an above average frequency and intensity (according to myself)

I was a teenager at the time and most likely, adrenaline had just been flowing through my veins as a result of one of the following completely harmless events:

  • Being startled by the sound of a car door shutting 16 houses down
  • Jumping on the trampoline in an upward, non-eventful fashion
  • Tripping on something, which would inevitably turn out to be nothing

I don’t recall how the conversation started, but I told my mother that I would like to lift a car off the ground one day.  Yes, you heard correctly- an automobile

You’re probably wondering how a woman who resembles Olive Oil (the Popeye character, not the actual oil) could ever pull off such a feat.  I’ll tell you how.  When humans are pushed to their limits, they can achieve the unthinkable, including lifting cars off the ground.  It’s happened before, but only to a very lucky few.  

I know this because every time I see a story about a car-lifting rescue on the news, I feel compelled to send the link to my family as proof that it is possible.  Sure, most of those involved in these stories are usually twice my size and are often assisted by several other people, but still.  It’s possible.  Check out the links below if you, too, are skeptical:

Man Lifts Car to Save Child

Child saved in Boca Raton after being pinned beneath car

Mother’s Superhuman Strength Lifts Car from Boy

I felt that with my ability to generate adrenaline rather easily there had to be an untapped power source within me. I explained to my mother that all I needed was a significant jolt of adrenaline.  But how would I obtain this?

 I knew that an ordinary scare wouldn’t do the trick.  No, something really big would have to take place.  I needed to be in the presence of a near-tragedy in order to set off my survival-mode instincts.  This is where I encountered my first hurdle.  How could I know that something potentially devastating was going to occur without causing it myself?  I thought about setting a house on fire or letting a shark loose in a swimming pool full of children, but eventually decided both of these would be in poor taste.  But then, something dawned on me.  An accident doesn’t actually have to happen, I just have to think it’s happening.  I did some quick brainstorming and revealed the plan:

I would need someone to place a very realistic looking dummy under a vehicle.  They would have to plan it like a surprise party.  Everything would have to be kept hush-hush beforehand so that I couldn’t possibly know it was coming.  I would be prompted to go outside, at which time I would see the unthinkable: a loved-one being crushed underneath thousands of pounds of whatever cars are made out of.  Without hesitation, I would run to their rescue, lifting the car with all my might.  My dream would be realized.

Now, for an event of this nature to be successful, it would have to be pulled off without a hitch.  To ensure this happens, I put together a few rules for those in charge of executing the plan. 

The rules are:

  • The dummy must look just like a family member.  It will need to wear a recognizable outfit, have similar features and, if at all possible, contain a device that would cause its limbs to wiggle
  • The dummy cannot resemble any of my arch enemies, as I may choose to let nature take its course and not carry out the rescue operation.  This would make me look bad.
  • The vehicle should be a commonly purchased make and model.  Please, no Smart Cars, buses, or semi-trucks.  Let’s be real.
  • Cameras must be set up at various locations surrounding the scene of the incident in order to capture the event from several different angles.   If people aren’t going to believe this story, it might as well have never happened at all. 
  • Do NOT help me lift the car. 
  • Please have a hearty snack and a glass of water waiting for me after the lift.  Picking up cars can take a lot out of a person.

Pretty cool, right?  Truth be told, this inner power is within you, too.  I assume you would like to experience something of this sort now that you can visualize the grandness of it all.  It pains me to think that you may never get such an opportunity, as your friends and family will likely label this as “preposterous” and dismiss the idea before you even get to the part about the dummy.    

So, now that you’re on your own, you need a method to extract the power.  Famous athletes will try to convince you that all you need is a swig of Gatorade or a protein shake, but clearly these are just marketing ploys.  I mean, come on.  When was the last time you consumed one of these drinks and felt you could lift a car?  Never.  That’s why I have developed a new sports beverage to assist in your valiant efforts:

Your favorite Adrenaline-laced sports drink!

Adrenalade is a tasty concoction packed with Vitamin C, anti-oxidants, a rich berry flavor and plenty of adrenaline.  It will propel you to a level of greatness you didn’t even know you could reach.  It will make all of your wildest dreams come true.**

Due to some delays in production and lack of FDA approval, this product is not yet available to the public.  I’ll have to get back to you on that…

* To be very clear, this is a modern recliner

**Assuming your dreams consist of lifting cars