Friday, November 26, 2004



By Glenn Cripes

When I was in grade school girls had cooties.

I first became aware of cooties around 3rd grade. Us boys played kickball on the playground, while the girls busied themselves with hopscotch and jumping rope, and we remained in separate camps. One time I wandered over to watch the girls play jump rope and listen to their jump rope rhymes. A bigger kid came up behind me and said 'Cripes, whatchoo doin? You gonna get cooties from them girls standing there like that.....what's wrong with you?'

Once the girls found out that they did indeed have cooties, they couldn't wait to give them to us. Cooties were transferred through a slap on the arm usually. If a girl tagged you, you had cooties, and they pretty much lasted the whole day. The only way to immunize one's self is to write CP (Cootie Protection) on your arm with a ball point pen. I actually did this up through 5th grade.

The fear of cooties disappeared with the onset of puberty of course. Raging hormones necessitated the commingling of the sexes. Boys and girls were forced to assimilate. Us guys did things unnatural to us like learn to dance, while the girls did their bit by pretending to laugh at our jokes and feigning a passing interest in things we liked.

Now that I'm older and married with grown children, I find that the males and females of my age group are once again free to revert to the natural order of things and hang out with our own kind. At our holiday get togethers the women huddle on their side of the room, free to discuss things that they care about (don't ask me what, I can't be bothered), while the fellows congregate elsewhere and do what we like to do (basically drinking). Once you get the sex thing out of the way, life reverts to the carefree ways of grade school. So we're back to hopscotch and kickball.

Which brings me to the Cripes Classic LP of the week, Blue by Joni Mitchell.

This record has cooties.

Blue is regarded as the flagship LP for the confessional singer-songwriter movement of the seventies. Thanks a lot Joni.

Joni takes us on a stream of consciousness holiday sleigh ride through her mind.....not a single thought goes unexpressed. Every parenthetical aside is chronicled in detail up and down the octaves. This stuff must have just flowed out of her. There are a few good lines to be found. I like the one about the frying pan seeming bigger when her guy is gone. This guy she goes on and on about...this 'old man', this 'mean old daddy'....I get the impression she's really hung up on this rascal. What do I learn from this? The way to a woman's heart is to treat her like crap. This guy she wants to 'drink a case of'....I just know that he's not the sensitive kind of guy who listens to Joni Mitchell records.

Joni Mitchell's music and lyrics wear a beret, carry a cigarette holder, and won't shut up or let you get a word in edgewise.

The last song on Blue, The Last Time I Saw Richard gives us a clue about this mean old singer in the park daddy--

Richard got married to a figure skater and her bought her a dishwasher and a coffee percolator, and now he drinks alone most nights with the TV on and all the house lights off, crying. "I'm gonna blow this damn candle out, I don't want nobody coming over to my table I got nothing to talk to anybody about" All good dreamers end this way, staring down bottles in dark cafes, dark cafes, only a phase before I get my gorgeous wings and fly away, only a phase, these dark cafe days.

Good for Richard. He no longer has to listen to Joni blathering on and on and on about herself.

Blue is Blood on the Tracks wearing a halter top sitting in a shallow reflecting pond.

How can you say this about Joni? Don't you know there are seriously deluded people who think she's The Greatest Canadian Ever!!!!!
man oh man! - just like a cactus tree, yoni, as us guys used to call her, sure was busy being free.

"Blue is Blood on the Tracks wearing a halter top sitting in a shallow reflecting pond. " - cripes, you're brilliant!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?