Listen to the words | Mark’s Remarks


Go figure. I like to listen to the oldies station. If you’ve read any of my columns about my love of history, that will come as no surprise.

However, it does bug me from time to time when I hear a song from my high school or college years on that station. I bristle a little bit.

I have noticed lately that the oldies station plays the same songs often. I’m thinking it has something to do with, go figure, money. I mean, I’m sure somebody is getting money for air time. Or, somebody has to pay.  Or both.

The song “Escape” — also known as “The Pina Colada Song” — was written and performed by Rupert Holmes and became a number one hit in the late 1970’s. Almost anyone can sing at least a few words from the song.

It’s got a catchy tune. It’s got some interesting and even silly lyrics. It’s no wonder that it became a hit.

If you lived in the 70’s, you might remember it was an era in which attitudes about relationships and love were a little off kilter.

Indeed, the latter part of the 1960’s and on into the 70’s was called the “free love” era. I don’t remember any of this, so I’m going by research and what I’ve read.

That being said, again, it’s no wonder the song was a hit.   It’s the story of a man bored with his current relationship who happens upon an ad in the personals. You know the song.   The ad mentions the popular drink, throwing caution to the wind, rejecting some of the new fads of the day, etc. The writer of the ad tells the reader to respond so that the two of them can plan their “escape.”

The guy writes back. He doesn’t agree on everything in the ad, but he agrees to the writer’s sense of adventure. He likes champagne. Yada, yada, yada.

At the end of his response, he tells the reader to meet him at a bar called O’Malley’s where they will plan to run away together.

He goes to the bar. A lady walks in. He instantly recognizes her. It is his current “love.”  She looks at him and, according to the song, says tenderly “Aww. It’s you.”

So, all these years, I’ve just been humming and singing along. I’m not a prude. I know the words to a lot of songs I probably shouldn’t know and I also probably shouldn’t hum along or sing many of them aloud.

Since the station tends to play this song quite a bit and because it seems I’m constantly hauling kids to and fro in this season of my life, I’ve heard it several times in the last couple of weeks.

Let’s analyze. First of all, the lady is also bored with her relationship and has decided to take off. She sends the ad in. She wants out. She is ready to cheat or dump the guy, or whatever.

Then there’s the guy. He decides to answer the ad, not knowing his lady had put the ad in the paper. He is ready to cheat or dump the lady, or both.

Let’s assume the two of them are not married. They are, most likely, living together and in a serious relationship of sorts.  They’ve probably experienced everything but the walk down the aisle. Again, we are assuming.

So ladies: If you decided to put an ad in the paper like this lady we speak of, would you be happy to see your estranged significant other at that table at O’Malley’s?

Gentlemen: Clearly, this lady has eagerly headed to the bar to meet this guy who she assumes is NOT you. How do you feel?

Maybe I’m reading too much into this song. I mean, it’s quite possible both of them came clean at the end of the scene, after the song was over.

“Gee babe, I’m sorry. I didn’t know how bored you were,” the guy might say. “I am so glad we have these things in common.”

“No, I’m sorry honey. I put the ad in the paper and intended on running off with a guy who liked to run around in the rain and make pina coladas. Thank goodness you like those things too. Maybe we can work this thing out,” says the lady.

I suppose we could say they were both in the wrong. But knowing your partner has the capability to run off when he or she gets bored, well, again, how does that make you feel?  Would you feel secure in your relationship?

And, oh my. What if they were actually married to each other? What if they had children? It makes you wonder.

I know, I know. I need to get out more or something. I’m starting to analyze Top 40 hits.

But heck. It sure does make you look at the breakdown of the family and see how all types of things contributed, in subtle ways, to the state of families today.

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