Tonight, at the gym, (post bathing-suit shopping -- YEEKS. Oh, how I hate-hate-hate more than anything in the world my Ukrainian jewess genes that give me thunder thighs, HATE HATE HATE HATE), i was working out to Madonna and the song "Borderline" came up on the ol' ipod.
When I was but a wee one, we didn't listen to Top 40 music -- our house was filled with Donovan and Judy Collins and Bob Dylan (whom I called "Bob Dyl!") and Simon and Garfunkel (whom I called "Parsley Sagels" -- as in, "I wanna listen to Parsley Sagels RIGHT NOW!) and the only time I was exposed to Top 40 shiznit was at the roller-skating rink or in other people's cars. Once, I was at Michelle & Eric's house (yes, I was very close friends with a set of fraternal twins. Total radness) and they were singing the song "Borderline" by Madonna. Particularly the chorus: "You just keep on pushing my love over the borderline."
I instantly liked this song. It was catchy, it had a great hook, and most importantly, I felt like I totally grokked the story. It was instantly clear to me --Madonna was singing to her mean and nasty captor; a man who continuously pushed her love (let's call him Jimbo) over the borderline. In my head, it made perfect sense: the borderline clearly stretched across a bridge, and the mean man just kept on pushing Jimbo off the bridge, over the borderline -- into someone else's territory. Like maybe Madonna and Jimbo fled from their homeland and were seeking refuge in a new village -- let's call it Happytown. But there must have been a mean man (let's call him Smitty) who knew Madonna was in love with Jimbo, but Smitty wanted Princess Madonna for himself. So he just kept on pushing her love over the borderline (borderline!). I had such a clear image of poor Jimbo repeatedly hauling himself out of the water and attempting once more to rejoin Madonna in their adopted village of Happytown, but that damn mean man Smitty just kept on pushing him off the bridge. And over the borderline. Feels like I'm going to lose my mind.
I have many such erroneous concepts from my childhood, including the belief that Cyndi Lauper was singing about "Tough Deana" in "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (tough deana, tough deana, girls just wanna have fun) and the belief that other people ate what we called "Michael" (elbow macaroni, tuna fish and ketchup -- YUM!). Turns out, Cyndi wasn't singing about Tough Deana. And no one else except for me and my brother eat Michael (i have since modified the recipe to include tofurkey, seeing as i don't eat things with faces). In fact, in college, my housemates would cringe and run away when I made Michael, and I believe the term "white trash food" was once muttered in my general direction, but fuck all of y'alls, yo, it tastes delish. Michael wakes you up with sweets, he takes you up streets and the rain comes down ... Michael from Mountains, Go where you will go to. Know that I will know you. Someday I may know you very well. (Hearts 'n' stars to my girl, Joni).
(We called it "Michael" because I guess there's a Yiddish word for a concoction of many ingredients that sounds something like Michael. Anyone know what I'm talking about?)
ANYHOO. Another childhood misconception was the fact that I thought the Mobil Gas logo was actually a lobster. I guess it's about empirical evidence ... when I was tiny (maybe two? baby brother was yet to be born, so I reckon I was around 2 years old) my parents took me to a seafood restaurant and they both ordered lobster and I cried and cried and cried. I was terrified of those scary beasts. And I embarassed my parents by wailing hysterically. And so the first time I saw the Mobil Gas logo, I thought it was a lobster. For reals, it wasn't until I was 18 and driving up to college that I saw a Mobil Gas station and realized the logo was actually a goddamned flying horse, not a lobster (or a lobsber, as I used to pronounce it).
The 'rents and baby brother drove me back into NYC after I spent the weekend in Watchung for Dad's birthday and we passed a Mobil station. Adam said, "Look! A lobster!"
But, seriously. Squint your eyes a little bit -- if you'd never seen a flying horse, but you had cold, hard empirical evidence of a lobsber, might you not think the Mobil Gas logo was truly a lobsber?
Two lobsters, right? RIGHT?