Whether You’re A Mother or Whether You’re a Brother

Maybe it’s because I only ate a rice krispie treat for lunch yesterday, or maybe it’s because of the stiff gin martini I pounded right before dinner — gulped from a proper martini glass, mind you, and not the usual styrofoam cup we’ve had to use to disguise our sin in front of Granny for the last five months — or maybe it’s because I’m just in a really weepy way, but I couldn’t have been more giddy to watch an episode of “American Idol” last night featuring songs by the Bee Gees.

Before you get all up in my business about the Bee Gees, you should know that my parents made sure that I knew who Barry, Robin and Maurice were before I came out of the womb. They were the only records my father owned, plus a couple here and there from Abba and the seminal Anne Murray. And while it would have been so much cooler had I grown up listening to The Stones or Zeppelin or anything featuring men who don’t sing like women, I can’t say that I have any hard feelings about my Bee Gees upbringing, or the resultant 20-yr crush I’ve had on skinny, bearded men.

My father’s favorite Bee Gees song was “Nights on Broadway,” and he used to set the needle specifically to that point in the record to serenade his Saturday afternoon chores. I can remember those afternoons distinctly, because I loved it when he blamed it all on the nights on Broadway, and because he usually did his chores dressed in nothing but plaid shorts, the top to his white Heavenly Underwear, and a pair of mid-calf black socks. My favorite part was when he’d drop whatever he was doing as the song got to the chorus, scrunch his forehead like he had been kicked in the groin and scream, “BLAMING IT ALL!” For years I couldn’t imagine the enormity of what must have happened on Broadway, something scandalous for sure, because they were blaming everything on that one road. And I couldn’t wait until I could grow up and blame it ALL on Broadway, too.

My sister took her Bee Gees upbringing VERY SERIOUSLY and has instilled in her own five children a love for everything Brothers Gibb. Her 5-yr old son knows every word to “Jive Talking,” and the twin 2-yr old boys go nuts when they hear the first notes of “Stayin’ Alive.” I don’t know whether this is frightening or precious, but if you knew my sister this would seem perfectly normal. Of course, it’s perfectly normal for the twin 2-yr old boys to take off their diapers and poop standing up in the middle of the living room.

I personally prefer the early Bee Gees, songs like “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” “I Started a Joke,” and “New York Mining Disaster 1941.” I like to think that this redeems me somewhat because I’m obviously keeping it real, appreciating their work before they went mainstream, even though I wasn’t alive when that happened. I do, however, have a soft spot in my heart for the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever which I played over and over in my car on the trip to and from high school. While other kids my age were listening to Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, I was blasting “How Deep is Your Love” and pining over imaginary relationships with men in white leisure suits.

Today I’m going to finish painting the back room, and instead of listening to the new CDs I bought yesterday in a storming hormonal freakout I’m going to dig out The Bee Gees Greatest Hits and a pair of black socks to get me cracking. Chuck should be barking in falsetto in no time.