The Cosmic Law of Generational Music Differences

I heard the strangest of noises coming from my daughter’s room this evening. I blew it off to start with, not wanting to worry unnecessarily, but the noise was becoming unbearable as it continued and I became quite concerned.

“What’s wrong with your computer?” I asked approaching her open doorway.

“Nothing,” she replied. “Everything is fine.”

A terrible sinking feeling then overcame me as I was afraid of what that meant.

“You mean you are listening to that on purpose?” I asked in fear.

“Yeah,” she returned, confused at what I was asking her.

“I’m sorry,” I offered in sincerity. You see as it turned out, that strange, rather offensive noise was something she called music. Now me, I would hesitate to call it music but rather strange beeping sounds layered with annoyingly exotic rhythmic gyrations and some obviously under-educated lost soul mumbling something about his mama.

“What do you mean you are sorry?” she asked.

“You see,” I explained. “There is a well documented cosmic law stating that you, as a teenager, must remain dynamically opposed to my musical sense of taste as a predetermined divider between our generations.”

“Huh?” she asked.

“It is an unfortunate side effect of the rebellious adolescent nature necessary to drive you to move out on your own and create your own subsistence rather than residing permanently at the home roost in a parasitic fashion, which, of course, would drive us both insane and bring a crashing end to evolution as we know it.”

“What?” she said, shaking her head in utter confusion.

“Which, by the way,” I continued, “is one purported, yet wholly unsubstantiated theory of what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, and possibly why some male grizzly bears eat their own young.”

“What?” she replied in shock.

“In other words, it’s my fault you like this crap because I hate it,” I said more simply. “It seems to be the law of the universe.”

“Oh,” she stated, looking somewhat relieved. “For a minute there I thought you were going to eat me.”

“Anyway,” I went on, “I’m sorry I didn’t hate something that wasn’t quite so horrible. That way you wouldn’t have to listen to… this.” I apologized.

“It’s OK, Dad, I don’t mind. I like it.”

“That’s what I was afraid of,” I concluded. I had to leave at that point, though, as guilt was overwhelming me — not to mention the horrid sound of the so called “music”.

I remember when things were the other way around and it was my dad who couldn’t stand my music. I remember one time while traveling on vacation, my sister and I begged Dad to let us listen to a rock radio station. Finally, my sister got him to agree by telling him to turn off the speakers up front and just play it quietly on the rear speakers.

This was way back in 1982 when Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” was a huge hit. My sister and I were very excited when that song finally came on the radio. We could hardly hear it, however, as Dad had it turned down so low. I remember laying our heads back almost against the rear window trying to get closer to the speakers so we could hear the song.

Then, however, my dad apparently heard a cymbal crash, which, of course, he found seriously offensive, and he turned the radio down a bit.

Not to be deterred from enjoying the song, my sister and I simply pressed our heads further back against the rear window, attempting to get closer still to the speakers.

Again, the cymbals crashed, and Dad, further offended, turned the radio down a bit more. My sister and I pressed further rearward. This continued for a few moments until the car hit a bump in the road and she and I both received a good whacking on the noggin from the rear window.

“Well, what are you doing sticking your heads up against the window anyway?” my dad asked in response to our cries of pain.

“Trying to hear the radio!” my sister returned, rather annoyed.

“Oh, well then,” Dad responded, solving the problem by simply shutting the radio off.

My dad and I certainly had our debates over music back in my teenage years, with little in the way of agreement. As far as I could tell, any music where you could actually hear drums playing, he didn’t like. That, of course, ruled out everything I enjoyed and left me being able to listen to my music only when he wasn’t around.

Now back in those days, that was a lot harder to do than it is now. I didn’t have my own computer like my kids do today. I didn’t have my own stereo until I was 17 and I had to go against my parents wishes in order to buy that from a friend of mine.

Instead, I would listen with friends while away from home, and, on the rare occasion when I was home alone, I would sneak into Dad’s office and crank something up over his stereo. (thank goodness I never got caught doing that!).

Then one glorious Christmas, my grandparents gave me a set of headphones. I was excited, but my parents were not. In fact, I think they were quite irate with my grandparents for giving me such an “evil” thing, but it was too late. I had it in my possession and wasn’t going to give it up.

I remember sneaking those head phones into bed with me at night one time so I could listen to a pirated copy of Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” album that a friend had given me. Naturally, if I would have gotten caught listening to such devilry, I would have gotten in to serious trouble.

Perhaps that’s why “Slippery When Wet” to this day remains one of my favorites albums? Because it also seems to be written into the cosmic law of generational music differences that the more grief your parents give you over a certain kind of music, the more you like it.

For that reason, I really try not to make too much fuss over it when my kids listen to something I truly can’t stand. Because overreacting just seems to make it all worse and I really don’t want to drive them into further liking that which I cannot tolerate. So, like the time when my oldest daughter turned on some kind of horrible “rap” stuff one day after school, I didn’t do much about it. In fact, I thought I handled it rather well.

By the time it got to the 15th f-word reference, about six seconds into the first song, all I did was run across the room, yank the CD out of the player, and throw it into the deepest corner of the house I could find. I mean, I didn’t even break it first. That shouldn’t have much effect on her now, should it?

Thinking back now, my dad is lucky that at the time I was only listening to Survivor, Bon Jovi, and the like, and was not a huge Metallica fan like I am now. I mean, I can only imagine how he would have reacted to Enter Sandman.