Tuesday, April 11, 2006

If you like piña coladas...

Escape is the only song I remember from the old family collection of 45's that I still hear on any kind of a regular basis (and this is surely as it should be).

I always notice it when it comes on. I particularly notice the line "I'm nobody's poet" because when I was a kid I thought it said "I'm nobody's par wit" and I never knew what that meant. It kind of bugged me, but not enough to ever ask anyone about it and, obviously, at some point I figured it out on my own. (I had similar problems with "A bar called O'Malley's." [Abarful Omalleys?? What a stupid name for a restaurant...] Maybe Rupert Holmes needs to work on his enunciation.)

The song was on the radio this morning as I was sitting down at the computer and as usual I was enjoying it while pffft-ing at yoga and health food as deal-breakers. (I mean, Dude. YOU don't have to be into them, but so what if SHE is??)

And then I had this little mini revelation. Okay, you know the song, right? Stop for a minute and picture the people. The singer and his Lovely Lady. (If possible, without taking into account that the singer's name is Rupert, which I just learned.)

This was before the days of the music video, so you got to make up your own visuals. And once you did, of course, they were set in stone. It's like when you're reading a book and you've got the action set comfortably in your best friend's old house she used to live in when you were growing up. Then someone comes out of the kitchen and turns right into the living room and you get all disgruntled because it's totally not set up that way. So you decide to ignore it and hope that the floorplan doesn't play a pivotal role in the plot.

Oh, right. Music.

So you surely have your own visuals for The Piña Colada Song. If a video was ever made for it (and I suppose one eventually was, for karaoke purposes if nothing else) I never saw it. So to me, the guy is dark-haired (yup) and slick, you know, with a white suit (nope) and...well, actually I never really pictured him much beyond that. But I do have a clear picture of the Lady of whom he's grown tired. She's a large woman - tall, big boned and...well, not fat but just plain large. She's approaching middle age and has short curly hair, dyed blond (with, of course, dark roots). She wears a flowered housedress.

And since that's what I came up with when I used to listen to the record back in elementary school, that's how I've always pictured her. She's not the picture of traditional beauty, but she's his own Lovely Lady. (Interestingly, my sixth-grade science teacher--the one responsible for teaching us the mechanics of Human Reproduction--would turn out to be this very woman, minus the flowered housedresses.)

It wasn't until 25 years later--just this morning--that it occurred to me that someone who values piña coladas over health food (never mind perusing the personals while lying in bed with the current squeeze) may have had a different physiognomy in mind when penning the song. All of a sudden she's curvy and lush and exotic. Hawaiian, probably.

There goes another chunk of youthful innocence.


Jennifer April 11, 2006 12:02 PM  

Lots of fun facts about the song here.

What if he had gone with the original lyrics, "If you like Humphrey Bogart..."??

We would be living in a different world.

el-e-e April 11, 2006 12:39 PM  

Funny post!! I definitely have my mental image for pina colada guy and his Lovely Lady, as well. Different from yours. :) AND, I totally get you on the book thing. I hate it when the characters turn right but I wanted them to turn left into the living room! Hate!

Dot April 11, 2006 4:58 PM  

Jenn, years ago, my sister and I sang as we did the dishes at night and at that time there was a song: Bonaparte's Retreat ( Napolean) and we sang it as " "upon a heart's retreat".. We had no idea what that meant but we really sang out on it....such memories....and it was years later that I realized what the song was actually about.\

Laylabean April 11, 2006 5:03 PM  

I always pictured the pina colada guy as bearded and rather scrawny. Sort of the like that guy from Fleetwood Mac. I never bothered to picture the girl, it was guy singing after all. *sigh* Me and my literal mind.

lisa April 13, 2006 9:19 PM  


First of all. His Own Lovely Lady is, um, Mrs. Hodge!?!? (Spent all day trying to remember her name. Then it suddenly came to me...then I forgot it and had to look it up in the yearbook. But I can't remember if Hodge is what I had come up with, so I can't even be all proud of myself.) I never pictured his Lovely Lady. But I do have knowledge of a certain music video, definitely NOT a modern remake for karaoke purposes. Definitely from The Era. I can't remember it in detail, and couldn't find any screen shots of it, but I would lay money down that there was a white suit. (pantsuit even?) And disco lights. And some sort of sashaying. So that kind of locked in my mental image of him. I didn't see it until some years later, but I can't remember what my pre-video image of him was anymore.

Okay, now. We so did not have that one on 45. Middle of the House? Check. Little Boxes? Check. Forever in Blue Jeans? Check. The Guy With The Voodoo? Check. Beans! Check. And for bonus points--the B-side to Middle of the House, Rolling Heart? Check. But not the pina colada song. It was one that we discovered once we figured out that the radio was not just for Other People.

But no kidding about when they describe something wrong in a book. Like, if they're going to give only a brief description to start, don't go adding details later once you've made your mental map. I think, I'm not sure, but I think I've even secretly wished books would come with floorplans, just so you could get it straight and get on with the story. It's very disturbing.

Dad April 14, 2006 6:38 PM  

So THAT's where all of our old 45's ended up! At a certain house in High Point, NC.

lisa April 15, 2006 10:49 AM  

Um, no. I just remember them.

TLC April 15, 2006 10:18 PM  

Hello Jennifer!

I picture them looking like the Captain and Tenille, but with a bit more wear. They remind me of this:

Yacht Rock (you must see it, has a bit of profanity, but not too bad..and is the "story" of the nice 70's Yacht Rock, Loggins & Messina, Michael McDonald. I think you would enjoy it.


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