Like most golfers, I’ve tried to train my brain to adhere to a stringent set of commands I try to recite as I get ready to smack the ball.
“Keep your head down . . . make a full turn . . . keep the left arm straight . . . finish with the belt buckle pointing toward the hole.”
Instead for the last two weeks, every single time I draw the club back the words screaming through my mind are the lushly orchestrated lyrics, “You are the Dancing Queen! Young and sweet! Only 17! Ohhhh, yeahhhh!!!”
Now, to be clear for any of you who’ve never seen me or my picture, my brain is mistaken on all counts. I’m not the Dancing Queen. I’m not young. I’m not sweet. I’m not 17.
What I am is a middle-aged father who recently got dragged by his 7-year-old daughter to see “Mamma Mia,” the Meryl Streep/Pierce Brosnan movie full of the virulently infectious Abba songs (and is Abba the world’s shortest and most alphabetically prominent palindrome? Probably).
Dragged is a little harsh, I guess. I was thrilled to go. I love to see movies with my family, especially the great Pixars like “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” or “Ratatouille.” I recommend them for even people who don’t have their own or just plain hate kids. They’re wonderfully entertaining.
To me, seeing a matinee with my daughter draped across my lap is a tiny bit of heaven, especially if I’m suffering from a mild hangover. It’s like taking a nap with my eyes open.
If I’m hungover and not at the movie, I’ll be under the watchful eyes of my sober-minded wife and my own insinuating conscience that says I really ought to be cleaning out the basement or doing something productive other than laying on the couch, barely alive, using Three Stooges reruns to help me cope with the nausea.
But “Mamma Mia” was the first time Josie wanted me to go with her to see a more adult movie. She and her Mommy had loved it.
And, yes, I did, too. The story was lively, the cast engaging and the scenary breathtaking, especially when it focused on the vivacious star Amanda Seyfried, an Allentown, Pennsylvania, native about whom I’ll always think tender thoughts whenever I hear the depressing Billy Joel song about that Rust Belt town.
They may not make steel anymore in Allentown, but if they keep making ‘em like her, wow, to hell with wage-producing industries.
It was all campy good fun. I’d pay all night to watch Brosnan try to sing. He’s terrible, knows it, doesn’t try to hide it and when he sings is as laugh-out-loud funny as anything Moe, Curly and Larry ever filmed.
But now I can’t get any of the damned songs out of my head, and not just because Josie asked me to download a bunch of them.
There’s “S.O.S.,” “Does Your Mother Know?” “Super Trouper” and a half dozen others. Right now, I’m trying to sanitize my mind by blasting through a playlist with Tom Petty, The Stones, Steve Earle, The Who and James McMurtry.
It’s no good. Those four pale Swedes in leisure suits are still kicking all their rock ‘n’ roll asses.
Mamma Mia! I’ve reached a muscial Waterloo. I’m sending out an S.O.S and wondering . . . how can I . . . . even try . . . to go on?
Here’s my Top 10 list of other chick flicks I’m man enough to admit liking and reasons why any guy should:
10. “Waitress,” 2006, Adrienne Shelly’s poignant swan song features a hilariously sarcastic Andy Griffith.
9. “The Devil Wears Prada,” 2006, Anne Hathaway’s such a babe.
8. “Terms of Endearment,” 1983, Jack Nicholson’s absolutely hilarious.
7. “Gone with the Wind,” 1939, I was surprised to see this on Chick Flick lists. A chick flick? It’s Clark Gable’s movie. A classic movie and one damn fine introduction to celluloid profanity.
6. -- 1. . . . I’m still thinking . . . still I’m thinking . . .