Well, that was odd. Last night, as I walked into a bar in the throes of "trivia night", the emcee was just calling out the first question:
"What band, famous for its hit song 'Love Shack', recorded the theme to the cartoon 'Rocko's Modern Life'?"
My brain did the weird clicking thing it does whenever it experiences cognitive dissonance, because I actually played on that recording (as well as the soundtrack for many of the Rocko's cartoons...and, for that matter, a ton of other recordings, including serving as the Sound of Obligatory Panic in Jacques Cousteau's final program).
Normally I'd just enjoy the coincidence with a demure smirk, but for some reason, perhaps due to the momentum of having just walked in the door, I strode up to the emcee (whose microphone was off at this point) and told him I'd played on the recording. "What the...! Congratulations!" he beamed, shaking my hand. And there was nothing else for me to do but slink to the bar, a bit embarrassed. I obviously couldn't, like, just tell him again.
So I sipped at my Koutska (a particularly rare and wonderful Czech pilsener), trying to retract back into my signature shlubby anonymity. But it was hard to bridge the seeming height of being the guy who walked in the bar in mid-question to announce that he was, in fact, the subject of the discussion. Cool, right? But, suddenly, I realized: it was a trivia question! Finding oneself a tangential part of the answer to a trivia question is, by its very definition, non-huge.
I'd heard earlier that day that the father of the Beach Boys was an unsuccessful musician whose sole claim to fame was having one of his compositions performed on the Lawrence Welk show. That actually didn't sound like failure to me, unless one's threshold of song-writing success is "California Girls". The public is so strange on these issues. Similarly, I don't see why JD Salinger should be considered odd for having chosen to live a private life and write for himself. If not being in the public light makes someone a whack-job, what does that say about all of us?
My perspective kept flicking back and forth, as if viewing a concave/convex optical illusion. Embarrassed hotshot...flattered footnote...embarrassed hotshot...flattered footnote (for a similar disjunction, see my weird, ambivalent Christmas Eve story).
The other strange thing: when I first recorded that soundtrack in the early 1990's, I could impress any ten year old with the credit. Now I looked around the bar, and everyone was 35. I felt like a character in Toy Story 3. Too much trippiness...fortunately beer was immediately available...
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