Getaway Music

Listening to music is a healthy alternative to listening to yourself. Very rarely does one find oneself saying something insightful, melodic, or catchy, and it is seldom that one stumbles upon a combination of words (“Damn Girl, damn girl, damn girl, damn!” – Justin Timberlake, “Damn Girl,” Future Sex/Love Sounds) that others can repeat over and over at karaoke bars like drunken parrots.

I’m in a coma, wrapped tightly in gauze, being shoved off of the hospital roof by a psychopathic nurse, who’s sick of sticking tubes up my unconscious nose. With one final shove, she sends me on my way. I must wake up in the next few seconds and grab onto a window ledge so I can report her to the Surgeon General. There are songs for such an occasion. Songs about catlike reflexes. Songs like Peggy Lee’s “The Siamese Cat Song,” a version of which appears in the Disney animated masterpiece Lady and the Tramp. “Do you see what I see with my eyes?” Peggy croons, “People have been baking up some pies. If we jumping up upon the window, those delicious pies we could get into.” With luck, this song is being piped out a 10th floor window as I’m passing by. Instant consciousness, I awake meowing. I even sprout a tail, grab onto the windowsill, and get into the pies.

Since I’ve awakened with a tail, the doctors are hot on it, chasing me through the hospital with scalpels and fishing poles as Tom Waits’ Hawaiian rendition of Johnny Richards’ “Young at Heart” blares out of the Intensive Care Unit, “You can go to extremes with impossible schemes. You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams. And life gets more exciting with each passing day. Love is either in your heart or on its way …”

I run out the front doors, a ghost-trail of gauze unwrapping behind me, and hop into an idling ambulance. 0 to 40 in three seconds, screeching out of the parking garage and onto the turnpike. They’re right behind me in a Red Cross APC. On comes the necessary car chase music: Fanfare Ciocarlia, a 12 piece Romanian horn band, playing the “Asfalt Tango.” It’s Gypsy-Honk at its best, syncopated tubas and trumpets, kamikaze saxophone lines crashing into your ears at speeds exceeding 200 beats per minute. The only thing to do to this music is drive the rig off a pier.

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