The town I grew up in got cable when I was eight years old. It consisted of three channels: WTBS-Atlanta, WGN-Chicago, and USA. Plus you got a free month’s trial of HBO and I remember straining to listen through the family room door while my father watched Bo Derek in Ten, which was deemed inappropriate for my sister and I.
I still haven’t seen that movie. But I remember a bunch of the dialogue.
We had the same three channels up until my parents got divorced and I moved to the “city” with my mom and my sister.
And then, holy crap: there was MTV.
Between the summer we moved and the summer my grandma died from cancer, she came to visit us at our new apartment. That was my eighth grade year, highlights of which included seven Jennifers in my class (none of whom would speak to me), my locker number (666), getting mono, and wearing out the grooves on Duran Duran’s Rio and Motley Crue’s Shout at the Devil. My sister and I introduced Grandma to MTV, and her favorite video, inexplicably, was Van Halen’s Hot For Teacher.
This was the first thing to ever indicate to me that old people could be cool. It’s one of the reasons I’m staring down the barrel of 40 with anticipation rather than trepidation.
CC has a theory that you can’t be depressed while listening to Van Halen (and by “Van Halen” I mean everything up to and including MCMLXXXIV and not anything after that). I’ve tested this theory numerous times over the years and it appears to be true. Also, I have found that you cannot drive the speed limit while listening to Van Halen, and it is compulsory to
scream sing along.
Grandma loved Hot For Teacher’s itty-bitty Van Halens, the ridiculous four-man choreography performed by a band containing only one member who could actually dance, and even the stripping teachers, but most of all she loved Waldo. Waldo in all his nervous, nerdy glory.
I love Waldo too. I feel like Waldo inside probably more often than not.
Grandma just howled every time Hot For Teacher came on- which at the time was approximately every 22 minutes.
I guess I have an extra reason to not be depressed while listening to Van Halen.
Every time I’m driving by myself, listening to Van Halen, blowing my voice out and shaving twenty minutes off my commute, I think of my grandma.