Videos from the MTV era (when they still played videos, at least) are very important to people in my age group. Not only did they help bands like Def Leppard sell more albums (vinyl and cassettes, in those days), but they helped us form mental images of songs themselves.
For instance, if I say Addicted to Love, you think of Robert Palmer and those expressionless models pretending to play their instruments. Or if I say Billie Jean, you think of Michael Jackson making the sidewalk and the stairs light up. Or if I say Take on Me, you think of that comic book story that the coffee shop girl gets pulled into. It’s OK, everyone from the 80s does that.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky enough, something happens to override the MTV-inspired mental image of a song. It happened to me a few years ago, and rather than letting this story die when I do, I’m going to put it out on the interwebs for the world to see. That’s the only reason I write this blog, after all.
It was probably four or five years ago, in the mid 2000s (whatever that decade is being called now). My wife and older daughter had gone to Disney World for a week, and I was in Chicago with my younger daughter. She wasn’t yet old enough for the “How come she gets to go and I don’t?” phase, but I assure you she’s there now.
It was my job to take the little one to places that were fun for her that week. It was a job I happily accepted. One of the places we went was to Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, which has since closed down (like several other places we went that week). They had a “Make your own pizza” thing on the menu, where kids got to roll out the dough, spread the sauce around, put on the toppings they wanted, and watch as their pizza went into the oven.
As my daughter and I were sitting in the restaurant, waiting for our food to come out, the radio that was on started to play Dire Straits’ the Walk of Life. The mental image I had of that video, and perhaps you did too, was of the video for the song, which was a series of sports videos, interspersed with clips of Dire Straits performing onstage. That was the video I saw, and those were the mental images I formed of that song.
But this was different. As I heard the song, I watched my little girl, sipping her drink through a straw and looking excited about the pizza that was coming out. I wished at that moment she could stay four years old forever, always happy to be with me and never getting angry about anything. And since I couldn’t make that happen, I decided to do the next best thing.
I listened to the Dire Straits song (Woo ooo…woo hoo hooo) and watched my daughter, forming a mental image that I hoped would stick in my head for anytime I ever heard the song again. And I think it actually worked, or at least I’m going to say that it did here.
The sports bloopers may or may not also be there in my head for this song, but hearing it now reminds me of a little girl, and a glass of water with a straw in it, and a restaurant I couldn’t go to again if I wanted to. And it’s all good for me. Now if I could only find something to take the place of some of the other songs from that era.