M. SCOTT MORRIS: Kid sings along to good stuff

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

I’ve got an ancient six-CD changer at the house, and keep it filled with ancient CDs.
For you youngsters, a CD is a primitive music-delivery device. It’s sort of like today’s phones, except you can’t call people or surf the Internet with it, and you need a player and speakers to hear anything.
CDs are relics from the long-ago days, and my wife and I collected bunches over the years. (Ask your parents about the Columbia Record Club.)
By my wife’s orders, we have family dinner at the table, and it’s usually accompanied by music. Our current mix includes REM, The Wood Brothers, Hank Williams and soundtracks for “Once” and “Moulin Rouge.” I can’t remember the sixth CD, but it’s probably Sting or Paul Simon.
The mix was in rotation for several weeks before word came out that REM disbanded. I read the news at work, and didn’t so much grieve, as think back fondly on some of my favorite REM songs.
I hit random on the player during dinner, and before you could say, “Bad news about REM, guys,” my 9-year-old daughter, Olivia, was singing along to “It’s the End of the World as We Know it (And I Feel Fine).”
She was singing to the chorus because I’m not sure anyone besides the band’s lead singer, Michael Stipe, can do justice to the hyper, mashed-up lyrics.
Olivia sang along enthusiastically, on her own, without knowing the band was no more. The kid simply recognized quality music and shook her booty to the beat.
What a proud day.
They said parenting would be the toughest job you ever loved, but I didn’t know it could get this good – my daughter is an REM fan.
This delightful triumph happened because I refused to let children hijack the CD player or the radio. How can I expect them to know good stuff if they’re not exposed to it?
Dad usually does the driving, so it makes sense that I pick the tunes. It’s as close to divine right of kings as I’m liable to get.
My wife is Mom and does the vast majority of the cooking, so she should be able to pick the dinner music, but I can’t trust her with it.
She recently used my car to taxi the kids around town. When I got back behind the wheel, the seat was adjusted for someone who’s 5-foot-nothing. That wasn’t a problem, because I always forget to change the seat back in her car.
However, it was disturbing to find my radio tuned to Radio Disney. There’s no excuse for that. I’ve given her a stern talking-to, but doubt it did much good. Divine right of kings goes only so far.
It’s natural for Olivia to make more of her own musical choices as she develops into – GULP! – a teenager, but her REM sing-along offers hope that we’ll keep finding ways to bridge our generational divide.
In closing, let me say, No, Olivia, this doesn’t mean you can have a smartphone, but you may borrow Dad’s ancient CDs, as long as you fill out the appropriate paperwork.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.