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11:39 a.m. - May 30, 2005
Call Child Protective Services - Katie's Cranking Out The Air Guitar.
Like most sordid tales, this one started out quite innocently.

My iPod was giving me fits and because of that, I was burning some CDs to take to work, because heaven forbid I’d have to work a day without some music going through my head. So I burnt some CDs and wanted to test them out, so I went downstairs to try them out in the CD / DVD player I just bought.

Since Katie likes music and likes to dance, I thought it would be neat if she heard them as well, so I turned off Dora the Explorer and turned on the music (with surprisingly little resistance, though I think Katie had seen this episode of Dora several times. It was the one about the sticky tape, I believe. SPOILER ALERT: It all works out in the end!).

Katie was bopping around, I was bopping around with her, and then one song started.

Hocus Pocus by Focus.

In my very first essay I posted (found under the Older tag) I described the song. If you have not heard it – it’s something to seek out and just be stunned that it hit number 9 on the US charts. It charted that high with the flute and the yodeling and the heavy guitar riffs and more yodeling and the drum solos and the accordion and whistling and yet even still more yodeling.

But when I hear that song – there’s one thing I must do.

Play air guitar. And I did, in front of Katie.

Not the solo mind you – but the main riff. But that’s a killer riff and I couldn’t contain myself.

Those who know me well know that I air guitar, air bass, and air drum quite a bit. It’s a nervous habit – kind of a tic. Music gets in my head and I just play air instruments to what’s in my head. And now with the iPod my co-workers sometimes walk in to silence with me flailing about.

One day when I was going up to the press box for a football game, I walked in and the Flack was demonstrating my air bass prowess to Sid and Tank. It was one of those, “Hey guys, what’s so funny??? Oh….” moments. So my affliction is well known. I guess I just gots the music in me. Me and Kiki Dee.

Anyway, after the CD was over, it was dinner time. Katie walks into the kitchen and then says, “Look Daddy! I’m playing air guitar, too!” And starts to move her hands like I was when I was playing to the Focus song.

I was embarrassed. Liz had this grin, but it was a half-grin, half-chagrined look. Like, “Ok, that’s funny, and what the hell did you do???”

But that was a few weeks ago, and aside from one brief stretch going to Kroger’s when I had Rage Against the Machine playing (note to everyone: perhaps Rage Against the Machine is not quite appropriate music to play to a three-year old who has an active vocabulary. Having Katie say “Well, I’m rolling down Rodeo with my shotgun” while the cart at Kroger gets you some looks, let me tell ya.) Katie had not shown a tendency to air guitar.


I had a pop-song moment and found some tunes to download by the 5th Dimension and Neil Diamond. (Mind you, just a couple from each and nothing cloying or smarmy or drippy. Well, maybe “One Less Bell to Answer.”) Liz was giving Katie a bath and I had the speakers on the computer and cranked up “Stoned Soul Picnic”.

Katie had just gotten out of the tub, and cried out “Daddy, look at me!”

She was standing there – naked – playing air guitar to “Stoned Soul Picnic”. I didn’t even know you could play guitar to that song!

I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or get the camera. I just hung my head – and avoided Liz’s eyes. I could tell the look. “What are you doing to my daughter?”

So, I thought that’s still isolated incidents. Hopefully it’ll be the end of it otherwise, if they have music time at Montessori school she’s going to air guitar to it, and wouldn’t that be great…”Sir, we have to talk about Katie – she’s changing the words to “If You’re Happy and You Know It. If you’re happy and you know it – bang your head is not quite appropriate, I feel.”

Heh. Nope.

We were driving over to Mom and Dad’s to give my Dad birthday cards. He turned 81 and Katie just loves going to see Papaw. So I pop in a CD that I made for Liz (I let Liz drive, it’s her car) and out comes “Dance the Night Away” by Van Halen. I cranked it up a bit, turned to Katie and….

There she was, with the air guitar. She was getting into it. (Hey, it’s a great riff!)

So I joined in.

Liz went for a burkah, I believe.

So now my daughter is an air guitar player, too. I have afflicted her with my own personal (cute and loveable at times, annoying at other times, anonymous sources told this reporter) idiosyncrasy. Who knows, she may want to play for real? (I do harbor a secret wish that Katie will learn to play drums, then I’ll buy a bass and we can practice together. Liz would probably file papers, though.)

But for now it’s strictly air guitar and Lord have mercy on our souls. Well, mine, probably, because I led her down the road to perdition.

But in the meantime, it’s time for air guitar practice. I think it’s time to get a little tricky – Katie, do you like the Smiths?


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