purdue owl apa format annotated bibliography the prelude and storm on the island comparison essay free business plan download template creative writing classes in nyc essay someone you admire ilm critical thinking assignment possible question in thesis final defense

Words in a Row

Spelling and grammer and all that stuff--supposibly its like, real important!

The Helicopter Song

When I was 4 or 5 my par­ents had some friends over for a bar­be­cue. Every­one was milling around in fine bar­be­cue fash­ion, and then the radio played a song I’d nev­er heard before. It was amaz­ing! There was some­body laugh­ing and then heli­copter sounds, but it did­n’t have any lyrics.

I planned to ask Mom and Dad what the song was, but they were busy doing things and I forgot.

A cou­ple of days lat­er Mom was putting some­thing on the record play­er, and I remem­bered the bar­be­cue and said, “Play The Heli­copter Song!”

“The what?” Mom said.

“The Heli­copter Song! There was a guy laugh­ing and heli­copters! And there weren’t any words!” Mom had no idea what I meant. I did, but I could­n’t describe it well enough. I gave up, frustrated.

A cou­ple days lat­er we were dri­ving some­where and the heli­copter song came on the radio.

“That’s The Heli­copter Song! That’s The Heli­copter Song!” I yelled.

“That’s the song you meant?” Mom asked.

“Yeah! It’s The Heli­copter Song!”

And it turned out that the heli­copter song was… (drum roll])1

“Wipe­out,” by The Surfaris.

Lemme ‘splain: When I was a kid in the ear­ly 1960s, we lived in Tope­ka, KS, about 7 miles north of Forbes Air Force Base. Air­craft often flew right over us com­ing to and from Forbes; usu­al­ly heav­ier car­go air­craft; once every­one in Tope­ka got to watch a brand-new Air Force One land at Forbes for the first stop in its inau­gur­al test flight, fuel up, and take off again.

This was much ear­li­er, though; maybe 1967 or ’68. The war in Viet­nam was rag­ing along full blast, and we often heard large chop­pers fly­ing thump­ing along over­head: long-range spe­cial-ops copters like the Siko­rsky MH-53, aka the Jol­ly Green Giant, or Boe­ing CH-47 Chi­nook dual-rotor heavy car­go helicopters.

It hap­pened often enough that I didn’t con­scious­ly lis­ten to them, but they still made a hell of a lot of noise.

And so it hap­pened that when I heard “Wipe­out,” the long drum breaks, heavy on the bass and toms, remind­ed me of all the big chop­pers fly­ing overhead.

I didn’t know how to explain this when I was so young. So years lat­er, when I was in my ear­ly 20s, a friend of mine was show­ing me how to play “Wipe­out” on gui­tar, and I sud­den­ly remem­bered: THE HELICOPTER SONG!

I told Mom and Dad about it, but they did­n’t remem­ber any of this.

So either I’m hal­lu­ci­nat­ing or The Sur­faris tricked me.

  1. See what I did there?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.