It was a birthday party, not so dissimilar to every other birthday party I went to in high school. All you really needed was a backyard, a barbeque and a few beers handy. If only the hosts of this particular party had kept to that tried and tested formula, I would have no need to write this explanation. But somewhere in the planning stages of this particular event, someone had uttered the immortal words:
"Hey! Why don't we hire a jukebox?"
Apparently everybody else thought this was just a top notch idea. As a result the party's soundtrack would be chosen for the people, by the people. It was all very democratic. Unfortunately, it is a scientifically proven fact that democracy doesn't work if "the people" consists entirely of drunk sixteen year olds.
It was still daylight when the juke was turned on. Those of us who were unfashionably early started tapping our feet to the B-52's most popular jukebox hit, Love Shack. I joined in. I probably even sang along. As I said, it's a good song and at that point I had no particular problem with it.
Then the second song came on. Again, we tapped our feet to Love Shack. After all, hearing the same song twice can be a good thing. Just ask Sublime or the Reel Big Fish*. But the third song was also Love Shack. And the fourth. And the fifth. I was starting to see a pattern and I didn't like the results it forecast.
Apparently some class clown thought this was pretty funny. That, or one of my friends really honestly likes that song to the point where it could be classified as a mental disorder. The song played over and over, more or less constantly for the entire duration of the party. Just thinking about it sends a small shiver down my spine.
I can remember the relief I felt when the jukebox was finally turned off for everybody to sing Happy Birthday. It washed over me like a hot shower. Or a shot of heroin. The song had stopped AND there was cake. Admittedly I've never done heroin and can't say for sure, but I imagine that's basically what it's like.
But then, out of the blissful silence came a sound I would have been happy to never hear again.
"If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says 15 miles to the looooooove shack!"
The last thing I remember is the anguished cry that escaped from my mouth. I'm not saying that I went briefly insane and murdered everyone within a 10km radius. I'm just saying that I don't think a jury could have found me guilty if I had.
Admittedly, people I went to school with will tell you that I had a jukebox at my own 18th. But that was actually hired against my will, by my parents. Considering that I had already made a lengthy playlist for the party on the family computer, I'm guessing they realised that I was planning on playing music that no-one other than myself and a scattered few of my music nerd friends would enjoy and intervened accordingly. I was a bit disappointed, but the party was probably better for the easily recognisable pop hits.
Love Shack, however, was banned.
*For the few people who will get this reference, it is worth it.