what's the frequency kenneth?

Ahhhhhhh. R.E.M. Such a fine band. They rode the roller coaster of teenage angst with me, holding my hand and never once taking the "oh shit" get off early option. I vividly recall sitting down in the basement on a Sunday afternoon listening to the '87 Document album. Specifically I was playing "It's the End of the World" over and over ....... and over again; hitting stop, rewind and play until the buttons on my boom box were worn. I'm certain I ruined the cassette tape. I was intent on writing down the lyrics so I could masterfully sing along the next time
it played on the radio. I don't know if I was completely accurate in getting all of the words down just right. And, why didn't I just open up the cassette jacket and look for the lyrics? Probably because I had a pirated copy given to me by someone lucky enough to have a dual-cassette boom box, thereby making it easy to make underground, illegal copies.

Remember singing along to a song with friends and you would come to a part where they would sing different words than you? A look would pass from one to the other and a moment of embarrassment would rise up linger between you, trying to figure out who to attach itself to. Who was right? Who was wrong? That moment of epiphany when one of you would discover the true verse and realize ........ duh! It totally makes sense when stated that way. Then the wonderment of listening to the refrain once more and trying to figure out how you ever heard it wrong in the first place.

Nowadays, all you have to do is Google the title of a song and in an instant you can print out the lyrics, listen to the song, watch the video, download a ring-tone of the song, view photos of the band, read the band's blog, Tweet with the guitarist ...... on and on.

Tonight I had a similar experience, but not with song lyrics. Although, the R.E.M song "What's your Frequency Kenneth?" did pop into my brain. I was speaking with my mentally ill mother (and yes, she is clinically mentally ill ..... just like someone who is diagnosed with cancer) and we were so obviously NOT on the same frequency. She heard the meaning of the conversation one way, and I the other. The sad part was we didn't have a question to search in Google to find out who was right. Both of us were. Neither of us were. No lyrics to consult; just the realization we were not going to be to speak to each other and have the other one have the 'epiphany' moment.

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