Free And Clear

When I was in college, I used to live for those little stretches-o-time when there was nothing due: no papers, no tests, no reading assignments, NADA. Emma Kate and I used to laugh about the fact that she was never happier than when she had her whole morning and afternoon scheduled with classes and study sessions and meetings and Bible studies, and I was never happier than when I had 48-72 hours to do nothing but watch old Letterman episodes on VHS.

What can I say? I’ve always been super motivated.

Over the last two weeks I’ve thought about Emma Kate about 96 times, mainly because my schedule would’ve been her dream come true in college. It’s not that I’m any busier than anybody else; it’s just that about four different projects – two at work, one at home, one with writing – were all demanding my attention, and I knew that if I didn’t hunker down and put on some sassy blinders and FINISH, ALREADY, I was going to find myself in a spiral of procrastination and deadline-related despair.

(For some reason I pictured myself standing in a mall parking lot wearing a leotard and leg warmers and holding up a boom box a la John Cusack in Say Anything when I typed that last sentence.)

(Which can only lead me to think that at some point in my mental life, leotards and procrastination have gotten all tied up together.)

(I think that there is more symbolism there than I care to unpack at this juncture.)

Anyway, this past Saturday morning I am so happy to say that I finished the last of All The Deadlines. And I am telling you that when I woke up this morning and didn’t have that immediate sense of TODAY I MUST FINISH SO-AND-SO, I almost conjured up a single tear to fall gently down the left side of my face.

(I am about to head down the most random rabbit trail ever.)


I have no idea why, but I always think of one particular Sheena Easton video when I make any reference to a single tear. So tonight, after I wrote that sentence about the single tear (all of six minutes ago), I wanted to make sure that my single tear video memory is accurate.

I am sad to report that it is not.

But that’s almost irrelevant.

Because if you have four minutes to spare, I beg you to watch this CERTIFIED TREASURE OF THE EIGHTIES.

I have so many thoughts and also questions.

1. Did anyone else notice that Sheena’s earrings mimic the shape of her bangs? Or either her bangs mimic the shape of her earrings? Regardless, that is a lot of spiral.

2. About thirty seconds into the video, I thought, That’s some of the worst fake piano playing I’ve ever seen – and then lo and behold she just stands up and walks off even though there is still piano playing in the song. But I guess that kinda makes sense because the piano was playing by itself at the beginning of the video.

3. No. It doesn’t make sense at all. This is all very confusing.

4. But clearly it’s safe to assume that she was tired of all the fake piano playing.

5. I imagine we can all relate. Sometimes it is exhausting to pretend.

6. After Sheena (that is in fact her real name; I just consulted Wikipedia) gets up from the piano, she takes a few steps into a portion of her music room / dining room / den where she keeps a couple of large video game consoles in the middle of the room. AS DO WE ALL.

7. Why is the guy in camo when he’s playing the video game? Is he a military man?

8. Is the piano part a flashback? Or has the guy snuck into her house so that he can show off his tuxedo shirt while he plays the piano and stares at her?

9. MAYBE he wore the tuxedo shirt while he was “paintin’ the town.” And now he’s “come back around” to play her piano and stare at her like a creepy piano-playing stalker.

10. I’ll tell you what: it’s a good thing that video game console was on wheels. It would have been the devil to move that thing across carpet.

11. I don’t know the nature of her specific gripe against the Defender game, but I think it’s safe to say that after she pushed that sucker off of the balcony, she’s certainly not going to have to deal with it anymore.

12. Truth be told, there have been times when I’ve considered doing something similar with our Wii. But it’s not nearly as dramatic to throw a Wii off the deck and into the backyard. It would just land softly on the grass and then I’d have to go pick it up.

13. I like how the glass shatters in the picture just in case we miss the fact that HE SHATTERED HER HEART.

14. You know what would’ve made the video even better? A SINGLE TEAR.

So there you have it. A post that starts with an update on deadlines and ends with a Sheena Easton video from 1983.

I guess it’s safe to say that things are almost back to normal around here.

Happy Monday, y’all.

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  1. I am glad you are all caught up now Sophie, because it’s time for March Madness! Are you gonna have a bracket contest like in years past?

  2. I love your music video analysis on nearly the same level as I love spending copious amounts of time watching literal music video parodies on YouTube. (I will never, ever tire of this one. EVER.)

  3. I enjoyed the video flashback.
    I would add one more burning question… How in the world did she manage to lift that video game over the balcony railing? I’m certain those things weight more than a girl can lift.
    Oh, the sweetness of that song… minus the tear. Thanks for posting!

  4. When I think of a single tear trailing down a cheek, I always think of the 1970s anti-littering/anti-pollution commercial. You know, the one in which a Native American man gazes across the devastated landscape and has one, single tear . . . *sniff* Still gets me.

    • for me, it’s Demi Moore in Ghost—that single tear(as I remember it) while sitting on the stairs with the coin in the jar.

  5. You know? I told myself to stop drinking my coffee before I started reading. And, sadly, I didn’t listen to myself. Because, when I got to #2, the coffee was spit (spat?). And I have to wonder if the spiral of procrastination at all mimicked Sheena’e earring spiral (or her bangs?) Posts like this just make my Monday!

  6. Tracey Knight says:

    loved this, sophie! was so with you until #13 when i went “woa. sophie has got some deep insight going today.” you are good. the disturbing part is not hearing these songs for YEARS & then knowing EVERY single word & yet i can’t remember why i walked into this room ten minutes ago. thanks for the day brightener & enjoy your cleared to-do list!

  7. Hilarious! Is it sad, telling or just unfair that I could sing EVERY WORD to that song after not hearing it since my bangs looked like that?! And I can’t remember to put the laundry into the dryer. Ever. Funny post. Just bought your book and can’t wait to start it today (if I manage to remember).

  8. You crack me up, sweet friend!! Singing along with Sheena as I type! Mercy!!! Have a great day!

  9. Oh my!! I LOVED this…. nothing like a video flashback to make a Monday seem like a … well, let’s go with Thursday!
    And YES on the single tear!
    But doesn’t Sheena look like she’s ready to kick some fanny in that video? Not all the time, but there are a few times I thought “Dude, you better not come home. This girl is going take you down!” And then she tosses Defender out of the window and WHOA!

  10. Stephanie says:

    I have to say when I thought of the single tear trailing down your face, it wasn’t Sheena Easton that came to mind… it was that totally hot Johnny Depp in jail in the totally strange movie called Cry Baby… that will always be my single tear memory!!! :)

  11. I think he must have taken his clothes so all she had left to toss out was his beloved video game. him playing piano was flashback and how did her hair stay in perfect spiral curl after lugging the game out & over the balcony! I mean, surely, she woud have at the very least broken out in a sweat in her dress that from the bust up unfortunately looks like those drape thingys they made us wear for senior portraits. I was a rebel & shunned the black for what I thought was a beautiful bottle green………

  12. Hilarious! I’m dyin’ here. I’m sure that song was on my “he broke up with me and broke my heart ” tape, you know the one I taped by listening to the radio station and pressing record on my boom box. But, I don’t think I ever saw the video, what kind of writer would decide that shoving the guy’s video game off the balcony was the best visual for this song? And, not one person involved said, “ya’ll, this is just stupid”.

  13. Loved this song back in the day. And I am so glad I took the time to watch as I had no memory of the video. The early years of my marriage included the Defender arcade game in our family room/den. I would have loved to have had a balcony to push it over! Thanks so much for the Monday morning laugh.

  14. Margaret says:

    I think you might have confused Sheena with Sinead when thinking about that single tear rolling down your face. Sinead O’Conner cried at the end of the “Nothing Compares to You” video. That was some excellent video analysis, though. Congrats on finishing all your deadlines!

  15. I love Sheena Easton,,,now that makes me want to go watch a Miami Vice marathon. I love Sheena on that show.

  16. Cindy L. says:

    You crack me up! I loved that song. It spoke to me in the 7th grade. Except I don’t think arcade games had anything to do with it. Funny how I never questioned any of those things in the 80’s videos – the pianist that shows up, the room of aracde games, the earrings! I am sure I had those or some just like it. I know I had some in a hot pink color but very round. Did you have the ones that were homemade of laquered paper and painted all sorts of glittery wold colors? Loved them! Thanks for the trip down memory lane this afternoon!

  17. Lindsay says:

    Are you doing your Bracket challenge?!?! I sure hope so! :)

  18. I really enjoyed watching the video. The 80s were awesome. Also, “they” say that video game playing is a new problem/fixation/relationship-destroyer for our male counterparts, but, clearly, as this video demonstrates so vividly, that is not true. The only thing that’s changed is the size of the game-playing device.

  19. You are definitely back! The leotards/procrastination tangle had me laughing and the 80’s video analysis was pure excellence.

  20. Jennifer says:

    Nice, Sophie. Nice. :)

    Often my framed photos spontaneously combust. It makes a great mess…and an even greater statement.

    I think the video you need is Prince’s “When Doves Cry.” Remember at the end when the illustrated woman–you know, the one that looks like 1980s “salon art”–sheds a single tear to the sounds of the synthesizer?

  21. It’s almost hard to remember a day when people could actually sing. Not rap, not gangsta, no dancing videos and lipsyncing (sp). That was actually a very pretty song and I’d forgotten how well she could sing.

    Thanks for the memories.

  22. This is so fun! I just realized I know Emma Kate. She was my sunday school teacher/ fave mentor throughout high school in Tupelo! I love her. I’ve only been reading your blog for a few months, but it just clicked! love a small MS/ southern world! & love your blog! Emily

  23. Emma Kate says:

    Ok I’m so laughing at this because now Missy I’d love nothing more in this world than for us to just sit for a good 48 hours and watch movies, talk, eat, visit of course, watch tv, more movies, and then eat some more!!!! We’ve had a role reversal:-)

  24. I miss being in high school. It was a good time.