A: Some songs are so breathtakingly stupid and annoying that there is no cogent argument to be made against them that won’t make you appear a completely joyless and overly analytical ass. Sometimes the best - the only - way to respond to a song you truly hate is to don the shit-eating-est grin you can muster and sing along as loudly and as enthusiastically as possible.
Q: Does that really work?
A: Not usually.
Q: But you do this anyway?
A: Not often.
Q: Have you actually ever done this at all?
A: Yes. To wit:
The 1994-95 season was the heyday of the Prince Edward Island Senators, farm team to the (then) hapless Ottawa Senators. The Island was blanketed with Senators memorabilia, every third person wore a Senators jersey - names like “Picard,” or the ever-popular “Bonk” emblazoned in bold letters across the back.
While their parent team racked up the most worst record in the NHL, the PEI Senators stood astride the Atlantic Division like a mighty colossus, fearlessly staring down upon the many pretenders who quivered, shook and offered little resistance. Sadly, it would not last. The “Baby Sen’s,” as they were affectionately dubbed, were doomed to economic failure and, some years later, the apex of Island hockey has been reduced to the Abbies - only occasionally impressive and more often merely thuggish.
We knew none of this then, and just as well; fate, by its very nature, is unalterable and best left to its own devices. No, the 94-95 season was a time to revel in our success; it was a time for celebration and excitement. Anything seemed possible.
Q: And this has what to do with music?
A: Patience my friend. To continue:
So it was that I, accompanied by my girlfriend - an altogether lovely girl, the daughter of a successful and widely renowned plumber, who himself was the owner of a pair of Senator’s seasons tickets - found myself at the Charlottetown Civic Centre. There are doubtless many other “Civic Centres” - the name being an obvious choice, lacking somewhat in imagination or poetry - that dot this fine country. While some are no doubt more impressive, I cannot imagine that more joy was contained in a single one of them, as was in Charlottetown that night.
It was the third period, and the most pitiful Providence Bruins were trailing the mighty Baby Sen’s by two goals. Some contended that the Bears troubles lay chiefly in their inability to defend against the Senators power-play. Others claimed that it was the Senators’ aggressive fore-check that had neutralized the Bears. Still others felt that it was largely the actions of one fan - appropriately christened “Mr. Conehead” due to the large, plastic, prosthetic appendage he wore on his head - who so thorough abused, taunted and derided the woeful Bruins that they were completely and utterly demoralized.
No matter the reason, the game was all but won and emotion was running high. During a break in the play Stompin’ Tom’s “The Good Old Hockey Game,” began to blare from the loudspeakers. I gritted my teeth, clenched my teeth, ground my teeth! All to no avail; there was simply no way to block out the insidious “twang.”
Q: You don’t like Stompin’ Tom?
A: I dislike his music intensely.
Q: But all good Canadians love Stompin’ Tom! He’s a cultural icon.
A: He may well be an icon, but I have no stomach for his repetitive treacle.
Q: Aha! So you sang along?
A: What else was there for me to do? To argue against Mr. Tom would have been futile, to sit amongst an arena full of my countrymen, my compatriots, all singing while I was silent? It would have been unbearable.
I swallowed hard, stretched my lips into a foolish insincere grin, and belted forth the lyrics for all tohear:
“Oh, the good ol’ hockey game,
is the best game you can name.
And the best game you can name,
is the good ol’ hockey game.”
Line after line of this doggerel I spouted. I thought it might never end, but just when I felt I could endure no more fate looked upon me with mercy in her eyes, and the game recommenced.
Q: And that’s it?
A: Indeed not.
The game having begun anew, the Honourable Catherine Callbeck - then Premier of Prince Edward Island - who had been sitting beside my girlfriend and I the entire game, but who I did not speak of earlier as her presence was not germane to the story at hand, turned to me. She, in a voice as delightful as it was honeyed, simultaneously stated and inquired:
“You must be a big Stomping Tom fan.”
I thought of the trivial, redundant and cloying versus I had sung. I thought of my voice combined with the voices of untold others to form a mighty chorus of brothers and sisters united in praise for the “good ol’ hockey game.”
“Yes,” I said, smiling sincerely with teeth unclenched, “yes, I suppose
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