Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I was managing a Houlihan's restaurant in Philadelphia when I turned thirty. The bar was very busy on Sunday nights. We had a d.j., a dance floor and drink specials. People would would wait in line to get in. We had doormen and security folks.

My birthday was on a Sunday that year (May 19, 1981) I usually worked the Sunday night shift. I disliked the crowd, but loved the busyness and excitement of the evening. I would spend the whole evening changing kegs, breaking up fights (it's much easier for a woman to break up a fight than a big burly guy -- nobody wants to be the first guy to throw a punch at a woman) and generally trying to manage the mess.

These nights also solidified my utter skin-crawling hatred of two songs.
The Electric Slide and Brown Eyed Girl.

I don't think I need to defend my dislike of the Electric Slide. It was very popular at the time and it would be played several times during the night.

My contempt for Brown Eyed Girl is a little harder to explain. I actually like Van Morrison. It is the reaction that the audience has when the song is played that bugs the Hell out of me. People go nuts! I know a lot of musicians that dread the request that everyone knows is coming..."can you play Brown Eyed Girl?" Last year for my birthday, I requested that the band NOT play Brown Eyed Girl.

It was also the last song that the d.j. would play in Sunday nights, it marked the end of the evening. The you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here herding of the people out of the bar.

The d.j. knew it was my birthday and tried to spin some Nora tunes, the Pixies and The Smiths, but the crowd was not in to it.

We finally finished all of the clean up and closing work at about 2:00 am. My friend Al (another manager) met me to celebrate my birthday. We had our roller blades and packed a cooler (a pickle bucket with six beers covered with ice). I grabbed the Electric Slide and Brown Eyed Girl records on the way out the door. We drove to the parking lot of Veterans Stadium.

I had fun skating over them several times. It was such a great feeling skating in that big parking lot on a Spring night -- I felt very happy and healthy and free.

That might have been one of my best birthdays ever.
And it was a great way to go sailing in to the next decade.

And, yes being the "good girl" that I am I replaced the records, even though it just about killed me to walk in to the record store and by them. I think I bought the latest Dinosaur Jr. record at the same time to show the clerk just how cool I was.


Jamie Dawn said...

That does sound like a fun birthday activity - destroying something annoying.
You have the same b-day as my brother, and my hubby's b-day is May 20, and my daughter's is May 25, and my BIL's is May 15, and my SIL's is May 2.
Whew! You're in good company.

Happy Halloween, chez pez Nora.
Have a SWEEEEEET one!
Steer clear of vampires tonight.

Jerry said...

Just to nitpick, didn't you turn 30 on May 19, 1991?

I know what you mean about Brown Eyed Girl. I wonder how many folks have bought Van Morrison's greatest hits thinking it would contain all upbeat songs. Ha!

In Tulsa, it seems that every cover band played Mustang Sally to the point that we called such bands Mustang Sally Bands.

nora said...

You're right and I fixed it. When I start shaving years off my age, I'm going to go big -- not just one year!

Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...

Great story. I suppose I shouldn't say this but I always liked Brown Eyed Girl. Don't know why.

Rachel said...

Now that song will be playing in my head all night! It was an okay song. My birthday is May 21.

Hope your Halloween is great!!

Bella Rossa said...

Dude, a doorman at a Houlihan's? That's amazing!

Monica said...

I would've been into he smiths!!!!