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Life, Music

Relatable Song: (10) and Counting

I ask you, dear reader, is there a song which, every time you hear it, it reminds you of a certain period of your life?  A time full of happy (or sad) memories?  Do you get nostalgic every time you hear this certain song?  A song you can relate to?  When you hear the lyrics you can readily identify with them?

I do.  And I do.  And I do.

There are actually a handful of songs that instigate this nostalgia, but I’ll talk about one in particular today.  The song is called (10) and Counting, performed by Boy Sets Fire.

This song describes a time when you’re so downtrodden, so destitute, that you’re literally scraping to make ends meet.  In this song they dealt with the pain by escaping in alcohol, which is something I have never done, but nevertheless this song still reminds me of my senior year in high school.

My mother, my brother, and I all shared an apartment in Jeffersontown, Kentucky.  My step-dad (who is a ginormous douche-canoe who married my mother even though he was in the closet) was an over-the-r0ad truck driver.  He decided, for reasons I don’t know, to stop sending money home to help pay the rent.  My mother worked 3rd shift at Wal-Mart.  She barely brought home enough money to make her car payment and pay the rent.

So my brother and I got part-time jobs.  Well, mine was supposed to be part-time and it ended up being full-time which almost caused me to flunk out of school, but that’s another post for another time.  I got a job working for Mr. Gatti’s pizza and my brother worked for KFC.

The Colonel says, “It’s finger-lickin’ good, bitches!”

Because we both worked for restaurants, and we both closed every night, we were able to bring food home every night.  Since there was hardly any money for groceries this food was our salvation.

Each night my brother and I would get home at roughly the same time and we’d eagerly exchange our food as I was tired of pizza and he was tired of chicken.

“Give me the hot wings!” I’d yell.

“Give me the pizza, bitch!” he’d retort.

All of this was said endearingly, of course.

So we would trade food and leave the leftovers in the fridge for mom and for breakfast in the morning.  We literally subsisted on pizza and chicken for most of the school year.  I’d often get called in on my days off to work.  Being that I was working full-time, in addition to being a full-time student, I was frequently fatigued and indifferent when I received these calls.  But they knew all they had to do was say, “I’ll let you have a couple free pizza’s,” and I’d say yes.  Lord only knows what they thought of me for being so easy to bribe with free food, but that food fed my family so I really didn’t care what they thought.

Gatti's Pizza

Evidently it’s just Gatti’s Pizza now.  They appear to have dropped the formal name.  How gauche. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the nights I closed, I was able to make my own pizzas.  Mr. Gatti’s made their dough fresh daily and pitched whatever was left over at the end of the day.  So instead of pitching it all, those of us who closed were allowed to make our own pizza after everything was finished for the night.  My specialty was affectionately dubbed, “the mo’ cheese pizza.”  My brother and I loved this.  Each night I’d pile pepperoni and sausage onto the crust and then pile loads of cheese on the pizza – hence the name mo’ cheese – and, wa la, we had our pizza.  Once, cooked, this pizza looked like a lake full of melted, gooey cheese that you could just swim in.  And it was fantastic.

It was this cheesy, only more so.  I heart cheese.

In addition to going to school and working, my nights were spent caring for a one-year old girl.  See, one of my mom’s co-workers had been beaten by her boyfriend.  The boyfriend was convicted and sent to jail, but the coworker couldn’t afford to live on her own.  So mom let her move in with us.  She worked 3rd shift as well, so it was left to me to care for the daughter while they were at work.  Luckily the little girl was very easy to care for.  She was well-behaved and always slept through the night.

Some might say or think that these are sad, or even grim, memories.  The fact that we had no money for food didn’t matter to us as we were able to get food via other avenues.  We didn’t need gas money because both KFC and Mr. Gatti’s were within walking distance of our apartment.  I look back fondly on these days.  Even though we didn’t have much, we had each other and that was all we needed.  We had many a great time every night trading our food and telling each other about our respective days.  Plus, it felt a little rewarding to be able to help mom out in whatever small ways we could.  We both brought enough food home every night that the only thing we really ever needed to get from the grocery store were a few odd and end things such as napkins, paper plates, and stuph to drink.  Even though most of my money was going into a savings account so I could get my own car, I pitched in a couple of times to pay the utility bills.  This time in my life taught me a lot of lessons, the most important of which is this:  money doesn’t equal happiness.  You can be dirt-poor and still be happy.

Is there a song that makes you nostalgic?  What memories does that song evoke?

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15 thoughts on “Relatable Song: (10) and Counting

  1. That’s a great story, and it sounds like you have a great, strong family!
    Nostalgia songs for me? Waaaay too many to list.
    There’s one attached to every girl I ever liked, every job I ever had, and most of the places I’ve been.

    I listened to Paul Simon’s Negotiations and Love Songs in the Middle East for a week, and Train in the Distance takes me back there every single time.


    Posted by El Guapo | December 13, 2012, 8:01 pm
  2. That pizza looks awesome. I have many, many songs that take me back too, to good times and bad. My formative years were in the 80s, so pretty much any 80s song will time warp me back to high school.


    Posted by Madame Weebles | December 14, 2012, 12:33 am
  3. Boysetsfire is awesome. I go crazy hr Paul Davis?? Gets me every time…and it is so not what I listen to…thanks Robert…lol.


    Posted by leah | December 14, 2012, 8:14 am
  4. I agree with Guap, your family sounds wonderful, close, and loving! And you have such a positive perspective on life!!
    I love working at food places! I worked at a bagel shop and like your pizza place, at the end of the day they pitched all the extra bagels, so I would take home dozens of bagels. I handed them out like candy after a while! I just started at a new restaurant, and already went home with pizza; but hopefully I’ll get a bit more diversity from this place (I didn’t have a sibling to trade bagels with ^.^)


    Posted by GiggsMcGill Jill | December 14, 2012, 3:42 pm
  5. The mo’ cheese pizza sounds amazing. I love cheese. It has power. You’re so right that money doesn’t buy happiness. I’ve been dirt broke before and been happy. Songs SO take me back. Like scents. I can be in a mall or something and smell a certain cologne and BOOM! Back in 1986 with the first boy I loved who turned out to be a total loser but at the time, he was awesome. Anyway. I thought you might also like to know that I, too, worked at Kenfucky Tried Chicken during high school. We had those ugly stinky brown polyester uniforms but got free chicken, so there was that.


    Posted by Kristi Campbell - findingninee | May 19, 2014, 11:32 am


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