My old friend The Elk dropped by Sunday night to give me my birthday present, play some full-contact Scrabble and have a libation with me.
He and I have a long tradition of giving one another bad records for birthdays and holidays. One night nearly 20 years ago, we had a Guiness-fueled discussion at The Gingerman about songs and albums that would never come out on cd. We had a bet--a keg of Guinness was the wager-- of who could find one of two things first on cd: the horrendous 1974 Blue Swede hit "Hooked On A Feeling" (that of the "Ooga-chugga, Ooga-chugga" chorus) or the Jim Nabors Christmas album.
It was a double win that cancelled each other out. I found the Blue Swede song-- it was first released on cd on the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack-- and The Elk found the Jim Nabors cd about the same time.
Usually, though, our bad gifts involve vinyl. The Defranco Family's hit song "The Heartbeat is the Lovebeat." Captain and Tenille albums. For god's sake, even David Soul records. We have no shame.
One year, The Elk shot himself in the foot: he found the Robert Mitchum Calypso album at a garage sale, and gave it to a friend as a gag gift. Turned out it's a rarity on vinyl and worth a bundle. His friend thanked him.
This year, though, The Elk may have dropped the big one. Yes indeed, it's Pat Boone, the whitest man in history.
It's gotten ugly, people.