Thursday, January 25, 2007

dar williams and my dental hygienist/eugenicist

I know three of Dar Williams’ albums practically by heart, and went to her show at the Hotel Café last night ready to quietly hum along, and to stifle my urge to not-so-quietly hum along. But she’s been putting out music for a long time, and I only recognized two or three of the songs she played.

No matter—besides the fact that her precise, transcendent lyrics snag you right away, she’s also an amazing stage presence. I say this as someone who doesn’t really pay attention to such things—I’m always more about writing and ideology than I am about performance. Not since seeing Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls (which, fine, was two weeks ago, but before that it had been a really long time) has a performer had such a profound effect on me. Whereas I sort of wanted to adopt Effie in all her wide-eyed toughness, I wanted Dar to adopt me.

She had this great song called “The Babysitter’s Here”:

She’s the best one that we’ve ever had
She sits on her hair and she’s tall as my dad
And she got mad at dinner when Tom drank a beer
But peace, man, cool, hey, the babysitter’s here.

And we all went to see her go dance at the high school
We made her a big card
And she told us that she
d be the unicorn wearing the pink
leotard, and
There she was leaping up just like she said
With a sparkling horn coming out of her head
And she
s oh, oh, oh, oh
(I can
t wait to give her the card, I cant wait to give her the card)
She
s the best one…

(OK, so the play was called “The Unicorn” and she was the
unicorn so that means that the star was my babysitter.)

Which is pretty much how I felt about Dar: somehow cool and nurturing and stand-up funny all at once.

***

Also funny—in a very different, less nurturing way—was the dental hygienist at my cleaning yesterday. This time I did not get perky Heidi (who wasn’t so perky yesterday—I heard her snap at the receptionist and huff out of the room), but Katherine, older and with more eyeliner and a lot of interesting dental theories:

Katherine [peering into my mouth]: Were you born outside the United States?

Me [doing my best to talk with my jaw wide open]: No.

Katherine: What about your parents?

Me: Dey er orn here too.

Katherine: Hmm. Because you have these very subtle ridges on your bottom teeth that I usually only see in foreign-born patients. I don’t know what it is—different dental practices maybe. But I’m right nine times out of ten, and I see it in people from all over—Korea, Belgium, wherever.

Me: Uh, my grangudder wuv orn outshide da Oo Esh?


I don’t know why I was trying to find evidence to support her dental eugenics. Having a naturally helpful nature is not always a good thing.

I also learned that tartar control toothpaste is bullshit, and that east coast dentists make big, clumsy fillings.

5 comments:

ER said...

Now I'm totally stoked to see Dar up here on the 31st! Not so stoked that I have big, clumsy fillings in my mouth. Thanks alot.

Cheryl said...

Don't blame me, blame those crazy Rhode Island dentists. But don't worry, you've still got a great smile.

erin said...

i love love love "the babysitter's here"... totally makes me think of my teenaged babysitters of yesteryear... they were so damn cool.

Jamie said...

That's a great lyric.

I suppose you have to have strange ideas about the world in order to want to become a dental hygienist.

Cheryl said...

E: Cool and very competent, since they had to watch six of you!

J: Or a writer. :-)