Urban Theme Song

September 6th, 2011

Life has a way of inserting ironic melodies into mundane moments of my life.

I live just two minutes from a depot that houses what seems to be all the taco and ice cream trucks that prowl the endless mecca of Los Angeles. Each truck has its requisite theme song, and I’m thinking that The Godfather, Scarface, and Rambo have had an incredible cultural influence on these mythic purveyors of burritos, tacos, and tangy salsas. The ice cream trucks take an entirely different tact: they call upon childhood sentimentalism, each ditty ingraining itself hopelessly into one’s head, nursery rhymes utilized in a variety of childhood games, from hopscotch to pat-a-cake.

The songs surround me daily. The melodies arise, first from a distance, melodies so vague, as if a faint memory from an early morning dream; intangible, then rising to a full and resounding dirge, often at moments that don’t sync with my intentions. There could be a stern parental moment when urging my son to take on his chores, and Nino Rota’s Sicilian love theme from The Godfather melts me in my tracks. Or even (on an odder note) when rolling with my lover in a coital tangle, “Pop Goes The Weasel” seeps through the brick of our abode and brings us to tears of laughter.

Music is a lifeline and a wild card and has at moments changed the direction of my emotions and even my life. That is its grace.

Summer is well-nigh at a close, but Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Summertime” has just begun to waft through my living room from a roaming truck. My heart swells with images of Porgy and Bess, who are the only protagonists in a musical that I adore, and I reflect on the season that will soon leave us.

Take note if an incipient piece of music invades your day. Is it an old woman humming a melody at the checkout counter, or a homey blasting his music to full rumble at a stop light? Do you carry it with you? Does it change your mood?



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Our Friends Say
  1. Harriet says:

    It’s the theme from the The Godfather in my neighborhood too! Why anyone would think to associate an epic tale of the mafia in America with ice cream is beyond me.


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