. . . on the Wal-Mart Radio Network!
On the off chance that there's anyone in North America besides Janet Reid who's never been in a Wal-Mart, allow me to explain. The gigantic Wal-mart corporation, which owns a huge chain of retail outlets under the Wal-Mart name and a huge chain of wholesale outlets under the Sam's Club name and a growing chain of grocery stores under the Neighborhood Market name also runs three communication networks to connect them all. There is a company intranet called The Wire*, The Wal-Mart Television Network, which supplies content (heavy on the advertising) for the televisions located throughout the stores, and the Wal-Mart Radio Network, which supplies the music and ads you can hear anytime you are out of range of one of the TVs.
Wal-Mart radio is arguably the strangest radio station in the world.
It is perfectly normal to hear a sequence of music such as this: Buddy Holly, Rod Stewart, Garth Brooks, Boy George, Jose Feliciano, Uncle Cracker, Sons of the Pioneers, Johnny Cash, Def Leppard and Judy Garland.
Lately, however, I've noticed a new trend. Somewhere in the animal cages that hold the radio programmers, there is a Monkees fan. I'm something of a Monkees fan myself from back in the day**, otherwise I probably wouldn't have noticed. But for the past several weeks, almost every day I work, I hear at least one obscure Monkees song. I'm not talking Daydream Believer, Pleasant Valley Sunday or Last Train to Clarksville here. Yesterday I heard Mary, Mary. The day before that (well, the last day I worked before that) it was Sweet Young Thing and the day before that was Take a Giant Step Outside Your Mind. In the past couple of months I've heard She, Valerie, On The Day We Fall In Love, Auntie Grizzelda and I'm Gonna Buy Me A Dog.
It's so weird being at work and suddenly hearing these old songs, like a blast from the past. Some of them I haven't heard, I don't think, since I wore out the last of my Monkees cassette tapes twenty years ago! I'm not complaining! I still like the Monkees and I'm enjoying the novelty of hearing them again, and the variety. (Wal-Mart television is mind-bogglingly repetitive! You get the same segments about every three minutes. I can now talk like Paula Deen. This is not something I learned voluntarily!) The only bad thing is that every time I hear one (I'm still waiting for Zam and Zor, Going Down, Shades of Grey and Western Union) I want to run and tell someone.
And nobody ever understands.
*Janet Reid says I should watch The Wire for some great writing, but so far all I'm seeing is cleaning guides and official dress codes.
**Back in the day being the late 1980s, when The Monkees was on Nick at Nite in reruns, not in the mid 1960s. Contrary to what my nephews think, I'm not that old!