why i shouldn’t speak without permission

June 10, 2008

You know how sometimes you think you know someone, and you think you know what you can say to them, and more importantly, what you CAN’T say to them, but sometimes you are SOOOO totally off in your assessment of what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate that really, someone who DID know should have stopped from you talking by cracking you on the head with the flat side of an electric carving knife?

No? Well then, this probably hasn’t ever happened to you. But it’s really the story of my life.

You know that scene in This Is Spinal Tap, where Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner) is interviewing Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), while Nigel plays the piano? Nigel the sex-crazed brainless rock n roller is playing that beautiful, lyrical, meandering melody, and when Marty asks him about it, and compliments it, Nigel says it’s actually part of a musical trilogy he’s working on. And Marty again tells him how lovely it is, and asks him what it’s called.

Soon after Kim and I got married, way back in 1990, we spent Thanksgiving or Christmas (can’t remember which) in Chicago with her parents (and her 5 younger siblings). Kim comes from a fairly, um, conservative family, and her dad, with whom I’m good friends TODAY, NOW, was, back then, a bit doctrinaire, and even a little dogmatic. Okay, a LOT.

But, me, I wasn’t so much. I grew up with a very religious dad who told me dirty jokes and took me to R rated movies.

Anyway, I like movies. A LOT. They form a large part of who I am and make up a pretty big chunk of my conversation and vocabulary. And I think This Is Spinal Tap is one of the best five comedies ever made. And this piano-playing scene is one of the funniest scenes in one of the best five comedies ever made.

So I’m sitting next to Kim’s dad for a big holiday family meal, nine of us gathered around a huge table, and I’m sitting between Kim and her dad, whom I really want to both get to know, and impress with my wit and table conversation. He has just finished telling me how much he likes Blazing Saddles, so I want to let him know, Hey! I’m hip to movies, I like the funny. But he’s never seen This is Spinal Tap. Of course, I declare this to be simply outrageous for a movie lover like him, and I start telling him about my favorite scene.

“And so Marty is asking him, what’s the piece called, and Nigel doesn’t seem to hear him, and keeps playing this magical melody, this soothing piano piece that sounds like background music for a wedding reception, and blathering on about how it’s part of a musical trilogy or something and how D is the saddest key, and how it’s come kind of combination of Mozart and Bach. Like this:

[Nigel is playing a soft piece on the piano]
Marty: It’s very pretty.
Nigel: Yeah, I’ve been fooling around with it for a few months.
Marty: It’s a bit of a departure from what you normally play.
Nigel: It’s part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy I’m working on in D minor which is the saddest of all keys, I find. People weep instantly when they hear it, and I don’t know why.
Marty: It’s very nice.
Nigel: You know, just simple lines intertwining, you know, very much like – I’m really influenced by Mozart and Bach, and it’s sort of in between those, really. It’s like a Mach piece, really. It’s sort of…
Marty: What do you call this?

I say to Kim’s dad, “So Marty asks him, “What’s it called?” and Nigel finally answers.

“Well, this piece is called “Lick My Love Pump.“”

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

I can’t identify ALL the signs of disapproval or disgust or dismay, but I’m pretty sure the face Kim’s dad made right then indicated that he had just thrown up in his mouth. And maybe on his chin a little.


18 Responses to “why i shouldn’t speak without permission”

  1. Rick S. Says:

    I laugh just as hard every time I hear that story. probably cuz I know exactly what kind of face Sr. makes when something totally offends him.

    So great! Thanks for sharing.

    Kim- sorry but the story needs to be told to the World.

  2. Bikemike Says:

    dug, at least he didn’t throw up on you. that should be the gage for how far is too far.

  3. Elden Says:

    my problem is, i always want to know what happens after the punchline. like, i like to know what happens for the next several minutes. i.e., he looks at you with disgust, and what do you do? and how does the rest of the evening go? and were you able to sleep that night?

    also, do you find that those moments you wish you could retract are also the ones that you remember more vividly than any others, and that furthermore they will sometimes spring unbidden to mind, causing you to grown audibly?

    me either.

  4. Elden Says:

    i mean GROAN! not GROWN.

    i hate myself.

  5. KanyonKris Says:

    Great story, and well told! Rick was right to encourage you to blog it.

    Some little part of me tells me not to laugh at that scene, that it’s crude and vulgar – but I can’t help it, the extreme contrast just makes me laugh.

    I watched “This Is Spinal Tap” the first time with my my wife and her brother and wife. He couldn’t believe I’d never seen it so he setup a viewing at his house. The visual humor of the Stonehenge scene had me laughing so I hard I literally fell off the couch and continued laughing on the floor, tears streaming down my face. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard since. Thanks, Rob Reiner – and for “Princess Bride” too.

    Oh, and…

    “I want snipers here, here and here.”

  6. dug Says:

    elden, are you like that kid, teddy, in stand by me, when gordie tells the awesome story about the fat kid at the pie eating contest, and teddy wants to hear what happened after?

    dude, what happened after isn’t the story. cmon man.

  7. Elden Says:

    i freely admitted that it was a problem. in fact, one might even say i prefaced my comment to that effect.

  8. VH1 Says:

    Wow “lick my love pump”. You had me at hello.

  9. dug Says:

    okay rick, you get to sit by my dad this sunday for his father’s day dinner.

  10. dug Says:


  11. dug Says:

    VH1, and then, after hello, will you . . . ?

  12. Jonnie Says:

    I have been going to the wrong family dinners on Sunday nights. What’s the address….I am there.

  13. Sleepy Says:

    I would have loved to have been at the table for that conversation.

  14. mark Says:

    Dug, you know how some people, well some of the people that keep a journal or diary at least, will rip the pages out of the journal so nobody will ever read them? Well it’s sort of like you ripped those pages out, but instead of throwing them away or shredding them or burning them, published them on the Internet. I’m really not sure what this says about you. But keep it coming.

  15. Bikemike Says:

    Dug, what movie should i quote for my father-in-law this Sunday on father’s day? he’s a nice quiet moderate-democrat-methodist. “seems” to have a great sense of humor. i’m thinking maybe val kilmer-real genious kinda stuff. projectile vomitting across the ham at dinner is not out of the question.
    thanks in advance.

  16. Bikemike Says:

    yeah, i know, genius. duh.

  17. dug Says:

    bikemike, i’m thinking something from talladega nights, maybe the prayer over the kfc chicken feast, about the baby jesus, where he thanks the baby jesus for his smokin hot wife.

    or from life of brian, where brian tells the adoring crowd to #&%$ off.

    something like that.

  18. Bikemike Says:

    i’ll try to have video on youtube. i may have to move to utah.

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