Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Opera Gene

I've been anticipating this ever since the kid's head got stuck on the Birth Canal Expressway; manifestation of the family Opera Gene.

The Opera Gene is not exactly a musical gift, it's more of a tendency toward musicalizing everyday events and it comes with a flair for the dramatic. In me, The Opera Gene showed itself at age five, when I staged my own production entitled "The Princess And The Avocado", featuring my baby sister and the dog. My sister Sarah got the more moody and thoughtful form of The Gene which caused her to be able to amuse herself for hours making up little ditties such as her famous composition "Newts":

Newts, newts, living in the roots. Newts, newts, wearing furry boots. Newts, newts, playing silver flutes. Newts, newts, getting in cahoots....(goes on for 20 minutes or until we get to our violin lesson, whichever comes first.)

My youngest sister Molly got the most aggressive form of The Gene, being so affected that she actually took parts in school musicals even though she only made the chorus most of the time and at the age of seven put together her own television program (on videotape) entitled "The One Hand Man", starring Lego people and smiliarly-sized plastic zoo animals.

Both my parents have The Opera Gene. My mother is genuinely musically gifted but my father has the off-brand form of the gene that causes people to make up song parodies at the drop of a hat and as his musical tastes lean towards the classical, we'd often get work from him like "Don't Sing At The Table", which is set to the tune of De Meistersinger and goes simply "Don't sing at the table, don't sing at the table." From him also came "I'm In The Middle" set to the tune of The Barber of Seville and is just "I'm in the middle, I'm in the middle, I'm in the middle, the middle, the miiiidllllle..." and was typically performed by anyone who was sitting in between two other people.

So when Nigel began to sing instead of talk, it wasn't too much of a shock to me. Unfortunately, he also inherited a family tendency to talk really fast and loudly and he did not inherit perfect pitch, so listening to him yodel can be a little jarring, especially when the yodeling lyrics come from the Cricut manual we are perusing, he affects Lois Griffin's disctinctive Northeast nasal inflection or Spongebob's nails-on-chalkboard giggle. His Guitar Hero activities have provided him with a vast number of tunes to plunder for parody, however that knowledge comes with a social price, as he knows the original lyrics to songs such as "Talk Dirty To Me" by heart and will occasionally start singing them under his breath at Wal-Mart and end up shocking some old lady by mistake.

1 comment:

Briar said...

Everyone in this household is similarly affected by The Gene, Liz. I feel your pain.

I'd even go so far as to say that Small Thing prefers singing to speaking.