Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Brownsville Station -- "Smokin' in the Boys Room" (1973)


Sitting in the classroom
Thinking it's a drag
Listening to the teacher rap
Just ain't my bag

I saw this sign a few days ago on the door of the women's room in the building where my dentist has his office:


Here's a picture of the door of the men's room that is adjacent to that women's room:


There was obviously no need for a sign on the men's room door because men always play by the rules!  So why can't women play by the rules, too?

Actually, men don't always play by the rules -- as is demonstrated by this sign, which I saw in the bathroom at a downtown lunch spot I recently visited:


Wanna take a guess whether a man or a woman runs that place?

Here's the sign from the ice and water dispenser at that lunch spot:


Let's forget the errant apostrophe and focus on the next line: "Put your cup in your hand."

When instructing someone how to get ice or water from a dispenser, is it really necessary to start out by telling him to "[p]ut your cup in your hand"?

Based on the two pieces of evidence available to us -- the "tinkle" sign in the bathroom and this sign, I think it's safe to say that not only is the restaurant run by a woman, but also that this restaurant is run by a woman whose experience with men has taught her that there is nothing that a man can't screw up.

Can you imagine being that woman's child?  Or husband, for that matter  -- who might as well be one of her children because that is the way she treats him.  I guarantee to you that she has trained him to sit down when he tinkles so he doesn't make a mess with that nasty you-know-what of his.

Anyway, let's get back to the first sign above -- the one about smoking in the ladies room.

I frankly have a deep-seated distaste for smoking and smokers.  I'm not sure where that distaste came from, but it is very strong indeed.

I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, and I never will -- it grosses me out just to think about it.  (FYI, I'm not a fan of chewing gum either.)

Not smoking was a very profitable strategy for me to follow when I was in high school.  When I was 16, my father promised to buy me a new car if I maintained my grades and didn't smoke or drink until I graduated from high school.  

1970 Olds Cutlass Supreme coupe
I'm not sure he really intended his promise to be taken seriously.  But I remembered it and took it very seriously.  And to give my father the credit he deserves, he came through with a shiny new 1970 Olds Cutlass Supreme two-door coupe with a vinyl top and a 350-cubic inch V-8 engine (which came standard).

NOTE: That car served me well for ten years, until I was transferred to the San Francisco office of the federal agency that employed me.  I left the car with the woman who later became my wife, and she promptly totaled it.  To be fair, she wasn't in the car when it was totaled, so I suppose it wasn't really her fault.  Some drunk plowed into it in the middle of the night while it was innocently parked on a Washington, DC street.  To be precise, it was parked in front of the house where my bride-to-be was visiting a gentleman friend.  (I didn't mind the gentleman friend so much, but I did miss that car.)

I not only didn't smoke, but also was turned off by women who did.  I dated very few women who were smokers.  Of course, I dated very few women who weren't smokers.  (Another way to put it is that very few women dated me.)

So all else being equal, I avoided women who smoked.  But all else is almost never equal, is it?  

If I had sat down and listed the criteria that mattered most to me in choosing a lady friend, whether she smoked or didn't smoke was a significant factor.  In fact, it may have been #2 in significance.  

But it was not #1 -- it was not even in the same time zone as #1.  A man will overlook smoking and a hell of a lot more for some good #1.  (To tell the truth, he'll overlook a lot even if the #1 is just average #1 -- or even below-average.)


"Smokin' in the Boys Room" was a #3 hit for Brownsville Station, an Ann Arbor, Michigan band that released it on its third studio album, Yeah!, in 1973.  

The song was co-written and sung by the late Michael "Cub" Koda, who was once described by author Stephen King as “America’s greatest houserocker" -- whatever the hell that means.

P. J. Soles and Dey Young
"Smokin' in the Boys Room" was featured in the fabulous Rock 'n' Roll High School, which starred the adorable P. J. Soles as a Ramones-loving bad girl, the adorable Dey Young as a Vince Van Patten-loving good girl, and the 100% unadorable former child star (and younger brother of director Ron Howard), Clint Howard.

If you ever want to give a small child nightmares, just set him down in front of a computer and show him photos of Clint Howard:


Clint Howard has acted in some real stinkers, but may have reached the nadir of his career when he portrayed a cross-dressing man named "Nipples" in the truly execrable 2000 Adam Sandler movie, Little Nicky:



A cover of "Smokin' in the Boys Room" was a hit for Mötley Crüe in 1985.  When Koda died in 2000, his father told a reporter that his son liked Mötley Crüe's cover version just fine because “[h]e made more money off Mötley Crüe that he did off Brownsville Station."  (It was as true then as it is today: money talks, and you-know-what walks.)

Brownsville Station's last single to chart was titled "Martian Boogie."  It's even worse than the title sounds.

Here's "Smokin' in the Boys Room":



Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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