Last night the Barenaked Ladies performed at Chastain Park Amphitheatre, an outdoor venue here in Atlanta at which it is difficult not to enjoy oneself, especially with a band as infectious as these lads from Canada. While I wasn’t able to attend the concert, knowing that the group was here reminded me of a prank I played on my youngest son that centered on one of the band’s hits, “Another Postcard.”
A few summers ago, my two sons, then 13 and 16, and I took a week-long road trip through the Southeastern U.S. to camp and tackle about a half-dozen whitewater rivers in this part of the country that we had not yet rafted or kayaked. Along the way, we listened to mixtapes, mostly rock, that each of us had made for the trip. On one of my sons’ CDs was the Barenaked Ladies song “Another Postcard”. Although I had heard it before, it is a piece to which I had never really given a good listen. When I focused on the lyrics, I enjoyed the good-natured humor expressed in the song about the band receiving anonymous chimp-themed postcards. So much did I enjoy it, that the song was played over and over to the point that my kids may actually have regretted bringing it along. Along the way, we also predictably shared a fair number of chimp-related jokes.
Shortly after we arrived home from our outdoors adventure, I proceeded to locate postcards or greetings cards that I could convert to a post card and that featured images of chimps, usually in some silly pose. I jotted short nonsensical notes, ostensibly from “Chimpie”, on each card and over a week and a half sent one card a day to my youngest son. Fortunately, my sons are possessed with a natural good sense of humor (like their dad!), and throughout the week my youngest seemed to take note of the cards without much remark. Then one Saturday as his brother and I were chatting in one of their bedrooms, my youngest son walks in from getting the mail and says with slight annoyance and in an almost perfectly scripted moment, ” I don’t get it. I just got another stupid postcard of a chimpanzee!” Up to that point, I had not let either of my sons in on my sophomoric joke but at that moment each of them, hearing me chuckle and seeing the smile on my face, knew that it was a prank from their dad and they too could not help but join in the laughter (although my youngest vowed to pay me back!).
Thus, in the way that music has a way of conjuring up memories, whenever I hear “Another Postcard” it brings me back to that enjoyable summer road trip and its mirthful endnote.