My son’s musical tastes have developed roughly to the point where he thinks Vanilla Ice’s theft of Queen’s music was justified because Vanilla put it to higher use. This divergence between our respective musical inclinations causes some friction on long car trips. For the last three weeks, Sean has been listening to the same Cher Lloyd song on an endless loop, over and over and over again. In 2011, this song slithered its way onto the list of the ten most annoying songs of all time, (just below Vanilla Ice’s magnum opus) and I assure you, it’s not for nothing.

Back in the days before he had his own iPad, music was easy – I controlled it. But now he can make his own soundtrack, with his own device, often competing with my car stereo. This results in exchanges like this:

Swagger Jagger

Swagger Jagger

You should get some

Of your own…

“Sean, put your earbuds in, because that song makes my brain feel like it’s being slowly consumed from within by a violent parasitic worm.”

Sean looks for his earbuds with excruciating slowness, while “Swagger Jagger” continues its corrosive assault on my sanity:

You can’t stop looking at me, staring at me

Be what I be, you can’t stop lookin’ at me

So get up out my face.

Finally he gets his earbuds in, and I can still hear it, leaking thinly out of the space between his ears and the white pieces of plastic lodged within them.

I frantically grab my phone to turn on my music. Maybe some Poison or something. I’m pretty sure that only a loud playing of Look What The Cat Dragged In will scour the last traces of the incorrigible Cher Lloyd from my brain pan. Bret Michaels has barely opened his mouth when my signal hangs up.

You can’t stop clicking at me

Writin’ bout me

Tweetin’ bout me.

Reflexively I run over the rumble strip on the side of the road to drown her out, on the theory that driving my car over the grooves in the asphalt designed to wake up sleeping drivers is a preferable sensory experience to one more word of “Swagger Jagger.”

I remember that in 1989, when Manuel Noriega was holed up in the Vatican embassy in Panama, U.S. troops surrounded the embassy and played Van Halen at full blast until he surrendered. Are they kidding? Van Halen? That took days. Cher Lloyd would’ve had him out in an hour.

“Sean, let’s find a mutually agreeable song. What song will make you turn that off?”

He ponders for a minute, until his face sprouts a twisted grin.

Ice Ice Baby.

I’m silent for a moment while the reality descends on me that I spawned this wickedness from my own womb.

“Deal.”

If there was a problem, yo, I solved it.

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