Pappasito’s is a big, awesome, yummy Mexican restaurant here in Houston that we went to for a family birthday party the other night. They may have them where you’re from, unless you live in Omaha or something. Pretty sure they don’t cart their salsa way up there. We obviously had to nudge the waitress to let them know there was a birthday party going on right here. We can’t have a party without the proper recognition from the waitstaff, who were busy with about 4 other birthday parties. We wanted them to be at our beck and call for our celebration. A celebration to last throughout the year. So bring your good times! And your laughter, too, ’cause we goan celebrate and party with you. Come on now. Ceeeeeeeeeeeeelebraaaaaaaaaati…
Why are you all staring at me?
(I’m so embarrassed. I know why you’re staring at me. I was dancing and singing that Kool & The Gang song with my eyes closed. If they had been open, I wouldn’t have knocked over that new standing lamp I just bought and put behind that orange chair up there in the right hand corner. Good thing I bought that lamp at Goodwill. It was only 5 bucks. Still, I’m embarrassed and that’s why I asked you in sort of an angry voice, “Why are you all staring at me?” I knew exactly why. You bet I did. Does anyone have a broom and a dust pan? Watch your step in here, too. Glass shards.)
Just before the senors and senoritas gathered around with their, “HEY, BABY, QUE PASO (CLAP, CLAP, CLAPCLAPCLAP)!!” birthday song and right before my dad yelled out “Ole-dy!!” (“Old Lady”), my mom told me, “You know it’s illegal to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in public places, right?”
“Oh, come on, Mom, it is not.”
“I’m so sure!” (I still like to talk like a valley girl sometimes.)
“Kelley, look it up on your phone. Look it up right now.”
After I stuffed 10 more chips in my mouth, plus one more with some green sauce, I Googled it. She was right. Wikipedia said so. If you want the nitty-gritty on that little ditty, you can find it here. My favorite part about the passage was when the author broke the Happy Birthday song down:
Structurally, the text of the song consists of four lines, three of which are identical. Each of the three identical lines is precisely the title of the song: “Happy birthday to you!”. The other line is “Happy birthday, dear _____”, where the blank “_____” is replaced by the name of the person whose birthday is being celebrated, and serves to address the song to that person. For example, “Happy Birthday, dear Henry.” This naturally leads to problems of scansion if the name is not two syllables with the stress on the first syllable, and a breakdown of ensemble if excessive ad hoc adjustment is required, for example if the person is known to all as “Mrs Winterbottom.”
I know someone worked long and hard to make that song up, but…I’m thinking it’s high-time the public owns this song. It’s like having to pay someone royalties to sing “Jingle Bells”. I ain’t standing for that mess anymore!! Let’s get really angry, folks, and raise some ruckus! Let’s put that Happy Birthday song back where it belongs- in the mouths of the people all across this land! Citizens who care about their kids! Citizens who wash their cars on their lunch breaks, hosing and scrubbing as best they can in skirts and suits! Citizens who like to quote Sheryl Crow songs! Citizens who work hard to bring butter and bacon home to little hungry Johnnys and Sues and Ralphs and Lindas and Beckys in this great land of ours! LET’S MAKE THAT HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG OURS!
*Wipes sweat from eyebrows*
Although this injustice just angers me to no end, I have decided the best way to protest is in a non-violent manner. No one is going to solve anything by throwing Molotov Cocktails willy-nilly. So, I’ve written a few ideas below about tasteful, non-violent ways we can get the message across to the people who are lining their pockets with the lyrics of the Happy Birthday song. Feel free to adapt as you see fit. My vision is that small pockets of people will put these guidelines in action in every state in this union and, before you know it, we’ve put that Happy Birthday song right where it belongs: in the mouths, lungs and diaphragms of the American people, regardless of color, creed or religion!!
#1 SIT-INS: Instead of a play date at some lame girl’s house, move the children to the McDonald’s indoor playground. While your kids are going up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down the same dadgum slide, you and your playgroup friends sit your hind ends down RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE COKE MACHINE. If you are sitting over near the emergency exit, you won’t be noticed as much. Sit your butt in front of the Diet Coke and Sweet Tea and sing, girl. Sing! Just sing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” in the most serious, somber way you know how. We want people to know we mean business! DO NOT CRACK A SMILE! Don’t stop until you get taken away in handcuffs.
#2 HUMAN ROADS: This works best in really upscale restaurants like Chili’s and Olive Garden. Basically, you just lie down right in front of the entrance to the restaurant and have your friend lie down right next to you and so on and so on and so on. Choose a spot on the ceiling, focus in on it really good and, on the count of 3, begin to sing the “Happy Birthday” song. This is really most effective if you can get a tear to slide out of the corner of your eyes. Don’t stop until you get manhandled.
#3 SANDWICH BOARDS: This one really requires only you and someone with a portable keyboard. Go to CVS, get two white poster boards, some yarn, scissors, a hole punch and a marker. Write the lyrics of “Happy Birthday” on the boards. Once you are at the mall or an equally public and crowded area, have your friend begin to play the song on the loudest volume setting possible. With as much power as you can muster behind those vocal cords, SING IT LOUD AND CLEAR. Hopefully, people will stop and join in the song with you. Your lyrics on your sandwich board will leave no one without an excuse. The words are right there! Don’t stop until you get sprayed with a fire hose.
#4 FLASH MOBS: I know Flash Mobs are so yesterday, which makes me think that people may actually be ready to start seeing them again. So, get to your mall’s Food Court ASAP, dress in festive colors, have someone crouch behind the garbage can near Chick-Fil-A with a microphone and, once they start singing “Happy Birthday”, get your choreographed dance on. Try your best to stand on as many tables as possible to really get the attention of the crowd. When the S.W.A.T. team starts to move in, throw tear gas and run.
Surely, SURELY, with this kind of “We’re not gonna take it! NO! We’re not gonna take it! We’re not gonna take it, anymooooooooooooooooore!!!!” behavior, the “Happy Birthday” copyright owners will just throw their hands up in the air, wave them like they just don’t care and allow restaurants, movies and the great citizens across this land to sing the song in public! Until we see that day, DON’T GIVE UP!
TOP CHEF UPDATE
The show’s finale will be THIS Wednesday at 10/9 central on Bravo. You know I will be watching it! I have several new posts that I would love for you to check out. Your comments, likes, shares, pins, retweets, etc. all mean tons. I appreciate them all! Thank you! Here is what I’ve got:
You can check out ALL of my Top Chef posts HERE. (I am required to disclose that I am a Bravo-sponsored blogger. All opinions are my own.)