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Davis

Davis, California

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Column: Don’t play that trash in here

I never drank strawberry wine when I was 17. I have also never dug my keys into the side of someone’s souped-up, four-wheel drive. I don’t believe I will ever find someone’s tractor sexy. This being said, you can probably guess that I am a huge country music fan. That was a lie. I guess I can relate to those country songs about liars.

Actually, I’ve loathed country music since the first grade when I saw someone lip sync Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” at my school carnival. The performance inspired my sister, Casey, to tape a mullet-sporting Billy Ray Cyrus poster to her bedroom door and buy his CD. I was inspired to sound proof my adjoining bedroom wall, but my mom thought the ripe age of six was too young to work with insulation and power tools. I responded by playing my Raffi cassette tape just loud enough to tune out any fiddles or twangy sounding words that might permeate the drywall.

As one might guess, an epic music battle would ensue every time there was a family road trip growing up. We took advantage of all the usual tricks. A typical tactic was sneaking up to our parents the day before the drive even took place and “calling” the job of radio DJ.

Naturally, things got out of hand. Potential candidates for the radio DJ job started to offer their services a week before a vacation. Or worse, someone would pull the “if we decide to go on vacation soon, can I choose the music?” card. Clearly we had to develop cleverer methods.

This is when I discovered how powerful a tool trust could be.

“Sure, Casey, I don’t mind listening to your dumb country music the next two hours,” I would say, in probably a slightly more disdain concealing way. “Put on whatever you want.”

About three Shania Twain songs in, my sister would become nice and relaxed, overly comfortable thinking she won our radio battle. Of course, as soon as her eyes closed to nap, I would shoot out of my seat faster than a guy gets cheated on in a country love song and change the radio to anything – maybe even the Spanish station, as long as it wasn’t country.

This didn’t bode well with Casey, whose ears had adapted to the sounds of steel guitars, banjos and fiddles. She could detect their absence immediately, even if she was unconscious. She would wake up immediately and all hell would break loose.

Casey had some tricks up her sleeve as well, though. A more notable move on her part was the time I was packing for a weekend family trip and all of my CDs had conveniently disappeared. It was a smooth move, I’ll give her that. She stopped laughing, however, when she realized she was so caught up in the prank that she forgot to bring her own. We both got karma-ed when my mom took it upon herself to provide the music for that trip. Her favorite CD at the time was something like “Windpipe Music of the Andes.”

Lastly, I’ll never forget the time Casey won three tickets to a country music festival in Stockton. As if Stockton wasn’t gross enough, factor in thousands of rednecks in wife beaters and cowboy boots (I’m from the area, so I’m allowed to bash on it). Now imagine them all belligerently drunk. I was forced to go because my sister winning three tickets quickly escalated into the perfect excuse for a mother-daughter bonding day.

I was like 12 years old, sitting on burning hot metal bleachers in July watching 50-year-old women rock out on their husband’s shoulders. It was a disturbing image to say the least. I’m pretty sure this event was the cherry on the top of the sundae that is my hatred for country music.

Long story short, these experiences have helped shape me into the person I am today. I still despise country music, but I like to believe I’ve become more lenient when it comes to other listeners in my car. If you would like to make a music suggestion in my vehicle, please by all means do so. But if you expect me to actually change the station, you will probably end up on the side of the road with your crappy CDs in hand.

AMANDA HARDWICK is realizing that she rants a lot. She should be more positive. Keith Urban is hot and Australian. That’s one perk of country music. Give her some more at aghardwick@ucdavis.edu.

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