Being the DJ in my Head Should be a Dream Job. Alas…


Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay

Recently I read Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf’s stream of consciousness novel. Woolf pulls the reader into each character’s head, observing not only the content, but the structure and process of cognition — the slow drift of ideas and the transitions between thoughts.

This is not the consciousness that I experience. I have a DJ who lives in my head. He randomly plays songs. Woolf’s characters don’t have DJs in their heads. Though muddled and confused, at least their thoughts are not constantly interrupted by archaic pop tunes.

Being the DJ in my head should be a dream job. The music of my dating years, starting with the birth of rock and roll and ending when the Beatles broke up, was Florence in the Renaissance, the Dutch Golden Age, Periclean Athens. The DJ in my head can select from the incomparable repertory running from Fats Domino and Buddy Holly to the Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin.

Unfortunately, my DJ has hideous taste in music. He loves songs from my prepubescent days in the early 1950s. Songs like How Much Is That Doggie in the Window:

How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window?
I do hope that doggie’s for sale

I read in the papers there are robbers
With flashlights that shine in the dark
My love needs a doggie to protect him
And scare them away with one bark

He often plays this song for three days straight.

My DJ has a phenomenal recall of the insipid. For example, I heard the repellent 1957 song, Coney Island Holiday Hop, only once in my life.  It is so deservedly obscure that it is now undiscoverable by Google. But the DJ in my head remembers and replays every tedious note and inane lyric:

Meet me at eight o’clock,
Down by the dock,
And we’ll hop that Coney Island boat
Man call it all aboard
I got a cravin’ for
Cotton Candy,
Apple on a stick
I love you with a dress on
At the beach with less onHocus, pocus
I’m in focus

My DJ plays Coney Island Holiday Hop in heavy rotation. He ranks it in the all-time top 10, right up there with Rock and Roll Waltz by Kay Starr and Perry Como’s 1950 hit HoopDeeDoo:

Hand me down my soup and fish
I am gonna get my wish
Hoop-dee-doin’ it tonight

I like opera, but if I request Organella il terro umile, a duet from Simon Boccanegra, my DJ plays instead:

Who wears short shorts
We wear short shorts
They’re such short shorts
We like short shorts.

He knows he can’t be fired. His job carries both union and civil service protection.

Steve Clifford
Steve Clifford
Steve Clifford, the former CEO of KING Broadcasting, has written humor for and the Huffington Post. He is the author of "The CEO Pay Machine."


  1. I know the feeling. I have some great tracks in my rotation, but every once in a while the needle drops on

    Itsy-bitsy teeny-weenie yellow polka-dot bikini . . .”


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