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Broke-Ass Learning: Random Things I Learned From Songs

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In middle school, the biggest problem in my suburban world was whether to get a Jansport or Eastpak back pack. If I recall correctly, my mom got me a LL Bean backpack that she said I could “reuse until high school.” I died. My second biggest problem was convincing my dad to make a Sam’s Club run so that I could get economy packs of Airheads to use as currency in the under-the-desk candy trade of my seventh grade science class. Rough life. With all this taking up most of my brain space, I had little time left for actual learning and things of that nature – getting an education was very secondary to my newly-active social life.

However, unintentionally, I did end up gleaning some useful information from songs of the era, thanks to my obsessive need to transcribe song lyrics to one-subject notebooks with the use of my handy two deck cassette tape recorder and radio. Instead of doing homework, I spent hours in front of my boom box, fingers poised to hit down on “record” and “play” at the same time so that I could make mix tape after mix tape of crappy 1995 era songs. Hey, this was before the internet, people.

Contrary to my mother’s assertion that the alt-rock of the nineties would “rot my brain,” I feel it has done quite the opposite. Here are some of the more useful nuggets of info I was first exposed to in all their mid-nineties angsty glory. Thanks, Eddie Vedder!

Artist/Song: Green Day, “Redundant”
Word/Def: Redundant, adj. (of words or data) Able to be omitted without loss of meaning or function
Used in a sentence: “I cannot speak / I’ve lost my voice / I’m speechless and redundant”

Artist: U2
Word/Def: Achtung, a German word meaning “attention!”
Used in a sentence: “Achtung, Baby”

Artist/Song: Rx Bandits, “Analog Boy”
Word/Def: Analog, adj. Relating to or using signals or information represented by a continuously variable physical quantity such as spatial position or voltage
Used in a sentence: “Analog boy in a digital world. Eeeooooh!”

Artist/Song: Local H, “Bound for the Floor”
Word/Def: Copacetic, adj. In excellent order
Used in a sentence: “And you just don’t get it / you keep it copacetic”

Artist/Song: Pearl Jam, “Daughter”
Word/Def: Listless, adj. Lacking in energy or enthusiasm
Used in a sentence: “Alone / listless / breakfast table in an otherwise empty room”

Artist/Song: Smashing Pumpkins, “Disarm”
Word/Def: Disarm, v. To render harmless
Used in a sentence: “Disarm you with a smile:

Artist/Song: EELS, “Novocaine for the Soul”
Word/Def: Novocaine, Prescription drug used to cause numbness or loss of feeling to an area of your body. This medicine is a type of anesthesia
Used in a sentence: “Novocaine for the soul / You better give me something / To fill the hole”

Artist/Song: Offspring, “Bad Habit”
Word/Def: “Dumb sh*t,” “g*dd*mn,” “motherf*cker”
Used in a sentence: OK, fine mom, you got ONE

And finally …

Artist/Song: Chumbawamba, “Tubthumping”
Word/Def: Pissing, v. Urinate
Used in a sentence: “Pissing the night away / Pissing the night away”

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Patricia Scull - Patty the Pauper

Patricia Scull - Patty the Pauper

Patty loves cats, cheese, and irony, so although she is currently a petite Asian chick, she is well on her way to becoming a fat, smelly, cat lady later in life. Born in Korea and adopted to white people in the South, Patty spent her youth frolicking happily in the cornfields of eastern North Carolina. She currently lives in the East Village and can be found boozing her way through the bars (and streets) of New York.