The more you think about it the more you realize people just can’t be trusted to be competent in anything that they do. In many cases when compentency becomes an issue of life or death the government will issue licenses certifying that person in the skill in question. Driving, operating heavy machinery, being a barrista at Starbucks, etc.
Why stop there, I ask. There are thousands of skills that require licensing immediately simply just for living in New York. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this issue and the simple fact of the matter is that you need to know if you’re skilled enough to perform certain tasks without fear of legal reprisal, beatings or cock-smacks (assuming you have one, vag-slaps aren’t nearly as painful).
So today I’m introducing part one in a multi-part series of undetermined length or quality that I call:
Dave’s Urban License Program
License #1: Jukebox Operator Certification
Picture this: You’re sitting in your average run of the mill New York beer bar, swilling down some God awful pint of Hoegarden or whatever you fairies drink. You’re enjoying the company of your friends, eating, talking, laughing, all is right with the world.
Then, out of nowhere, the jukebox springs to life, its lights pulsating to the beat of some unknown track buried at the end of Guns and Roses’ seminally horrible album, “The Spaghetti Incident.” Your palms start sweating, you don’t know the words, you don’t know when to bounce your head, how to fake the guitar riffs. There will be no chorus of, “ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Snap!” from your table. This song is unsnappable.
All too often a jukebox acts like a beacon to the musically retarded. This large foreheaded neanderthal strolls into packed bars with a musical agenda. He’s got a list of songs that he’s going to search that jukebox for and make everyone listen to for one of two reasons: Either 1) The song means something only to him and/or his friends and they want to relive some aborted spring break vacation they spent in their parents’ garage smoking reefer and talking about breast size or 2) He thinks this awful song is good and he wants other people to hear it on the off chance that they’ll like it too and then come up to him and offer him oral sex. I read it in a newspaper.
There’s no reason for this to happen. If the city were to introduce my Urban Licensing system then all jukeboxes installed in the city would be outfitted with card scanners and a series of qualifications for operation based on song catalog, venue type and neighborhood.
For the most part bars with a jukebox fall into the “Beer Bar” category. The semi-sports bar, the slightly noisy, may have food, just a place to hang out with little to no pretension in the air sort of place. These are my favorite places. The jukebox is usually stocked with all manners of Classic Rock.
There are more localized and discerning jukeboxes of course. There’s the hipster bar, country bar, punk bar and jazz bar to name a few. Operating a juke box in these locations would require passing the general JOC exam along with a specialized genre specific written exam so you don’t end up putting on the 15 minute interview introduction to a Miles Davis compilation and getting soaked in a hail of fancy brown liquour by an angry mob of funny hat wearing post-depression Americana enthusiasts.
However, like I said, most bars fall under the general JOC’s jurisdiction, which is headbanging, lyrics screeching, guitar wailing, Classic Rock. Rock and Roll is the veritable glue that holds this macaroni picture frame we call a country together. There is no greater thread that runs through our nation’s history than Rock, it is the universal language of keg parties, beer busts and four day binges ending in multiple pregnancies. Shit, when George Carlin came back in time in the movie, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” he wasn’t coming back to help a pair of clarinet players, he was coming back to ensure that Wyld Stallyns brought the future together under the banner of Rock music. So suck on that DJ’s, you are basically a shit stain on the underwear of musical relevance.
Anyway, I’m currently in the process of producing the written exam portion of the licensing procedure. Eventually there will be a real world practical exam wherein the applicant will have to program a ten song set into a randomly chosen bar jukebox. The finale song choice (always important) is basically the paralell parking equivalent.
Some sample questions:
1) You’re in a bar on a Saturday night and the mood is low. To begin your musical selection you can choose from the four following songs:
a) Madonna – Like a Virgin
b) Ricky Martin – Livin’ La Vida Loca
c) Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight
d) Anything by AC/DC
Answer: D, you idiot. Madonna is generally reserved for the subset Gay jukebox or in the subarticle 9 clause, entitled, “Playing a Female Request in Hopes of Getting Laid.” Ricky Martin songs are obviously punishable by death and/or theft of beer, the same usually goes for Phil Collins, however in this case we see the case of the classic, “playing a song just for the instrumental solo” situation. Not acceptable. “In the Air Tonight” is only allowed for sitting quietly alone on a waterfront, staring off into the distance, contemplating murder/suicide and then walking off, right as the drum solo happens, to an uncertain future.
2) You’ve arrived at a bar only to find that it houses a new, electronic jukebox, what do you do?
a) Instantly search the web for that new Fergie song.
b) Play your song and pay the extra $2.00 to have it bumped in front of whatever song is playing next.
c) Use their comprehensive catalog to find the song you lost your virginity to and cry at the bar.
d) Throw your fist into its cold, mechanical heart and tear out what you can, then, if possible, defecate inside of the gaping hole.
This is a tough question to answer. If you answered A, you should probably sterilize yourself by whatever means possible. If you chose B then you’re one of the reasons that these machines are a greater threat to national security than Diebold voting machines. A competent Jukebox operator knows how to put a set of music together, if you go and start either shuffling or changing the order, not only do you risk bodily harm to yourself, but also you risk harming the masterfully crafted ambience that only a 40 minute block of soul-pelting Rock can do.
Answering C is really its own punishment. Good luck with that.
Again the only suitable answer here is D for one simple reason: Led Zeppelin. Currently, the Led Zeppelin catalog is not permitted to be used in Internet jukeboxes. I’ve heard rumors that the Boss also does not allow for his music to touch these little abominations. It is theoretically impossible to drink beer for an entire night and not hear Led Zeppelin and call it a good night. Therefore you must destroy all touch screen/web enabled jukeboxes on sight.
So that about does it for the JOC licensing preview, I’m currently in talks with the Mayor’s office regarding its immediate implementation. In the mean time however, may I suggest that you all supress your wanton urges to recklessly play at Maestro when you see a jukebox from across a crowded bar? You’re gambling with the ears of dozens and scores of dollars in incredibly sub-par beer.