Muzak and Levey have never been on good terms, especially in malls, because I don't like to hear musical ooze while I shop. If only they'd play real music, I have often said.
But sometimes, the real thing is a far worse problem. Tom Martin, of Rockville, tells us why.
"While visiting the Rockville PetSmart pet store last night at about 8 p.m. along with my wife, we were truly aghast over the music selection" that was pouring from the store's public address system, Tom writes.
The store was filled with a thumping, bumping rendition of "I Want Your Sex" by vocalist George Michael. Here are a few of the lyrics I can publish:
"Sex is something that we should do
Sex is something for me and you
Sex is natural, sex is good
Not everybody does it, but everybody should . . .
Don't you know I love it till it hurts me, baby?
Don't you think it's time you had sex with me?
Sex with me, sex with me, have sex with me
Tom hastens to point out that he and his wife are "certainly not members nor supporters of Ken Starr's puritanical review board." Neither am I. But Tom notes that children shop in pet stores more than in many others.
"It's kind of like seeing a young couple getting all steamed up, smoochin' and feelin' each other on a subway train at rush hour," Tom says. "There is a time and place for everything, and that ain't it!"
Tom tried to express his concern to a PetSmart manager, but he says he couldn't find one who "seemed to have advanced beyond puberty." He was able to determine that the George Michael song was spilling out of a radio, not a tape or CD player. He invited me to see what I could find out about the store's policies.
Eric, a PetSmart manager who did not want his last name used, said the store always tunes to Mix 107.3 (WRQX), a local FM station, "because they don't play anything heavy."
Asked how chanting about your deepest sexual needs isn't heavy, Eric said he will turn off the radio if any customer objects to a song. Let's hope he has done so, permanently. Or as George Michael sings it, in the song in question, "I can't take much more, girl -- I'm losing control."
How do you get tailgaters off your back? I asked that question in a recent column because of a reader who had demonstrated the wrong way to do it.
The reader decided that if he braked rea-a-a-al hard, the tailgater would get the message. Unfortunately, the tailgater's reflexes were not up to major-league standards. He smashed into my reader's car and caused more than $1,000 in damage.
What's better? Here are some brainstorms filed by other readers, some serious, some deliciously comical.
Gay Nanda, of Reston, said she simply flicks on her four-way flashers. "Works every time," she said.
Bill Evans, of Alexandria, said he always drinks coffee while he drives. ("I need it to stay awake," Bill maintains.) If he attracts a tailgater, "I just roll down the window and toss my coffee onto the pavement. The guy behind me has to give me a little room because he can't be sure what's coming next."
Faith Carroll, of Chevy Chase, says she keeps a cat-o'-nine-tails on the passenger seat beside her. "If someone starts getting too close, I roll down the window and start slapping the cat-o'-nine-tails against the driver's side door, as if I were riding a horse in a big race at Pimlico," she said. "No one wants to tailgate a crazy lady."
But the best idea came from Larry Pearl. It was a combination of history and technology. He said he and his college roommate first thought it up in the 1950s.
Larry suggests mounting "a small cannon in the trunk, like one of those you see on Civil War monuments," with a "small pyramid of cannonballs" right beside it.
If a following car draws to within less than a car length, the driver would have a way to pop the trunk automatically. The offender would see the cannon, of course. If he did not back off within, say, 30 seconds, the cannon would fire a Ping-Pong ball.
"Worth a try?" Larry wonders.
Worth mass-producing, Larry. I'll buy the first one off the assembly line. Many thanks.
Harold Simon, of Rockville, says the owner of these vanity plates is now dead. I'll bet he expired from laughter.
His tags read OPEN UP. "He had to change them because people thought he was a pervert," Harold says. He was actually a dentist.
And here's a vanity plate that balances the scales a bit.
Have you seen all the tags that lavish love on some other place? ILOVENY, PA GIRL, FLA FAN, and the like?
Moira Llabres says she recently saw a tag that read: ILEFTNY. The only reason she's upset is that she wanted that tag, having left Buffalo herself, and having made no plans to return.