No single experience in my life comes anywhere near the mental fear and physical trembling associated with The Brainerd Jr. High School Louie-Louie Incident of 1964
As soon as The Kingsmen's version of the song started getting radio airplay, the rumor exploded that the words to the song were dirty-dirty-dirty. Even 43 years later no one seems to know where the rumor originated, though the thing spread like wildfire across the country. Talk about a meme! Some radio stations even banned the song based on this crazy accusation.
OK picture it: sweet, conservative, Peter Pan-collared, Weejun-wearing 7th graders in Chattanooga, Tennessee, copying and distributing the words to the rumored version during Mr. Sylar's music class at a rate of 10-12 copies every 5 minutes (depending on how many of us sweetie-pies were doing the copying). Xerox had nothing on us. (Was there a Xerox in 1964?)
Who started the lyrics around the class to begin with? Who knows? (No, not me - where would I get such a thing??) But everybody wanted their own personal copy, even though we didn't know what many of the words meant. It was a kind of initiation into soon-to-be teenagehood, and we were all on board.
Until Susan Hicks' mother discovered a copy of the lyrics. I'm boldly using Susan Hicks' real name because she was a rat fink - we all thought she showed the words to her mother to get the rest of the 7th grade class into trouble - and deserves a little real-life blog-scorn. (I'll repent later, I'm sure.)
Well, just guess what came next?
Hoards of us were marched into Mr. Bible's office (yes, the principal with the overly-moralistic moniker) in our Villager dresses and with our John Romaine pocketbooks to face the complete shock and disdain of the school's main authority figure. And the scorn of the school secretary, to boot, who just sat there "tsk-tsking" and shaking her head. What a lost generation we were! (I bet she didn't know what the words meant, either.)
Of course, we got our little talking-to, then Mr. Bible said in his slow Southern drawl, "Well, I haven't decided whether to call your parents about this or not." Damn! How low! Either you're gonna do it or not, Sir, but don't make us live in limbo indefinitely about this! But he did.
Our thinking was that the only way we'd truly know if our parents had been called was if we reaped their wrath. And waiting for that expected wrath was unbearable. Couldn't eat. Couldn't sleep. Lots of praying. Volunteering for extra chores. Diligent homework-doing. Complete terror.
I was in one big knot for about 2 weeks. And when I hadn't seen a sad, disappointed look come across Mother's face by then, I figured I was in the clear. Never heard a word from my parents on the subject. I can't help but think if Mr. Bible had called them, I would have for darn sure heard about it - can't imagine Mother would've let something like that slide. Still . . .
But whenever I hear Louie-Louie today, it makes me feel just fine. Because nothing will ever come close to the experience of dodging that bullet, I tell ya'. Wheeeeeeewwwww!