"You know what you should play next? That 'so sorry' song."
My son and I have spent a lot of time in the car together over the past few years and as long as his phone has sufficient battery, there is music playing. In the early days, my favorites were well represented, but then his musical curiosity took over and now it's a steady stream of new bands and albums.
He pauses, puzzled. "Which song?"
The pause made me nervous. It's not that he's particularly judgmental, but I wasn't eager to play the part of clueless parent. A widely off-the-mark guess at a song's lyrics was not going to help.
I ran the song through my head again and reaffirmed my confidence.
"You know.." Now, I'm humming the guitar riff. "I'm so... so so sorry".
He actually loves these pursuits, so he stops the song we're listening to and starts playing his best guesses.
"What about this?"
"No, it's more upbeat than that." I try to hum the riff again. In my defense, I never get to see the album covers or read the song names. It's just a never-ending playlist. I call it Bendora.
"Wait a second." He's shaking his head, which makes me think this doesn't end well for me.
"Is it this song?"
I recognize it immediately. "Yes, that's it!"
"Yeah, that's Stoned and Starving."
"That's the name of the song?"
"Yeah, but that's also what they're saying: I was so stoned and starving." Now, he's laughing. "Not, so, so so sorry."
It made for a good story when we got home, but the rest of the day passed without mention and I was grateful for its short lifespan. This faux pas wouldn't be a regular source of entertainment. I was safe.
A few years ago, we watched Seinfeld together and my son often mentions that one of his favorite moments is when they find out that George's fiancé has died. Elaine's reaction is so perfectly awkward, unexpected, and hilariously awful. "I'm... so sorry, George."
We rejoin our story the next day. The three of us are in the car together and Ben plugs his iPhone in as usual. We wait for the first song to start, which seems to be taking awhile. Then, the riff for Stoned and Starving starts playing.
My wife bursts out laughing. I start shaking my head. Then, from the back seat, a perfectly timed denouement.
"I'm... so sorry, Dad."