Jayyyyy O N Aaaaaaayyyy…

By Jon Hillenbrand In Photography, Stories

So, growing up with a parent who could play a musical instrument or two, I was lucky enough to have my own song. It’s pretty easy and most people could learn it in about 1 minute. Here goes:

Jaaaaaaaaaaaay
O…N…Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaay
T…H…Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaay
Than an Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

That Spells JONATHANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
That Spells JONATHANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
And I love himmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
He’s my boyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Da da da

Jaaaaaaaaaaay
Etc.

The great part of the song is that it doesn’t really have an end. You could just sing it forever, which is the hallmark of any great song. And it’s catchy. There’s a fast piano beat to it and if you want, you could speed up the song every time you repeat it until you can’t sing any faster.

Another song I remember singing from my youth is Edelweiss which I am sure many of you remember from The Sound of Music. When I was VERY young, I used to be forced into singing it to my grandparents as my dad played the piano. Thinking back, I am sure this was severely cute for the adults. But I did this in front of everyone and I hated it. They almost had to threaten me to do it. And I am sure I would sing it in a kind of sad way, looking down, which probably just added to the cute factor.

We would always be there on a frighteningly cold holiday when my grandparents had cranked up the heat in their home to the boiling point of most metals. And my grandparents had what I considered to be fake Christmas tree lights that “didn’t count” because they weren’t white and they were the wrong size. They were blue and huge, about the size of a grown man’s thumb, and if you touched them, you were going to burn your fingers. But you couldn’t help but touch them because they were just so blue.

I remember wondering aloud to my mother when the tree was going to burst into flames because I know that with the temperature of the house being in the 90 – 100 degree range, that tree couldn’t possibly have any water in it’s little red and green dish. Dry tree plus huge fake molten death pain lights meant severe fire hazard. And why was I, at like 6 years old, the only one aware of this situation?

Speaking of singing, I also was the lead in a President’s Day musical in which I played Abe Lincoln (probably because I was the tallest). I had a very itchy beard which I left as a bookmark in my math book before the main show. My mom had used spirit gum to put it onto my face for the dress rehearsal (the beard, not the math book). Spirit gum, for those who don’t know, isn’t like gum at all. It’s like yellow super glue that you brush on your face to stick fake hair to it. Real professional actors use it, and because my mom has an eye for detail, I had to use it. Horrible horrible stuff when you are at that age when you don’t want anything touching your face. So I peeled that crap off after the dress rehearsal, left the beard in my math book, and absolutely panicked when I couldn’t find it before the show. I did great, remembered all of my lines, and felt horrible afterwards because I did the whole play without my beard. My mom felt bad for me so she actually found a photo of Abe Lincoln without his beard from when he was younger. I felt better.

This was also an especially good part for me to play because my family is directly or indirectly related to Abe Lincoln. He’s something like my 23rd cousin, twice removed. No idea. But all I know was that my sworn enemy, Tommy King, the kid who used to beat me up and get other kids to beat me up, played George Washington opposite me in the play. I could barely stand it. We got our photos in the local paper and I couldn’t even look at it because Tommy was in the same shot as me. My mom wanted to put it up on the fridge but I wouldn’t let her.

Anyway, so when people ask me if I have any acting experience, I usually mention this 7th grade play.

What do you think?