World Gym

“Here’s My Number, Call Me Maybe Rage!"

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By Joshua Dent

#2 Pencils

Did you ever hear a song so many times that you felt like you were one note away from deliberately gouging out your own eyes with a bright and shiny #2 pencil?

Carly Rae’s “Here’s My Number, Call Me Maybe” had me reaching for my trusty #2 on many occasions this past winter in Jongli, Taiwan.

“The Jongli”

Never heard of Jongli, Taiwan? What’s wrong with you? I am just kidding.

There is no reason you should know “The Jongli.”

It is just a small suburb of Taiwan’s capital city Taipei. To me, it’s urban and flat, with a river that smells like the dumpster behind Mcdonald’s.

Family Fun- 99 Red Balloons Style

I really am not kidding about how bad I hate that song. I was very close to going absolutely Ape-Shit if I heard that song one more time.

NOTHING in this ENTIRE world pissed me off more this last winter than day, after day, after day, after day of hearing the WORST song in American history.

I would have to go back to the early 80’s when my brother and sister, Ryan and Kori, used to lock me in the family station wagon and blast Nena’s 99 red balloons to find a song I hated like that.  Do you forget what I am talking about? Don’t worry, I got you covered with a link.

As you probably noticed, I can’t even bare to type the full name of Carly Rae’s song because it will pop in my head. We will call it “The song” going forward.

This, REALLY is Crazy

If the stores, bars, and gym weren’t enough, it even made its way into the Taiwan elementary schools.

One Saturday morning, at roughly 11:30 a.m. on another cold and wet winter day, I was cruising on foot going north on my normal street, Yanping Road. I still try to do as much as possible on this street so I don’t get lost.

That was when I walked past “The Chungli English Village.” This is a huge elementary school that ships kids in from all over our county to study English.

It is comparable to Disney World inside from what I have been told. Each classroom has a different Walt-Disney based theme.

This Saturday morning walk was a little bit different. I noticed about 250 kids or so outside the school playground. Saturday morning school is surprisingly not too bizarre for “The Taiwan.”

The trouble came when I could hear the music playing in the background. I knew right away it was “The song.”

I angrily approached the outside of the school. I just stared in complete disgust for what seemed like the longest 30 seconds of my life. My nasty and evil suspicions were confirmed that these poor children were being forced to sing and dance to “Here’s My Number.”

I felt like I was locked up behind bars for 15 years for a crime I didn’t do as I watched these kids forced to sing and dance to this shit. I was absolutely helpless. I had no power or ability to make it stop.

Madgun 520 Birth

Let me start out by saying one thing. I am an absolutely horrific musician. I played the banjo, kazoos, and a few other random instruments on occasion for many years. I never really progressed past “Skip To the Lou My Darling” level songs.

After I watched the horrible incident of those kids singing and dancing, I felt like I had to fight back against the noise pollution of pop music. I decided it was time for me to get back into the music scene. Kazoos and Banjos are few and far between in “The Taiwan.” I chose against my neighbor’s wishes to start shopping for an instrument

I am certain my neighbor appreciated this. I went with one of the softest and most docile choices you could make as a beginning musician. I decided it was time to buy an acoustic guitar.

Shopping for a guitar in a country where you don’t know the language isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. I just so happened to get lucky that the store owner I bought it from had a friend across the street to help us translate some of my questions.

I found the beauty of a guitar I now call “Madgun 520” after only visiting a few stores.

I was fully equipped with a capo, gig bag, and tuner. It was time to go home and start practicing like a mad man.

Next time, we will go on an adventure to the Shane (Taiwanese pronunciation- Shan) school to see what happened after I got a wild hair up my ass to show off my two chords to a room full of 8 year olds.