There is music that immediately makes me feel like a kid (TMNT theme), songs I inexplicably know all the words to (Reading Rainbow), and soundtracks that pinpoint the moment I was no longer a child (Dirty Dancing). For me, those lists could be endless, but there are a few tunes that are so deeply engrained in my subconscious that they play in my head as if part of my life’s soundtrack. I would chose very different music to accent my days, I want to stress that, but these are the tunes I involuntarily hear:
1. The Jurassic Park Theme
When the movie came out in 1993, I saw it in the theater four times. It blew my 13-year-old mind and made me feel like anything was possible. (I’d like to say this is the movie that inspired me to be a scientist, but really it was the 1995 hit featuring infectious diseases and Rene Russo, Outbreak. I’m not kidding.) Many years later when I moved out to Sapelo Island, full of wild animals and draped in Spanish moss, I felt like I was on a different planet. As I drove my golf cart from the ferry dock to my trailer, I used to hum Jurassic Park‘s theme song. Again, I’m not kidding. MY DOG’S NAME IS T REX. This movie changed my life.
2. The Imperial March
Whenever anyone of authority walks down a hallway, this song plays in my head. I hear it when I’m in a hurry at the grocery store, plowing
through aisles and trying not to give the Vader Force Choke to people in my way. The Imperial March was the only ringtone I ever purchased, mostly because I thought it was funny to say, “Excuse me, that’s my mom calling.” Turns out, not everyone finds that funny. I honestly meant no harm by it and I find her lack of faith disturbing.
3. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker
As a child, I was in the local ballet company’s production of The Nutcracker. All the other little girls dreamed of dancing the part of Clara, but I wanted to be the Sugar Plum Fairy (actually, I wanted to be the lead Russian dancer, but women don’t get the spirited roles). It has been years since I danced formally, but when I find myself outside on a snowy winter’s night, I hear this song begin softly in my head and it builds until I’m pirouetting all the way home.
4. The Twin Peaks Theme
It is still not clear to me why an impressionable 10-year-old girl was allowed to watch this TV show, but it was (and still is) one of the most formative things I have ever seen. While I was not able to look in a mirror for the next five years, the music continued to be meaningful to me and I bought the cassette tape for $0.01 from BMG. I often hear the opening theme song to this day when I see tall pines blowing in the wind, pie in a diner, or lingering fog.
5. Beetlejuice’s Jump in Line
If I achieve something, be it an A on a math test or otherwise, I feel I should be rewarded with being forced to lip-sync to this song by a plaid-shirted, skinny Alec Baldwin. I often celebrate a job well done by singing and recreating Winona’s dance.