Fats Domino wailed that he hated blue Monday. The Mamas and Papas didn't trust that day, and Karen Carpenter testified that rainy days and Mondays always got her down. They all got it wrong. It's not Monday when you are depressed, anxious and out of sorts; it is Sunday night.
When I was young, "The Wonderful World of Disney" would come on Sunday evening and I would get that dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach. The sight of Tinkerbell waving her wand over the Magic Kingdom marked the end of the weekend and reminded me that I hadn't finished my science project, hadn't done my math homework and in just a few hours I would once again be sitting next to the smelly, ugly kid in my class and wishing I were dead. (He probably felt the same way about me.)
Now that I am an adult, the tick, tick, tick of the "60 Minutes" stopwatch has replaced the Disney theme and Morley Safer is now my Tinkerbell. The sight of his urbane, smug face reminds me that the weekend is over and in a few hours I'll be back at my desk: The Wonderful World of Dismal.
A few weeks ago, I was settling into my Sunday night funk when my wife asked me to go to the store; we were out of lunch stuff. With a deep sigh of self-pity, I reluctantly braved the mean streets of the Village of Hamburg and headed out to the mega supermarket on South Park Avenue -- the friendly place where I usually talk to myself.
I waited my turn at the deli counter to buy a pound of turkey and a half pound of that cheap bologna that doesn't taste like real food.
A rock station was playing over the store's PA system and the kid behind the counter was joyfully singing along to Elton John. Ahead of me was a young couple with that happy, relaxed look of non-parents. Counter boy had an earring dangling from each ear and he was dressed smartly in his red and black uniform. Another employee was busily scraping gum off the tile floor. He too, had the requisite uniform, though he was neither smiling nor singing. He was concentrating hard on a particularly stubborn bit of blackened juicy fruit.
Elton faded out and a song called "Always Something There to Remind Me" came on. The deli kid knew all the words. He sang the verses. When he came to the chorus, the young couple started to sing along (I swear). Suddenly the guy scraping the floor joined in and the four of them were belting out:
When there is always
something there to remind me
Always something there
to remind me
I was born to love her;
and I will never be free
You'll always be part of me.
'Cause there is always . . .
When the song was over, the couple left, the kid went on scraping and the guy behind the deli looked at me like he'd seen me for the first time. He asked: "Can I help you?"
I ordered the cheap bologna, feeling a little older, but a little happier. What I had just witnessed was spontaneous, genuine and fun -- the kind of stuff kids do before they become mature and responsible conformists. I felt great as I left the store, completely forgetting my Sunday night blues and thinking: "Stuff it, Morley Safer."
Robert E. O'Connor, of Hamburg, is trying to shake the Sunday night blues.