It’s easy to think of Cyndi Lauper only in context. The wild hair, crazy wardrobe, unique vocal inflections, and strange association with professional wrestling all combined with the explosion in popularity of music videos to set her up as a true creation of MTV, although it could as easily be said Cyndi made MTV as much as MTV made Cyndi.
This is all true, but it doesn’t change that she was supremely talented, a songwriter and vocalist truly unlike anyone else of her time, or anyone since. She may have lost her knack for writing sticky songs, as her later material was competent but unmemorable, not to mention sometimes cheesy.
But she can still sing.
- When did you most recently have a change of heart?
I don’t want to get into too much detail, but I had one of those periodic, professional identity crises. My employer created a new position in our department, and I never thought for a second about applying for it until a handful of coworkers suggested I really should. There are undoubtedly aspects of the work I’d have to learn as I went, but there are parts of it I could do well, and a couple of the coworkers said I would do them well enough to make their jobs easier, which is one of the nicest things your colleagues can say, especially when they’re in other departments. It didn’t help that I was really struggling with this one story I was working on, and the best time to get a writer thinking about changing paths is when he’s struggling with a writing assignment. I went pretty dark for a few days. Then at the end of one work day I just remembered I like what I do, and while I won’t rule out trying for positions like this some other time, for now I’m doing what’s right for me. And while I’ve not had my best year doing it because, you know, this pandemic, I think I’m pretty good at it and I’m still finding ways I can be better.
- In the coming months, what’s most likely to keep you up all through the night?
I’m having so much trouble with sleep lately it can be literally anything that keeps me up through the night. One night last week I stayed up all night watching season one of Mythic Quest, which I’ve already watched three times through. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?
- When you gonna live your life right?
Sunday night I bought a bathroom scale for the first time in my life. Tuesday morning I stepped on it. Let’s get this thing started, shall we?
- Do you wanna go out with a lion’s roar?
You know I always heard this lyric as a question about going out with friends or something. But isolated like this it seems it’s about going out like dying. If it’s the latter, my answer is no. I want to go out meekly and quietly, trying my darndest to hang onto life. If it’s the former, then still no, but maybe with a lion’s confidence. I went to freaking Zippy’s the other night, dined in the restaurant by myself while reading a book, and enjoyed the heck out of simply dining out at a long-time hangout. Thursday I went to my ophthalmologist after skipping my appointment with her last year. I’m not roaring, but I’m getting close to strutting. Lions strut, right?
- When did you recently decide something wasn’t perfect but was good enough?
Well. I wrote these five questions and didn’t love them, but I thought they’d be good enough at least for me, which of course dictated that I then answer them, which I don’t always do.
They say I better get a chaperone
Because I can’t stop messin’ with the danger zone
I won’t worry and I won’t fret
Ain’t no law against it yet!
Okay yeah, it’s a crude subject, but it’s a woman singing about it, which makes it kind of awesome, and these lyrics are just great. Although I think Cyndi was wrong — there were a lot of places where it was illegal. I think there are fewer now.