I’m going to let you in on one of our private jokes. Every couple should have some kind of tradition or ritual or inside joke that doesn’t make sense to anyone else. It’s fun! It’s also a way to use teamwork to fight a persistent problem.
M.O.D. stands for Music of the Day.
It came about because I absolutely cannot stand Christmas music. When we were kids, Christmas decorations went up the week before Christmas and came down before the New Year. Now it all starts on Halloween. For those of us who grew up in the Seventies and Eighties, this makes no sense at all. Why spend two months on one holiday???
(And why isn’t that holiday Independence Day? Oh, right, because there’s no commercial tradition of gift giving or a $2 billion decoration industry involved. It’s called “the Fourth of July,” not “Patriotic Entire Summer”).
Commercial Christmas isn’t a winter holiday, either; it starts in mid-fall and actually ends shortly after winter begins. What the heck is going on?
I blame Mariah Carey.
I’m convinced that Mariah Carey is an extremely powerful sorceress who uses her octave-spanning voice to hypnotize people, and possibly also create weather conditions. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Notice that she hasn’t aged in thirty years. Change my mind.
Anyway, all you need to know is that Christmas music makes me break out in hives, so I started trying to avoid ever leaving the house between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, and this created an unfair hardship for my spouse, who likes socializing with me. How were we going to hang out at the cafe or go to the movies for two of twelve months every year, if I was going to run for the exits every time I heard sleigh bells?
This is how it works. We take turns choosing the artist, and then we text each other. We both listen to that band for the rest of the day. I keep my headphones on in the cafe, at the mall, in the back of rideshare vehicles, and I make sure not to schedule dentist appointments in December. My honey only listens at work or the gym.
M.O.D. works for us because we often go through stretches when we aren’t in the same city. On a few occasions we haven’t seen each other in two or three weeks, and a couple of those we only got 40 minutes together on an airport bench before we were separated again. M.O.D. connects us when we are in separate time zones, missing each other.
It all started one year, when I made a calendar with a schedule of secular, non-decorated things to do each day to celebrate or prepare for the New Year. One of those days was “AC/DC Appreciation Day.” I thought we could both hang out and listen to AC/DC.
I told my husband I was having AC/DC Appreciation Day and he was totally down. In fact he started listing off other bands that might fit on that playlist. I don’t remember which of us actually came up with the idea for “Music of the Day,” although I’m pretty sure he was the one to make it an acronym. It was something we could do with very little effort, no extra cost, and no commitment. It sounded awesome and we went for it, starting as soon as we got home.
Talking about something that sounds like a good idea is one thing. It’s entirely something else when you actually launch and realize that, wait, this is even better than we expected!
Sharing musical tastes is not a requirement for long-term love and contentment. Contrary to the belief of music snob pretentious boys everywhere, you can respect one another even if you loathe each other’s beats, because of this mystical 20th-century invention called “headphones.” If you’ve never heard of headphones, they are a technical innovation that goes on your head and both provides your own tuneage while protecting you from the inferior auditory crimes of others in your vicinity.
We are fortunate, though, my honey and I, because we enjoy a lot of the same stuff! Namely classic rock, glam rock, heavy metal, and Delta blues. We both also did our time in marching band, so we have an affinity for Sousa marches. Go ahead and laugh, we’re having more fun than you. Plus you can’t fight a man holding a tuba.
We have a seven-year age difference, so we each tend to be a bit better versed in a slightly different era. He went to high school during the golden age of hair metal, before I had ever bought a cassette tape of my own, and by the time grunge came around, he was a married dad with a career. This is a major advantage of M.O.D.: we use it to introduce each other to bands that the other might have missed.
Our technique on M.O.D. is slightly different. He likes the low-maintenance playlist method, where you just choose the artist and stream whatever comes up. If they don’t have that many albums, you can round out the day with similar musicians. If you only have a couple of hours of headphone time, you then spend it listening to the best of the best.
I like the more history-oriented discography method of starting with the earliest album, playing it in order, and then proceeding to the next disc in the chronology. This usually means they sound better as the day goes on. It also means I focus more of my listening time on tracks I may never have heard! One of the greatest thrills for me is hearing something by a beloved singer for the first time, especially after I was so sure I knew every note and every lyric of every track.
Playing M.O.D. for the month of December means we each get to choose roughly fifteen bands, many of which the other might have picked first because we both like them. It sounds like a lot until you actually start trying to choose your top fifteen music groups! There’s no reason to quit after one month, though. If M.O.D. works for you, add different bands to your list next year, or just keeping going for another month.
Here are some of the bands we’ve played, and if you don’t like them, I don’t want to hear it, just get your own.
Guns ‘n’ Roses
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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