Variations on your theme (song)


At the beginning of a work week, I usually need more than coffee to get me moving. In fact, any time I’m required to do something constructive before 10 a.m., caffeine alone doesn’t suffice. But I have a secret weapon and her name is Aretha. Ms. Aretha Franklin, to be exact.

I got to have a little “Respect.” (Just a little bit.) And all I have to do is hear the first few bars to remember I have it, at least from myself. I consider “Respect” my theme song. Silly? Maybe. But it works.

The idea of a personal theme song certainly isn’t new, but I hadn’t thought of it until the Ally McBeal episode in which Ally’s therapist, Dr. Tracy Clark (played by Tracey Ullman), advises her to get her own theme song. That piece of advice actually worked for me — it’s one of my favorite memories of Ally. Besides this, of course:

If you watched the show, you may recall that Ally’s theme song was “Tell Him” by The Exciters. (Does anyone know the story behind this music video? It’s weird.) That song pretty much summed up what Ally wanted out of life: a man to love.

A personal theme song catches your ear every time you hear it. It’s probably the most played song on your iPod. It may give a little lift to your walk — or make you stop and think. And no matter who else claims it, you know the tune is uniquely yours.

Some people choose theme songs that feature their names. My friend Jude claims “Hey Jude”; my former coworker Barbara (whose middle name you can probably guess) chose “Barbara Ann”; and Lisa told me her theme song was “Lisa,” which she then proceeded to sing as she danced away. I have no idea if she was singing the N-Toon song or the Prince tune, or perhaps another “Lisa” that I don’t know, but obviously it makes her happy.

Another friend, Chris, chose her theme song nine years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She says “I Will Survive” works whether she’s surviving a new school year, a breakup or a week with her family. You go, Chris.

Kathy, who has a beautiful new baby with partner Dawn, quite aptly cites “What a Wonderful World” as her theme. (I bet the line about hearing babies cry has a whole new meaning at 3 a.m.) blogger StuntDouble has a personal theme song I’d never heard: “Simple Life” by The Weepies. What an awesome song! If I were in love, I might have to consider rotating ring tones. blogger carolinagrrrl has several, but claims Alica Keys’ “Superwoman” as her current personal song — unless she’s ticked off, in which case it’s Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch.” Let’s keep carolinagrrrl happy, mmkay? Take it, Ms. Keys.

How about you? What tune do you never tire of, and always relate to? What melody makes you feel better about the world and yourself? What’s your personal theme song?

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