Sunday 17 January 2016

Odds Are: Sunday bookmark challenge #2

Finding and writing about an old bookmark on Sunday evening! Mel over at Stirrup Queens started it and you can read more here.

"Odds Are"

When I was pregnant I didn't care about music much. I'm not sure why. I would read about people playing lullabies or classical music to their fetus and I thought that sounded sort of cool but I never did it.  Besides that I had little desire to listen to music to soothe or energize myself. I had no strong attraction to any piece of music or song. I think pregnancy was so completely different from anything else that had happened in my life that the usual soundtrack didn't fit.

But toward the end, as I was looking forward to labour and birth, one song did stick in my head. I must have heard it on the radio and thought: Yeah, that's about how I feel. I found it in my bookmarks the other week. "Odds Are" by the Barenaked Ladies.

The lyrics list a variety of disasters, followed by a slightly nervous reassurance of how unlikely each one is:

"Struck by lightning, sounds pretty frightening
But you know the chances are so small
Hit by the A-train, crashed in an airplane
Better chance you're gonna bite it at the mall...."

Despite that it's an upbeat song, as the bridge reassures us:

"But somewhere in the world someone is gonna fall in love
By the end of this song
So get up, get up
No it's never gonna let up so you might as well sing along."

It is a fun song to sing along too. And after an uneventful second and third trimester, two labour and birth courses and personalized support from our doula, I felt quite reassured singing along to the chorus:

"The odds are that we will probably be alright
Odds are we're going to be alright, odds are we're going to be alright
The odds are that we will probably be alright
Odds are we're going to be alright, odds are we're going to be alright for another night...."

I kept on with this refrain for a few days or weeks after AJ was born: my most vivid memory is driving her through the snow to her appointment with the community health nurse and it was playing in my mind. And then gradually as things did prove to be alright it faded slowly away.

"Odds Are" also makes me think about how much we rely on "odds" or statistics to try to predict what will happen to us and feel in control of our lives, but how ultimately none of  those odds actually predict what will happen in any individual case. I refer to AJ's conception as our "lightning strike," because every source and doctor agreed that it was an extremely unlikely event for a couple with two severe infertility diagnoses. Then there was my dad's cancer, which happened to him despite the fact he had none of the risk factors (smoking, heavy drinking, bad diet, etc.). Numbers tell us something, but when you are dealing with complex systems, there are few situations where you know anything for sure.

The song also reminds me that sometimes I feel too old, or too something, for the themes of a lot of pop songs. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy listening to them, but I find myself thinking things like: "I would have really identified with this song at age 21" or "Adele has a great voice but I'm looking forward to the songs she writes ten years from now." (I'm more into folk, alternative, traditional and classical music anyway: top 40, with some exceptions, is an afterthought.)

Hope your week brings you some good songs to sing along to.


  1. I have some strong associations with songs too. Not necessarily because the lyrics have any meaning, but somehow certain songs seem to get in my head and stick there. The Script's Paint the Town Green and Six60's White Lines will always remind me of the NICU (they were on ALL THE TIME in the pump room along with a few annoying songs I won't mention for fear of getting in my head). They don't have any special meaning as far as the lyrics go, but they used to get stuck in my head often.

    It doesn't help either that when the Moose "discovers" something he plays it ALL THE DAMN TIME on repeat. Right now it is Dueling Banjos from Deliverance. Thankfully it doesn't get stuck in my head. On the downside, I've been listening to the radio lately, and the ONE station we get in clear is pop, so I have had a Justin Beiber song in my head lately . (I like most music from the 90s but especially alternative and hip hop/dance/r&b type stuff, arena rock and hair bands from the 80s, rock from the 60s and 70s, and a few groups/artists from various other genres that I don't often listen to, like pop or country).

    1. I can totally understand about getting the songs from the NICU stuck in your head, even if you didn't particularly like them. Isn't it interesting that those songs will have a completely different meaning to you than to other people who heard them.

      Haha, I am kind of like the Moose in that I like to hear something over and over again when I'm really into it. But now that I'm older, I don't think I'm quite so obsessive. Unless it's a really good tune to dance AJ around the room.

      Before Christmas I had Justin Bieber/One Direction/Katy Perry in my head because that is what the students wanted to hear. Every day. I would wake up with them going through my head at night.

      I like 70s and 80s too, and enough stuff from the other decades. It's also interesting to me because I think it says something about the time period, and it's easier to feel/hear that significance in hindsight.

  2. I'm so glad you highlighted this because Bare Naked Ladies is one of those bands I hadn't heard in a long time and I would have otherwise missed this song.

    1. glad I gave you the chance to rediscover them! They are certainly one of the bands I associate with growing up (one of their songs was on my Grade 12 grad video).

  3. That is a really great refrain to have stuck in your head while pregnant!!

    1. Yes, it certainly was an imprpvent from how I felt in the beginning.

  4. Love this! Seems so fitting. Also brings back some memories from the years when they were popular.

    1. Yup, teenage/twenties nostalgia. Although I wasn't a huge fan.