Van Halen Ruins People’s Day

By Travis Weiss
Sociology 1301.1001

When I was a child I loved to make my dad angry because he had a bad temper and it was funny how he would react to things. My brother thought it was funny, too. He would get to see my dad get mad and see me get into trouble. In 1984 I was six years old and loved the song “Panama” by Van Halen. For my next venture into raising my dad’s blood pressure, I decided to scream the lyrics of”Panama” at the top of my lungs when he took the fist sip from his 32 ounce fresh glass of tea. His reaction was priceless. “God dammit, Travis!” he screamed while looking like someone jabbed him in his stomach with a stick. My brother thought it was hilarious and encouraged me to pull this prank a couple more times.

When we were told we had to write a paper about violating a norm without committing a crime or getting canned from our jobs, I really couldn’t think of anything entertaining to do. I’ve always been in some kind of trouble most of my life, so I was thinking about things that I’ve done that I can laugh about and screaming “Panama’s” lyrics at someone was just one thing that crossed my mind.

Sunday morning rolls around and I need to get a CD out of my car. I noticed a girl that I didn’t recognize coming out of the apartment building next to mine. She looked like she had partied pretty hard Saturday night and was doing the walk of shame, as my brother calls it when someone’s leaving a house in the morning worn out looking, probably after a one night stand. As she walked through the parking lot we walked closer together, going in the same direction toward the cars. While we were the only people in the parking lot, there was a closeness in our distance that made the situation a little uncomfortable. Then I thought to myself, “this is perfect.” And I went with it. “Panama, Panama-ah-ah-woa-oh-oh-oh!,” I yelled at her while I stared at her and did a little dance. In return I received a look of disgust and horror from her. As I started signing “She’s getting power wupin!” (I never knew the right lyrics to the song), the girl yelled at me in a threatened voice “You need to get the fuck away from me before I punch you in the face!” Needless to say, I back off a little bit but kept singing “Reach down in between my legs and ease the seat back!” She yelled again, “Get the fuck away from me,” as she got into her car. Once she got into the car, I yelled at her “Hey, wait!,” but it was a little too late. She backed her car out of the parking lot and sped away.

While the whole event was taking place I was pretty pumped up and excited, because I was acting like a crazy person and that’s not something you get to experience every day. Then as she was driving off l started feeling a little guilty. The whole thing probably messed up her day. She already looked like she was hung over and if she was really doing the “walk of shame” she might have been feeling kind of vulnerable.

After I got the CD out of my car and started walking back to my apartment, I noticed my upstairs neighbor staring at me from her balcony. She probably watched the whole thing, which made my feelings of guilt change to embarrassment. Now I’m going to have to live up to my upstairs neighbor’s expectations of being crazy.


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