When we were planning our wedding reception, Mrs. Cutter and I wanted to identify the dinner tables with something besides traditional numbers. I suggested using baseball or football teams, but Mrs. Cutter wanted to use bodies of water. Because for some reason the bride gets final say in these matters, our tables had water-based names.
Although not explicitly stated, guests might have suspected where they ranked in our hierarchy of friends and family by which table they were assigned to. Close family and friends were assigned the oceans, while distant cousins who we barely knew were banished to the Dead Sea table.
The truly fortunate guests got to sit a table named after an Ocean that you won’t find on any map. They got to sit at the Billy Ocean table! At Squinty’s suggestion – and this likely remains the most clever thing he’s ever said – we named one of our tables after everyone’s favorite 1980’s R&B singer.
I’ll admit that at the time, I couldn’t actually name any of Ocean’s songs. I knew the songs “Caribbean Queen” and “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car,” but until I did a little bit of research, I had no clue who sung them.
One Ocean song that I definitely remembered was “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going.” Released in 1985 as part of the soundtrack to the movie “The Jewel of the Nile,” the song reached #2 on the U.S. pop charts, and it was really popular among the grade school set.
Each summer, my day camp would hold an annual color war competition where the campers were divided into two teams. Every so often, the counselors would hold pep rallies where they tried to fire up their teams. It must have been either 1985 or 1986 when their preferred method of getting us motivated was to shout, “When the going gets tough!” and have the campers respond, “The tough get going!”
Perhaps that’s the reason my recreational sports teams were never more successful. I tried to motivate them every way I could, but I never played the Billy Ocean card. Had I just made my kickball teams watch this video before each game, we might have never lost a game:
Would that have worked better than playing Ice Cube, Joe Esposito, or Crowded House (Yeah, that’s kind of an unusual choice itself) on the stereo before our games? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
This post has been part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. In case you couldn’t tell, today’s letter was O and the topic was “Billy Ocean.”