Saturday 9: It’s Impossible (1970)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.
1) In this song, Mr. Como maintains it’s impossible to ask a baby not to cry. When did you most recently hold a baby? Did you ask him or her not to cry? I held my friend Stephanie’s baby on Memorial Day, but I did not ask him not to cry–he was pretty chill the whole time they were over, and really, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him particularly fussy, so it wasn’t a concern. And he’s since celebrated his first birthday the other day!
2) Perry Como was known for his casual, easy going style. Therefore people were surprised to learn that he could lose his temper. His long-time musical director reported that bad drivers really got under Perry’s skin. What is one of your pet peeves? Bad drivers is a good one. One that’s been really getting me lately is whoever in my building keeps leaving one of the main doors propped open overnight.
3) Though Perry Como was born in Pennsylvania, he didn’t speak English until he began grade school. His parents were Italian immigrants and the family only spoke Italian at home. Do you know any words/phrases in Italian? Fun fact, he was born in Canonsburg, where I work! I pass a road name after him on my commute. Anyway, I know a little Italian. Not much.
4) He met Roselle, the girl he would marry, when they were both still in high school. Tell us about a high school classmate you were crazy about back in the day. I joke that I got my bad-boy phase out of the way really early and before it could cause me any problems–I never dated any, but almost every guy I liked in high school was kind of a jerk. But my brother and I were friends with this guy named Ian. I’m known for my frequent concert-going, and in our youth, my brother and I did a lot of that with Ian. Our parents would switch off driving us, really. And I had a huge crush on him at one point, and looking back, honestly, I think we had on-again, off-again things for each other, but never at the same time. He has a kid now, and I’m married.
5) When he was just 14, his father’s ill health made it essential that Perry begin working after school to help support his family. He apprenticed to a barber but was so short, he had to stand on a box when he cut hair. Again, going back to school, were you taller than your classmates? Shorter? Or were you the average height for a kid your age? I was on the short end, but most of my fellow lady friends were about the same height.
6) While taping his annual holiday special in 1971, he fell from a platform and broke his knee. He had to wear a cast and endure 8 months of rehab. Have you ever broken a bone? No, never! It’s one of the things people are usually surprised to learn, but anyone who’s known me for a long time wouldn’t be surprised. I wasn’t a very active child and I hated sports in my teens. I’m more active now, but not likely-to-break-a-bone active.
7) During the decades when he was a recording and television star, Perry Como was also an avid golfer. He was so popular that many of the best pro golfers of the day — Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, etc. — were happy to play with him. It’s estimated that it takes about 4 hours to play 18 holes of golf. What celebrity would you most like to hang around with for four hours? Just about any of the musicians I’m a fan of, as well as any of the writers. Maybe a handful of filmmakers.
8) After he retired, Perry’s passion switched from golf to fishing in the waters near Palm Beach, Florida. His catch of the day often ended up as his family’s dinner. What’s for dinner at your house tonight? No idea yet. I have a feeling my husband’s gonna suggest getting takeout or something since we have errands to run.
9) Random question — They say “birds of a feather, flock together.” But that’s not always true. Can you think of an area where you are out of step with most of your friends/family? Politics with most of my extended family, with the exception of my cousins–most of us are really closely aligned in that sense. But I’m also the only writer of the family.