The Worst Question

They say the worst question you can ask is if a woman is pregnant. I disagree. The worst question you can ask someone is, “Is he picking you up after school today?”

Let me explain…

I love oldies music. I love the stories that they tell.

When I say oldies I mean Bobby Darin, The Everly Brothers, Herman’s Hermits, Tommy James and The Shondells, Frankie Valli, The Righteous Brothers, Sam Cooke, The Crystals, Dusty Springfield, etc. Today, some oldies channels play 80s music. The 80s definitely have their place, but oldies to me, mean music from the 50s and 60s.

The Shangri-Las released their smash hit “Leader of the Pack” in 1964; a devastating ballad about forbidden love, heartbreak, and untimely death.

Top 5 Songs About Death

On a recent family road trip, “Leader of the Pack” came on. It had been a minute since I last heard it, so I paid particular attention to the lyrics.

A group of girls approach Betty, notice that she’s wearing Jimmy’s ring, and make the logical conclusion that Betty and Jimmy are dating. If you’re wearing a guy’s ring, you’re going steady (going steady is a phrase that I desperately want to bring back and it may be the subject of a future post).

Then, they have the audacity to ask, “Is he picking you up after school today?”

I imagine a population of around 2,000 in this fictitious 1960’s “Leader of the Pack” town. Everyone is in everyone’s business. Betty’s father could not handle the public shame that accompanies one when their daughter not only dates a hooligan, but the leader of the hooligans. This is why Jimmy and Betty’s relationship was so scandalous.

Therefore, it would have not only been common knowledge–but front page news–when Jimmy dies in a horrific motorcycle accident. And front page news for months! Was Jimmy drinking? Did the local weatherman provide accurate information about that evening’s rain? Is Betty’s father a potential manslaughter suspect? Will Hank finally muster up the courage and step up to become the new “Leader of the Pack” everyone knows he’s destined to be?

The group of girls might as well asked, “How’s your dead boyfriend?” Jimmy is gone, and they know it! In schools, I’ve dealt with mean girl behavior before. But posting a picture of your ex-bestie when she is not looking her best does not hold a candle to the open wound salt pouring that is happening when this group of girls basically say, “Here’s a bus pass because we know your dead boyfriend won’t be picking you up after school today because he’s dead and died riding the thing he used to take you home on and died because you broke up with him…vroom vroom.”

In short, never assume a woman is pregnant and allow someone at least a week to grieve before making sarcastic comments about their dead boyfriend.

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