I don't set the car radio on oldies stations. I usually put it on scan. At least when I'm by myself.
But I was on my way over to my mother's to watch the Preakness when the tuner landed on a snippet of “I Get Around” by the Beach Boys. It's a song I admired more when I was in grade school than I do now. But I listened.
And there it was. A lyric that has baffled me since I was 9.
“We always take my car cause it's never been beat
“And we never miss get with the girls we meet”
When I was a kid, I suspect I thought that was some sort of crude teen code for achieving a measure of closeness with bothersome females. Though why anyone would want to do that remained a mystery.
In later years, I might have factored in the possibility that I wasn't hearing it right. Maybe I have even known the actual line in the song at one time or another.
I once had occasion to visit briefly with the late Carl Wilson. I could have asked him.
“Hey, Carl. When your brother and cousin wrote 'I Get Around,' what were they saying about meeting girls?”
Fortunately, I said nothing of the sort. So when that song came on this afternoon, what I heard was “And we never miss get.”
Old habits die hard.
So, my mom and I watched I'll Have Another win the second leg of the Triple Crown. And I came home.
Then I looked up the lyrics to “I Get Around.”
Turns out the actual line is this: “And we've never missed yet with the girls we meet.”
Not quite so vulgar as “get,” I suppose. But it's still bragging.
Yes, hip hop didn't invent that.
“I Get Around” became a No. 1 hit in 1964. But the song on the other side of that 45 is the one that made me think the Beach Boys were special.