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Conversation At Work

September 12, 2013

Self-Declared Musical Historian Male Co-worker says during a conversation about mid-twentieth century close-harmony groups, “I really like The Mills Brothers. All their songs start the same.”

I say, “Oh, yeah. Me too.”

In my head I’m thinking, ‘This guy doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.’ (I swear liberally in my thoughts.) ‘He’s thinking of The fucking Ink Spots. The Mill Brothers were the guys that sang with their fucking dad.’

We kind of bonded over our mutual love of The Mills Brothers, even though he loved The Ink Spots and called them The Mills Brothers. He has been much nicer to me since then. I wish I had been quicker to the draw. “All black mid-twentieth century male close-harmony groups look the same to you, you fucking racist?” I could’ve shouted in the middle of the bookstore. “You’re thinking of The fucking Ink Spots! What happened to your encyclopedic knowledge, Encyclopedia Clown?” (That’s meant to rhyme with Brown.)

He would of course reply, “Yeah, The Ink Spots. What did I say? The Mills Brothers? Sorry about that. I mix The Ink Spots up with The Brown Dots too, but then that’s sort of understandable, you know?”

“You unbelievable racist! Really? All black mid-twentieth century male close-harmony groups look the same to you?”

“They do sound pretty similar. Besides The Brown Dots were started by Zeek Watson when he left The Ink Spots in ’46.”

“Oh. Okay,” I would say sheepishly, embarrassed.

I suppose it’s best that I kept my mouth shut.

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