The Partridge Family Police Officers

>> Monday, June 18, 2007

This morning we drove to work listening to “Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque” sung by David Cassidy -- a song featured on Michael’s latest and greatest CD mix of “bubble gum” music.

“Again!” cried Elizabeth when it was over.

“You like that song, sweetie? What do you like about it?”

“I like it when they sing ‘sparkeee’.”

Sparky? It took us a minute to realize that she misunderstood “point me” as “sparky”. We played it again, and Michael explained that this song is about a runaway who misses her family and wants to return home.

“She’s sad and lost,” he explained, “and this... man... is helping her.” We could hear questions forming in her mind. What man?

We couldn’t say he was a “stranger” because we’re fresh from stranger-talk. Right now we’re teaching Elizabeth that strangers are to be avoided. Don’t talk to them. Don’t leave with them. Don’t let them give you things. If they approach you, run away, and if they try to put you on a bus, run away screaming. Strangers = bad.

For a four year-old, stranger-talk is not easy and it’s already too complicated. This weekend a little boy came up to us while we were having a picnic. He wanted to ride the girls’ tricycle. I said sure and got a nodding agreement from his mother. Then Elizabeth reminded me, “Mommy, he’s a stranger. Don’t talk to strangers.” He was 2.

How could I explain that there are many stranger variations; that in some situations it’s OK to talk to strangers -- even beneficial? Indeed, if you believe David Cassidy, some strangers are helpful, kiss away our tears, and direct us to busses. I decided it would be too difficult to explain that for a runaway probably recovering from a heroin overdose or strung out on crack, talking to a stranger at a bus station could hardly make her life worse -- especially if he looks like David Cassidy.

Taking this all into account, our response was natural.

“He’s a policeman.”

We continued listening, satisfied with our lie. Then the chorus swelled, backing David’s crisp voice. Point me... in the direction of Albuquerque...

“Are they all policeman?” she asked.

All? Oh, yes, the chorus. Now Michael and I pictured David Cassidy in uniform, with the Partridge Family Police Officers singing backup. Priceless.

Later, a quick Google search revealed that David Cassidy played an undercover police officer, David Shay, in Man Undercover. So perhaps it wasn’t really a lie, after all. Perhaps our explanation was simply the result of our collective memories working subconsciously. Right?

Yes, of course! They’re all policemen singing about helping people!

And all is right and good in the world.

“Point Me In The Direction Of Albuquerque" Lyrics

Window walkin' downtown, feelin' mighty good
And I noticed from the corner how all alone she stood
Underneath the lamplight, an angel in disguise
Lonely little runaway with teardrops in her eyes

Crazy little ragdoll, her hair was wild and tossed
And I put my arm around her, 'cause I knew that she was lost
She didn't seem to notice that anyone was near
'Till suddenly she turned to me and whispered in my ear

Point me in the direction of Albuquerque
I want to go home, and help me get home
Point me in the direction of Albuquerque
I need to get home, need to get home

Showed me a ticket for a Greyhound bus, her head was lost in time
She didn't know who or where she was
"And anyone that helps me is a real good friend of mine"
Real good friend of mine

Point me in the direction of Albuquerque
And help me get home, help me get home

Walked her to the station and kissed away the tears
Knowing I'd remember through all the coming years
Ragdoll on that Greyhound who waved with all her might
Weeped against the window as the bus rolled out of sight

Point me in the direction of Albuquerque
I want to go home, and help me get home
Point me in the direction of Albuquerque
I need to get home, need to get home

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