Beetles, Joyrides, and Fried Chicken

Anyone who has read my first post here is aware that I associate certain music very strongly with events or periods in my life. From time to time, I’m going to drop in a nugget here and there. Tonight’s selection concerns a set of pop music that I’ve come to call “Com-Pak music.”


When I was in high school, I needed a job to keep gas in my car (more on the car later). From my sophomore year until I left for college, I worked as a deli cook and cashier at the convenience store next to my school. The store is called “Com-Pak”, and I spent most of my weekends there for about two and a half years.

Especially when I was back in the kitchen cooking (fried chicken, burritos, corn dogs… deep fried stuff), I kept the radio on to occupy my mind. For various reasons, I had not really listened to the radio much in the years leading up to then. The result is that my mind has latched onto a set of pop songs that were in heavy rotation in the very early 90’s. This was before the angst storm out of Seattle took over the music industry, so most of it was pretty light. To this day, I can’t hear Joyride by Roxette without imagining myself whistling along while dredging chicken pieces in breading flour. Silly? Yeah.

Anyway, I started on this thread because I was listening to my Alias CD. Alias actually goes beyond the standard Com-Pak music. Around this same time in my life, I learned that my dad and my cousin had been working on rebuilding a 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle for me. They told me before they were done so that I could help them work on it. To make a long story short, the ‘74 had some serious body problems that they didn’t see before they bought it, so we gave up. Instead, they found a 1976 Beetle in really good shape. It was my pride and joy. We repainted it a deep metallic red, and I bought a set of used mag wheels for it. All the time I was helping work on both cars, I was getting to know my new tape copy of Alias’ subtitled debut album really well. The strongest memory I get when I hear Alias songs like What To Do is me sitting on our front porch polishing those wheels in preparation for the car. When I got a cassette stereo for the car, I wore out that tape. I gave the car back to my Dad when he bought me a two-year-old Nissan Sentra in ‘94, but I’ll never forget the Beetle. According to him, some guy in the area still drives it.

My mom has a picture that I need to get scanned in. (edited 5 December 2015: Well, I finally did. Here’s a link.) It’s a picture I took from the window behind the cash register in Com-Pak. It’s a picture of my little red Beetle parked right under the Com-Pak sign at work. My first car and my first job… all in one picture. I wonder what song I’ll hear in my head when I see it. (“Come on join the joyride…”)

One thought on “Beetles, Joyrides, and Fried Chicken

  1. I think you should put in all the words to each of the songs utherwise I think you did very well in these sights!!

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