Ain’t That a Kick in the Head (1960)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.
1. Dean Martin asks the musical question, “How lucky can one guy be?” Tell us about a time when you got a lucky break.
It didn’t seem lucky at the time, but it sure as hell turned out that way. Years ago, when we were stationed at Fort Drum, we lived in a housing area midway between post and my hometown. The neighborhood was a good one, kids roaming about and playing together. My husband was deploued to Afghanistan when a new family moved in. Soldier husband, wife, two kids… a daughter who was a few years older than my son Scott (he was 9 or so) and a son about my son Tyler’s age (he was about 7). We lived in a little cul-de-sac, and they lived farther down the street. And, at first, things were fine. That didn’t last. The father deployed, and the family began to show their true colors. The girl was a MASSIVE bully to the younger kids. Either they did her bidding, or she came after them. Violently. Her little brother wasn’t much better. Long story short, Scott didn’t play her game. So it was on like Donkey Kong. She came after him, after his brother, even after me. She was physically violent, destructive, you name it. My truck was keyed, she took a bat to my patio furniture. She chased Scott with a metal pipe, threatened me with it. She got her little brother to shiv Tyler on the bus. We were in and out of court getting restraining orders. It was effing awful. The mother was no better. Her daughter, as it turned out, had a variety of mental health issues that manifested in violence, and the family refused to do anything about it. The daughter had a history of hurting people. We literally became prisoners in our own home for months. My kids didn’t go beyond our front yard, and I was always right there with them. But that didn’t stop anything because the daughter would lie to the mother, and every other day the mother was at my house, in my face, threatening me. Even though I had witnesses to the fact that my kids had been nowhere near her daughter. The mother even sent down her next-door neighbor, a male soldier, to threaten me and intimidate me. It didn’t work. He backed me against a wall, right in my face. So I stepped forward, nose to nose, and made sure he understood I’d dealt with bigger and badder. It was an effing nightmare. The day we found out they’d moved… we went to the store, bought cake and ice cream for dinner, came home, and danced in the front yard.
The lucky part? A few years later, after this bitch (the mother) had threatened to kill me and my kid, she and her estranged husband murdered the wife of the man the bitch had been sleeping with. You can’t make this shit up. You can read about it here. I feel lucky I escaped worse. And you can watch Oxygen’s Snapped: Killer Couples episode here.
2. This song was introduced in the original Ocean’s 11 movie. Have you seen it, or the remake and its sequels?
I haven’t seen any of them.
3. All the Ocean’s movies are about heists. Why do you suppose audiences enjoy watching caper films?
I think there is a weird kind of joy to be found in getting one in on “the man,” a subtle “eff you.”
4) Dean was born in Steubenville, OH. Though he seldom returned to his hometown, he kept Steubenville in his thoughts, regularly donating toys to area children hospitalized over the holidays. Who received the last gift you gave?
My husband and a close friend! Their birthdays were yesterday. I got Corey a bunch of stuff for his woodworking hobby. And I made a donation to the Trevor Project in Laurie’s name, a charity she and I both support.
5. Dean was extremely claustrophobic and avoided elevators whenever possible — and even when it wasn’t. He was late for the first night of an engagement, even though he was staying at the hotel where he was performing, because he insisted on taking the stairs from his luxury suite to the showroom (18 flights). The hotel put him in a smaller, less prestigious room on a lower floor so he could more easily arrive on time for his own shows. Have you ever been stuck in an elevator?
I have not, thank goodness. I am claustrophobic in some situations, but elevators don’t bother me for some reason.
6. He and Frank Sinatra were great friends, but they had their differences. For example, Frank loved to party and Dean hated it. One of Sinatra’s favorite stories was about how Dean got bored with a party in his own home and went up to his bedroom to watch TV. When the guests didn’t take his hint and leave, Dean made an anonymous noise complaint to the police, who came over and broke up the party. When it comes to parties, are you more like Frank or Dean?
At various times in my life, I’ve been both Frank and Dean. Now I’m probably more of a Dean, at least most of the time.
7. Dean Martin had a secret passion for comic books. He loved them, but was too embarrassed to buy them himself. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Pirate- or Scottish Highland-themed bodice rippers. I don’t know why. It just is what it is.
8. In 1960, when this song was released, Princess Margaret married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones. Their relationship began when he was commissioned to take her official portrait. Who took the most recent picture of you?
My son. He took some headshots for my books.
9. Random question (Not really so random, considering Dean Martin’s reputation): Do you have a hangover remedy to recommend?
Nope. I wish I did!