When the wrong word goes in the right ear

Do you remember The Fixx?

They were a London-based new wave band — well, new back in the early 1980s, anyway.

Oh, and when I say new wave, I’m not necessarily referring to their hair, although I could be, clearly. Those boys had bangs you could land a 747 on, I tell ya.

In fact, only Mike Score of fellow punk / sci-fi / alternative band A Flock of Seagulls had more tempestuous tresses. His mixed-up mullet, which hung headlong down the front of his face, was the obvious inspiration for the band’s name since an entire herd of birds could easily nest there undetected for an entire transcontinental flight.

Man, “A Flock and A Fixx,” as original MTV veejay Martha Quinn always referred to the collective Brits, had some really scary 80s hair.


Either way, The Fixx racked up several Top 40 hits in Europe and across the pond here in the U.S., too.

I loved ’em. Lanky of looks and hauntingly techno of beat, you could really “jam” to them on the dance floor. Look, back then, we be jammin’. I digress.

The Fixx still tours with their almost original lineup, playing their biggest hits “Red Skies,” “Saved by Zero,” “Are We Ourselves?” and my personal favorite: “One Thing Leads to Another.”

Its lyrics are still relatable:

“…Why don’t they do what they say; say what they mean? One thing leads to another. But when the wrong word goes in the right ear … It’s getting rough, off the cuff I’ve got to say enough’s enough!”

Okay, I didn’t say the songwriters were on par with Bowie or Dylan or … any of the Beatles (except Ringo), alright? But I do share their ponderance of why things don’t always sound like their meanings.

Take some ordinary English words and phrases, for instance.

Why is it that “gruntled” gives sort of an angry and huffy impression when its definition is “pleased, satisfied, and contented”? Or why is someone described as “woebegone” super sad. Isn’t the woe, like, outta here?

And, if we call it heartburn when fiery sensations flare in our chests, or a hangover when a drinking binge presumably leads to said position in the lavatory the next morning; then how come:

• A screen can either be something that lets in air, light, and sound or completely blocks out any and all outside elements?

• Fast can either mean extra quick or to go completely without?

• Dust refers to both the act of cleaning or that which needs cleaned?

• If it’s a cold sore, why does it sting?

• If the house always wins, why don’t we just move into condos?


Yeah, it’s a frightening place, inside the mind of PK — which also wonders why in God’s name people like to watch “Dr. Pimple Popper?” Speaking of, where exactly did she perfect this skill, Acne U? Or how there’s so much unemployment if we’re all so busy we must shop online, eat lunch at our desks, and marry at drive-thru windows?

While we’re at it, where do all the lightning bugs go — like suddenly, all at once? And what is the deal with winter windowsill flies? Are they dead and if so, how are they miraculously reborn on the first sunny day in spring?

These are the things that keep me up at night.

Well, that and the worry that Kyle is inching along a high-wire between two skyscrapers (sans net) while juggling flaming machetes as his friends encourage cartwheels. What, you don’t have a kid in college?

Kimerer is a Trib / Vindy columnist with a nature that is nervous, just like it sounds. Check out her bewildered blog www. patriciakimerer.com


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