Do you really want to hurt meeee …

I was a painfully shy, painfully awkward kid.

I know it’s not the kind of thing for which you can provide “visual proof,” but here’s a hint:


This would have been, I dunno, grade seven? Whenever those gold-dipped leaf necklaces were fashionable. Mmm-hmm.

As if looking like this wasn’t enough of a challenge, you gotta layer in HORMONES and FEELINGS, and I had lots of both. I also had teachers who weren’t always amazing at reading the angst-ridden room, which is how we ended up with Secret Santa Exchange ’83.

You know the drill. You draw a name, you have to buy them a gift under, let’s say, $10. And everyone does it, so everyone gets a gift, but it’s just so friggin’ fraught (see also: HORMONES, FEELINGS). What if you get someone you LOVE. What if they get YOU.

I am 47 damn years old and I can feel my heart rising in my chest just thinking about it.

So it was grade seven, and I had been The New Kid at St. Martin’s Ennismore for a whopping four months, which means that everyone in my class knew me perfectly, which of course made me totally easy to buy for.

[I’m gonna take a moment here to just tell the truth: children are horrible gift-givers in the main, and that’s assuming they actually do the shopping which of course they do not. My $10 limit says some stressed-out mom picked this up at Lansdowne Place when her idiot child told her half an hour before closing time that s/he had to bring a present to school the next day.]

And that, friends, is how I came to be the proud owner of this, which I (re)discovered this morning, while digging through the shelf of albums to see if I actually own any Kenny Rogers (RIP / I do not):

You are reading that correctly.

It’s not only CHART ACTION, it’s CHART ACTION … Action … action … and the track list is, well, it’s actually goddamned amazing.

And so I present, for your sincere listening pleasure:


  1. Gloria … Laura Branigan
  2. You Can’t Hurry Love … Phil Collins
  3. Down Under … Men at Work
  4. Africa … Toto
  5. Goody Two Shoes … Adam Ant
  6. Don’t You Want Me … Human League
  7. Mickey … Toni Basil
  8. Come On Eileen … Dexys Midnight Runners and The Emerald Express


  1. Allentown … Billy Joel
  2. Sexual Healing … Marvin Gaye (yes, I went to a Catholic school, no, this did not get screened out by the purchasing parent)
  3. Missing You … Dan Fogelberg
  4. Heart to Heart … Kenny Loggins
  5. Truly… Lionel Richie
  6. Breaking Us In Two … Joe Jackson
  7. Twilight Zone … Golden Earring (yeah, I don’t know, either)
  8. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me … Culture Club

Now, I know you don’t really want to hurt me, or anyone else.

And that’s why you’re going to stay home and keep your distance, right?

Not forever, just for now.

For me, and you, and all of us.

I mean, I put THAT picture of me on the internet, ferpetesake.

You owe me one.



6 thoughts on “Do you really want to hurt meeee …

  1. That is a killer album! And I was far more awkward but not shy, which is a horrific combination of annoying proportions. I had zero impulse control as well. Things were cringey.


  2. That is a classic song list! What became of the person who gave it to you? Friend for life or awkward dusty memory?


  3. Twilight Zone by Golden Earring was on frequent play when my favourite uncle was babysitting, and remains one of my favourite pop songs from childhood.


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