In a drab meeting room lit by faintly flickering fluorescent bulbs, people sit in folding chairs arranged before a small lectern. At the back of the room, burnt coffee burbles in an industrial-looking percolator on a table beside a basket of stale pastries.
A woman stands at the podium.
“Hello, I’m Eileen.”
“Hi Eileen,” the group greets her.
“I was born in March of 1982, three months before Dexys Midnight Runners released a song that would rise to the top of the Billboard charts worldwide.”
The people in the chairs emit clucks of recognition and sympathy.
“The thing is, I was named after my grandmother who died the year before. But people just assume that…” Her voice trails off. “They assume that my parents would name me after that…that goddam stupid song. I swear to God if I hear that chorus again I’m gonna lose it.”
“It’s okay, Eileen,” Layla says. “This is a safe space.”
“We’ve all been there, darlin’,” Jolene adds.
“So then the movie Tommy Boy came out when I was in middle school,” Eileen continues, “every boy in my class watched it 100 times. Guess what song was on the soundtrack?”
“I was a freshman in high school when Pearl Jam went triple platinum,” Jeremy says, interrupting. “No way I was gonna speak in class. I ended up dropping out.”
“The main thing that’s annoying is people assume they’re the first one to ever make that ‘joke’,” Eileen says, slicing the air with emphatic finger quotes. “It’s not even a joke; you’re just quoting song lyrics. It’s not funny.”
“No, it’s not,” Caroline says. “The receptionist in my office goes ‘ba ba baaaa’ every time I walk past his desk.”
“Fuck those people! They think they’re fucking clever?” Jude snarls.
“Hey Jude—oh, uh, sorry man. But can we keep it civil?” Louie says.
“Anyways,” Eileen says, “you know how teenage boys are. They changed the emphasis from ‘come on’ to ‘cum on,’ if you catch my drift. It was horrible.”
“I feel you,” says Billie Jean. “The month my song came out mom put me on birth control. I was 12!”
“Thanks to Paul Simon, I’ve never felt comfortable making love in the afternoon,” says Cecilia.
“I hate Paul Simon,” Julio says.
“Me too!” says Al.
“This is my first meeting,” Eileen says. “I’m just glad to know there are other people out there who understand what I’ve been through. That’s all.”
“We’ve got a chair here with your name on it,” Lola says.
“Keep coming back!” says Bobby McGee.