The Search for Summer’s Song: Magic City

Perhaps this is summer’s song, when the varnish has come off your seasonal gig, when the latest in subhuman offal has demonstrated his inability to order a sandwich during the lunch rush.

“What can I get you today?” you ask.

And he says, “First, I’d like mayo.”

Perhaps this is summer’s song, when the rain comes and stays, when the million tourists of coastal Maine forget basic etiquette, when someone will start an order with a condiment instead of the goddamn protein or vegetable that anchors the sandwich. Even if they started with the bread—though incorrect—that would at least be forward movement.

Perhaps this is summer’s song, when your life has come to this: another BLT ordered with no tomato, another reuben on white bread instead of rye, another gluten free wrap dissolving into dust at the slightest touch.

“Magic City” by Gorillaz is another result in my search for summer’s song, now nearing its end. The last result was “65 & Ingleside” by Chance the Rapper.

The Search for Summer’s Song: Be Careful

Emily and I are spending this summer applying for full-time jobs with company health insurance plans and amenities like parking spaces (for her car) and unfettered access to printers or copy machines (for my quarterly anticapitalist tattoo appreciation zine).

Until we secure those gigs, we’ve taken part-time summer jobs. We asked ourselves, “If this season is an ellipsis—a break in the thousand broken promises of millenial adulthood—then what is our summer dream job?”

And so the answers: Emily works for a catering company, and passes bacon-wrapped hors d’oeuvres to people at weekend weddings, and I am now a part-time associate at a local delicatessen, where I portion out pounds of chicken salad and sliced muenster cheese to the endless amount of French Canadian motorcycle enthusiasts of coastal Maine.

I haven’t worked at the deli long enough yet to have a say in the shift’s music. Sometimes, when I am mixing mayonnaise and solid white albacore, or restocking the shelves of sour cream & onion potato chips, or chopping lettuce into perfect chiffonade ribbons, I fantasize about the day when my supervisor turns to me and says, “Anthony, you can choose the music now.”

On rainy days I will choose ambient electronica, humming and static. On scorching, busy days: instrumental hip-hop beats and trap rhythms. On slow afternoons nearing the end of August as we lean into the shoulder season and the tips of oak leaves turn an expectant, burnt yellow? Carly Simon on repeat.

And every other day, every regular day at the deli when the order tickets line the sandwich prep station and the drink fridge empties of white wine and rosé, I’ll play my playlist of Summer 2018 songs. I just need to find them first.

Here is the first result in my search for summer’s song. It is Cardi B’s “Be Careful.”

When I was young and bored, I played a game by myself called “Car Commercial Bingo.” I would cycle through the 80+ channels on my television and keep a tally for how many car commercials I encountered. I would always encounter a car commercial—the question was how many. I’ve been thinking about “Car Commercial Bingo” a lot lately because whenever I turn on the radio in my car, the likelihood of it being a Cardi B track is HIGH AS FUCK. Does she sleep?!

I love her, and I love her meteoric rise, and I love her Instagram presence, and I love this song, “Be Careful,” because it is a song reminiscent of the main menu music of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island.

You played as Yoshi and your task was to keep Baby Mario coddled and safe. If you failed, Baby Mario would float away in a bubble and wail the unrepentant, apocalyptic wail of an uncomfortable infant. I am sure that Cardi B never let that happen to Baby Mario.