Don’t Be Cruel


Randy and I had one of those rambling, winding conversations couples have on lazy weekend days. Or at least we do.

We discussed bands who have stayed with us since music became a thing for us. Our conversations are always interesting because Randy is Randy and he makes conversations interesting. Sometimes frustrating, like those “escape the room” things. Which is to say he often changes the subject without telling me or will randomly start talking with an accent.

I’m referencing the “escape the room” thing because I recently had to do an “escape the room” thing for a team building thing for work. The day included touring a facility dedicated to model trains. So, you know,  fun. If you love model trains. Which I don’t so much. Also, we did not successfully escape the room and wasn’t super conducive to team building. Mostly everyone got annoyed withcassette tape each other. Except for me. I sat in a corner and stayed out of the way. And that is actually a problem because I was sitting on a clue. So it’s possibly my fault we did not successfully escape the room. Yay me. 

But I digress.

Anyway, Randy and I talked about bands that stayed with us forever. One of his forever bands is Cheap Trick.

I was a Cheap Trick fan. I took my mom to see Cheap Trick once. She loved it. But Cheap Trick has never been one of my forever bands.

Me: I do have a Cheap Trick story.

Randy: Of course you do.

Me: Well, I loved their cover of Don’t Be Cruel. I mean, I loved it.

Randy: But did you love it?


My first husband starting dating his soon to be wife not long after our divorce. His soon to be wife was not a pleasant woman. She was petty, vengeful and delighted in tormenting me when she could. 

Me: Well, I did love it. And once, after David and I split up, he and Cristal came to my apartment to drop Zach off. Which was weird, because they usually just sent him in.

Randy: Okay?

Me: Well, Cristal handed me a tape recorder. You know those old kind that we used to use to tape songs from the radio?

Randy: Yeah.

Me: So she hands me this tape recorder and says “There’s a tape in there and it’s you singing an Elvis song or something.”

Me: It was me, but it wasn’t Elvis. I was singing the Cheap Trick cover.

Randy: Oh shit. That’s bad. I love you baby, but you can’t sing for shit.

Me: Right?

Me: Anyway, I thanked her for returning my tape recorder, and calmly went inside my apartment to look for a hammer. Also, she was wearing my favorite sweatshirt.


Me: I took the tape out and smashed it up with the hammer and died of embarrassment. About a thousand times.

Randy: Hahahaha

Randy: But it doesn’t bother you anymore, right?

Me: She’s dead now. So, no. I can safely say it doesn’t bother me anymore.

I changed the name of my first husband and his second wife. They are really named Ron and Connie. 

Then, we went back to watching Cheap Trick videos and talking about our forever bands. I can see why Cheap Trick is one of Randy’s bands. And I still love that cover of Don’t Be Cruel.


Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske





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  • Sitting on the train laughing out loud at this Brings back memories not only of singing along to Cheap Trick but the tape recorder my brother and I had as kids where we pretended to be rock stars and talk show hosts

  • Now you’ve brought back memories of mixtapes, which, as I recall, were once a staple of every relationship. Not just romantic relationships–friendships as well. They were a great way to get to know someone and get to know some great music. Or a way to ask yourself, “If this is the shit they listen to do I really want to spend time with this person?”
    And those escape-the-room things can be brutal. Haven’t you escaped enough in your life? There have got to be better ways to do team-building than locking everyone in a room and giving them a bunch of difficult tasks as the only way to get out.
    Although they can be be a great way to say to yourself, “If this is the kind of shit they do under fake pressure now I understand why they’re such an asshole in the office.”

  • Loved this – especially visual of tape destruction. I rented from my boyfriend in 80s. After we broke up, he would bring over fiance when he did maintenance. She sunbathed in a bikini so being the mature 21 year old, i cranked music to drown out her transistor. Battle of the bands in my backyard. That really showed her. 🙂

  • Loved that you were sitting on a clue in the Escape Room… and Cheap Trick!!! Wow you just stirred up a whole lot of memories. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Oh those team building exercises are horrible. I do have a friend who developed and sold them and did really well and she loved them, the only person who does! Now the Elvis version of Don’t be Cruel is ear worming me and I don’t min!

  • I was in a band right after high school that did three or four Cheap Trick songs. It was shortly after Live at Budokan took FM radio by storm. They were easy to play and people loved them at the parties and weddings we played at.
    Also, Cheap Trick came to Humboldt State and played the East Gym, and very few popular bands ever did that. It was a really good show, if a bit loud for that room…
    I have a Naugahyde briefcase looking thing that is actually a cassette tape carrier, and in it there are four high-bias TDKs labelled “Recording History” one of which Briana calls the “blackmail tape” because it has recordings of her singing on it. Somehow the tapes with me singing on them aren’t held in the same infamy, although Briana’s singing is altogether better than mine.
    I will note, however, that she knows where it is, and has known where it was for decades, and to my knowledge hasn’t tried to destroy it or throw it away.
    Didn’t some Polish girls get burned up in a fire that started in one of those “escape the room” rooms? Maybe you’re lucky to have gotten out alive…

  • For me it was my “second-grade self” singing an old Blondie (?) song, I Will Survive.

    *Mentally smashes tape recorder with a hammer*

    Love your convos! They sound so familiar

  • I, like Doug, remember the Naugahide “briefcase” of cassettes, although I lost mine in one of our cross-country moves. I think. It may have survived the last one and is living in an un-unpacked bin, somewhere here.

    Also, I don’t have many Forever Bands. But Bohemian Rhapsody is my Forever Song, and if I happen to be blessed with timing the tuning of my car radio *just right*, I will joyfully sing along to the entirety of it.

    My first husband is the only person to ever make me a mixtape. I remember fast-forwarding through only one or two songs, that were back-to-back and by an artist I didn’t care for. I don’t remember who that artist was or what the songs were. I listened to the rest of the tape rather often, so if I hear one of the other songs that I know was on there, it *may* take me back.

    I have never smashed a cassette tape with a hammer. I *may* have removed one’s guts, though. Equally satisfying way to destroy the evidence, as it were.

  • One job we did a ropes course. At the beginning we were told we didn’t have to do anything we weren’t comfortable with. None of us trusted our boss so of course I didn’t do anything with her. After lunch I was called into an office with the leader and my boss and chewed out for not participating. I said you told us we didn’t have to if we weren’t comfortable. Berated and told to cooperate. I didn’t. Fire me. Lol

  • Love this. I think a tape might exist somewhere of me singing “Landslide”. And I can’t sing for shit, either. Thankfully, this gem is most likely buried in a landfill or my parents basement.

By Michelle

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