Like a virgin 

The teachings of Weird Al Yankovic

Before nerd-dom had earned a modicum of its current cultural capital, Devo opened the gates of geekery to dorks of all vintages. But it was professional pop song parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic who provided the soundtrack to the pizza and pop party upon our arrival. His crackerjack accordion work on tracks like "My Bologna" and "Another One Rides the Bus" had been staples on Dr. Demento's radio show for years by the time he released 1985's "Like a Surgeon," a send-up of Madonna's number one song, "Like a Virgin."

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At that time, while desperately crushing on Madonna, I commandeered a copy of Playboy featuring her nude, unshorn armpits and lady bits. There I was standing on the precipice of manhood, Madonna exhibiting more pubic hair than any boy I knew. I was confused, sad and, of course, horny as a captive monkey. Fortunately, on MTV, Weird Al's video for "Like a Surgeon" played as often as Madonna's original. Besides finishing with the solid line, "I can hear your heart beat for the very last time," that track taught me three things I have used throughout my life: how to deconstruct popular culture; that being subversive doesn't require degradation; and not to take Madonna too seriously as a love interest.

Weird Al Yankovic plays the Wilma Theatre Fri., July 19. Doors open at 7:30 PM, show starts at 8:30. $40 at Rockin Rudy's and vootie.com.

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