“You Shook Me All Night Long” deciphered. For you.

She was a fast machine
She kept her motor clean
She was the best damn woman I had ever seen
She had the sightless eyes
Telling me no lies
Knockin’ me out with those American thighs
Taking more than her share
Had me fighting for air
She told me to come but I was already there
‘Cause the walls start shaking
The earth was quaking
My mind was aching
And we were making it and you –


Shook me all night long
Yeah you shook me all night long

etc. etc.

The first time it struck me, I was at the Club Diamond Dust in Cheektowaga with one of my college professors. We were watching the gals, some pretty, some not. One of them had a cowboy outfit on, and danced to the song in question. As the music played and her gyrations wound down into a desperate, sweaty denouement, I wondered aloud to whom the singer was singing his song.  Was it “She”? Or was it “You”?

As the girl, blonde and about 30, negotiated the steep stairs with her glittered heels, her belt-buckle enshrined in a crumpled dollar-bill frame of sorts, I approached her, more or less on a dare from the professor, who shall go nameless. Brian was his name.

“Hey. I loved your act.”

“Thanks sweetie! Do you want a dance all to yourself?”

“No thanks. But I was wondering if you ever, you know, thought about….the context.”

“Huh?” (at this point the next horse-faced woman took to the stage, gyrating to “All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” in some tuxedo-esque monstrosity.)

“The context. WHO shook you all night long? ‘She’ or ‘You’? Did you ever think about that?”

“……………………………………………………………………………………………….so no dance?”

Brian was convulsing in paroxysms of laughter as I sheepishly crouched my way back to my seat. No help there.

Then this happened recently:


RALEIGH (WTVD) — A Selma man is charged with intentional child abuse after allegedly shaking his 5-month-old baby hard enough to cause injury to the child’s brain.

Twenty-eight-year-old Christopher Scott Childers, of 216 E. Lenoir Street, was arrested Saturday and is being held in the Wake County Jail under a $30,000 bond.

Childers was due in court Monday to face the felony charge.

And it made sense. All at once.

He’s singing to his biological mother, the woman who had to give up her child when it was discovered by social workers that she had, indeed, shaken her child all night long. So now he’s telling her about an unfortunate recent sexual encounter he had with what turned out to be his great-aunt, a woman 30 years his senior, whom he had not met previously, but chanced upon at a local church fete. He felt shame and bewilderment upon discovering this fact, but he was drunk at the time, and he was slightly retarded as well. He blamed his mother, justifiably, for this.

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