Ben Stein's Diary

Bills to Pay

XM never sounded dreamier.

By 12.10.13

Claire P. (Flikr Creative Commons)


An exhausting day shopping in Beverly Hills, then back to paying bills in my office… that bill paying part is hell.

But listening to the fifties station on XM… that is paradise. Those are songs from 55 or 57 years ago, and I recall every word. The Platters, The Drifters, The Olympics, The Cadillacs, Harvey and the Moonglows, Little Richard, Elvis, The Janettes, Ike and Tina Turner. Those songs take me away from my cares of bills and obligations and in my mind’s eye I am dancing with Gay Patlen in the gym at Montgomery Blair High School. I am not sure I ever did but the fantasy is very strong. Only XM can make it light up in my brain. The sock hops at the Silver Spring Armory. The cute Irish girls with their little crosses and their tight skirts and bobby socks. How I loved those girls. I sometimes even danced with them. It is hard to believe but I was once a good dancer of the jitterbug, Washington style. And XM brings all those memories back to me.

As far as I can think of, there is no better money spent on this planet than XM. Their stations hit great music, great radio shows, the BBC, holiday music (CHRISTMAS MUSIC!), and I love every note, every word.

But the fifties station — that’s taking me back to a time when I dreamed that love was going to save me. And you know, it did. Mary Just, Alex, Pat… so many others. They all saved me. I love that music that reminds me of all that is heavenly in human desires and omits all that is base.

Give me XM and my quiet room and even bill paying is bliss.

Hey, I forgot to tell you this amazing true story: I was at my 12-step meeting a few days ago and a beautiful girl (notice how often I use those words) asked me if I would help her buy a car. I said I already had helped too many beautiful girls buy cars. She held up her iPhone and showed me a screen that told me the net worth of someone called Ben Stein. It was a lot of money. “I'm sorry,” I said, “but that must be another Ben Stein. Maybe a Ben Stein who owns a folding box factory in Passaic. Not me.”

“It is you,” she said. “I know it is.” She winked at me. “And I know you’ll help me with that car.”

“No, he won’t,” said my wife, who was standing next to me.

When my wife turned her head away to light up a cigarette, the car girl winked at me again.

Hey, I forgot to tell you this, too. Today while I was shopping I ran into Morgan Fairchild. She is still my dream girl. I LOVE HER. I would help her buy a car. But she doesn’t need my help. I have always loved her since she was my neighbor in New York almost forty years ago. She is still beautiful.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.