It was one of those days that I was getting a ton of stuff done in short order – LOVE those days! Luckily in the middle of it when I hit one of those energy lulls I ventured out of the office for some fresh air, a change of scenery and coffee – I know, imagine that!

It was my favorite time of day – well, the time of day doesn’t matter, basically they were almost empty and there wasn’t a line at the counter. One of my favorite things is the mix of music in good coffee shops. It has been my opinion for a long time now that when baristas have the opportunity to pick the music they want to listen to when they work that the coffee is better when I drink it. It’s the same in whatever we do right?!

Anyhow, back to music. As I looked at the giant ginger molasses cookies and tried to talk myself into them I noted that the song playing was a version of Mah Na Mah Na that I had never heard before. I of course had to ask if they had any info on this version of the song. I was told that it is the Italian original of the song. I didn’t argue, but the first thought in my mind was – “no, The Muppet Show version is the original”. This led me to do some research after my cappuccino and sparkling water – I couldn’t talk myself into the cookie.

So, for those of us that can’t get that beat out of our heads (Doo-doo-dee-doo-doo, doo-doo-dee-doo!!) since I dropped that title in the last paragraph and think of the song as the opening bit on the original Muppet show here’s the real history of Mah Na Mah Na…

The first Muppet rendition was originally in 1969 on Sesame Street. Take note the change in the backing vocals – “bah-dee-pee-tee-pee” rather than “doo-doo-doo-doo-doo”.

From there, on November 30, 1969 it was performed on The Ed Sullivan Show by Bip Bippadotta and the two Snowths. This is the same version as the classic I relate to that as the opening number for The Muppet Show, Episode 101.

So, let’s get back to where the song really originated.

The original song was written by an Italian composer named Piero Umilliani for an Italian film in 1968 known as a “Mondo” film, which is an exploitative pseudo-documentary. I have to look more into that term but it sounds a bit like American television today. The film was called Svezia, Inferno e Paradiso, or its English translation, Sweden, Heaven and Hell. Basically it was about life in Sweden, but mostly sex. It was the score for the sauna scene below.

So, now that you have multiple versions of this song stuck in your head, what was the point.

The point is that I realized that we all have an internal dialogue that is formed by our individual experiences and whatever we have experienced is our “normal” or what we consider the “regular one”. Had I never heard this original version randomly in a coffee shop I would have never considered that there was a version before the famous 1977 version that I know from The Muppet Show.

It’s not right or wrong as to what is an individual’s version of “normal”, but there is great opportunity to consider this and approach situations in an empathetic fashion as we have no idea what is going on in the mind of the person that we’re talking to.