My Very First Act of Plagiarism by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג -
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My Very First Act of Plagiarism

After fruitful careers as a scientist and inventor I've gone back to what I love most - writing children's books Read More
  • Joined Oct 2013
  • Published Books 1543

When I was about four years old, I wandered around the house singing a song that went something like this.

“Are you mine, all the time,

Mine alone,yesiree,

All my own,wait and see..”



My Mom asked me where the song was from. I led her to believe that it was something I had whipped up myself.  Mom believed me and phoned my Dad, on one of those old fifties rotary phones. “Harry, you son is a genius. He has written a song.” Then I was called to the phone to sing Dad the song. He must have been very impressed by my skills.



When Dad came home from work they called my grandmother in Winnipeg, and Auntie Rochel and Uncle Reuben in Chicago. “Our son is a genius”, they said. I sang the song on the phone. My parents must have been very excited, long distance calls cost a fortune in the fifties.


My parents were elated. After all, they were expecting great things from their first-born son. And I had delivered, big time.


My Dad went into work and told his colleagues that I was a genius. They were duly impressed. Except that one of Dad’s colleagues asked him to sing the song. Dad did, as best he could (Dad was never much of a singer).



“Are you mine, all the time,

Mine alone,yesiree,

All my own,wait and see..”


One of Dad’s colleagues called him aside. “Harry”, he said. “I don’t know how to tell you this but your son has plagiarized the song. It’s number two on the hit parade.”

And that was that.


The bubble had burst. My parents never treated me the same again. I could be smart, very smart, get excellent grades in school, win trophies, be a valedictorian. But never a genius.



Nevertheless, Mom kept trying. She sent me to tap dancing lessons, even bought me a pair of patent leather tap shoes. I was a disaster. I stepped on the other children’s patent leather shoes. I was as clumsy as they come.

So Mom sent me to take piano lessons with Sandra Coupal. I was diligent, I practiced and played very well. But I was no genius.


On the other hand, my parents were expecting exceptional signs from their son since the day I was born. After all, they called me Melvyn, with a ‘y’. Parents who want their son to be normal and fit in don’t call him Melvyn.


Over the course of the next half century, I sometimes wondered about this story and the repercussions. Was there really a song as inane as that on the hit parade? No wonder my parents thought that no adult would ever write something like that.



Recently, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to check. Was there really such a song on the hit parade in the mid-fifties. Was it really so inane?





Even in our modern internet era it wasn’t easy. “Are you mine” is the name of a popular, more modern song by the Arctic Monkeys. But, upon a closer look, I found the following video.




There is no doubt that this is the song. As it turns out, it was indeed written by a fourteen year old from Thunder Bay named Myrna Lorrie. And although the lyrics and tune are indeed naive, they do have a kind of endearing childish innocence. And there are people who still love the song. I guess in some way, I do too.



I have no direct personal recollection of the story, except as told to me when I was growing up. Nevertheless, this is the time to apologize: “Myrna Lorrie, I am sorry that I took credit for your hit song when I was four years old. I hope you forgive me. If so, please allow me the honour of showing your picture on the cover of this book. After all, it is your book too”.






Thank you for reading my book!

If you like it, you might also want to read:

The Elevator Man

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