While fiancee Hanna was spending a few days with the Tabor College admissions department in San Antonio over the weekend, I woke up one morning with this Elvis song stuck in my head: “Well since my baby left me, there’s a new place I long to go. Well it’s down in the big ol’ Lone Star state; it’s San Antonio.”
Obviously, those aren’t the real lyrics.
But it got me thinking: What if all of our classic songs started morphing to reflect the lives of average people?
Or worse, what if all of our classic songs started morphing to reflect my life?
And even worse yet, what if these songs started playing during the day, like our own personal soundtrack?
It would be terrible!
Here’s one my greeter at Wal-mart—I’m thinking Peggy Lee—would start singing when I go shopping: “The minute you walked in the joint, I could tell you shop for all the discount rollbacks, you thrifty spender. Thrifty spender, spend a little dime on me.”
I’m sure you’re beginning to see where this column is heading.
Basically, any song that has ever made any “Top 100” list (or Time Life infomercial, for that matter) would be completely ruined because it would become about boring, daily things.
For example, after a long day at work when you just want to sit and mindlessly watch a game show, Aretha Franklin would start wailing, “A-E-I-O-U and Y, gotta find a vowel to buy.”
You couldn’t even enjoy watching cartoons, because 1960 programs about prehistoric preteens would have a theme song like this: “Ringtones. All those ringtones. Who gives cells to preadolescents?”
Of course, the demise of popular music wouldn’t stop at the television. Quite the contrary, we’d see it in schools as well.
When working on a research paper, the Beach Boys would begin singing, “I’d better make good citations, or suffer professor’s aggravations.”
Or how about during an introductory biology courses? Here, the band Three Dog Night would be obligated to sing this: “Jeremiah sliced the bullfrog, and pulled away all the slime. Never understood why we do this in school; dissecting seems like such a crime.”
And when bombing a test, we’d automatically hear Tchaikovsky’s famous 1812 lyrics: “Dumb-dumb-dumb, dumb-dumb-dumb, dumb-dumb-dumb, dumb, dumb. Dumb-dumb-dumb, dumb-dumb-dumb, dumb-dumb-dumb, dumb, dumb. Dumb-dumb-dumb, dumb-dumb-dumb, dumb-dumb-dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb-dumb-dummmmmmmmb, dumbdumbdumb dumb-dumb-dum.
And don’t even get me started on what the Beatles would sing when schools start cutting funding for the arts: “I want to fold your band.”
No, obviously nothing would be sacred. Even our nation’s history would taint some of our favorite songs.
Specifically, after muckraker Upton Sinclair wrote his scathing novel about meatpacking plants in 1906, we would first hear some tribal chanting, followed by, “In the Jungle, the filthy Jungle, e coli steeps tonight.”
Even the most average day-to-day tasks would contaminate classic country-western songs.
Driving through Marion County would provoke Johnny Cash to pick up his guitar: “I’ve been to Goessel, Lincolnville, Creswell, Gnadanau, Marion, Durham, Hillsboro, Canada, Peabody, Lehigh, Aulne and Lost Springs, Tampa, Ramona, Antelope and Youngtown, 13-mile Indigo has got me down, Florence, Burns, and Pilsen if you gotta sin. I’ve been everywhere.”
And if you think country music’s got it bad, just wait until you find out what will happen to the Great American Songbook.
The simple act of walking will force Dean Martin to start crooning, “When you don’t watch your track and you halt with a smack, that’s a door, eh?”
(Apparently Dino is from Canada.)
Oh, and don’t think that “going green” will have any positive effect on this, either. Ella Fitzgerald’s new song will go like this: “It’s only a plastic spoon, that’s produced from PVC. But it could be remade, you see, because it’s triangle three.”
And just when you think it can’t get any worse, this bad-song epidemic will foul up our food.
With a mysterious smile, Nat King Cole will croon, “Stuffed crust pizza, stuffed crust pizza I have called in. You’re my choice on tonight’s menu. They say you will be done at 7:20. I’ll come by then, and I’ll dine then.”
And even worse, the Eagles will be singing soft rock ballads to encourage fruit: “Avacado; why can’t you keep any freshness? You’re offending my senses and turning fowl. Oh, you’re a soft one, but you’ve got your season. Your reason is guacamole, but for only right now.”
Yes, the world looks hopeless if popular music ever begins to reflect average life. But I think we can all find encouragement from the timeless words of Carol Burnett:
“I’m so glad we had this time together, just to spoof a goofy song or two. Seems it’s kind of silly to continue; surely we all have better things to do.”