Stuff I Learned From Music (2022)

Music is to culture what Doctor Watson is to Sherlock Holmes: you really can’t have one without the other.  It is a universal language that connects people everywhere around the world.  Even the grumpiest curmudgeon can’t help but move their shoulders just a little bit when they hear “Despacito.”  So it’s natural that, in my many years on this planet, I’ve learned a lot of things from music.  Here are just a few of them.

Musically, nobody really knows what to do with a drunken sailor.

There’s a reason symphony orchestras seldom feature bagpipes.

It’s no contest: the #1 favourite female vocalist of old people is “What’s-her-name.”

Disney could make a 2 hour live action movie about paint drying and people would pay to see it, download the sound track and set up a Twitter account to complain that the songs weren’t as good as the original.

Even though we sing it every year, nobody understands the words to “Auld Lang Syne.”

Oddly enough, ever since the Everly Brothers sang “Wake Up, Little Susie,” the go-to name for women in pop songs (and one country music mega-hit) is Sue.

Oddly enough, ever since the Beatles sang “I Saw Her Standing There” the optimum age for women in pop songs is 17.  Is that even legal?

And speaking of legal, “Happy Birthday to You” is still under copyright, so every time you sing it, you’re technically breaking the law.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart did not write “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”  That’s just a “fact” pompous asses mention in conversation so you’ll think they’re smart.

It’s never a good idea to teach children those monotonous, multi-verse songs like “The Wheels on the Bus” or “Baby Shark” — especially right before an extended road trip.

Everybody’s favourite song has one good verse and a very loud chorus. After that, it’s mostly mumbling ‘til the chorus comes around again.

When you’re driving and you’re either lost or looking for an address, you automatically turn the music down because … I don’t know … ears?

And speaking of ears, the Germans have a word for that song that gets stuck in your head – ohrwurm – ear worm.

Whether they’re waltzing with Mathilda or tying their kangaroo down, Australian folk songs have some totally strange lyrics.

If you’re the subject of a country music song, unfortunately, you’re pretty much screwed.

For pure sex, nothing beats 70s-going-on-80s pop music.

Keith Richards is proof that there is life beyond the grave.

Taylor Swift has written so many songs about bad relationships that – uh – maybe she’s the problem.

Nobody is ever going to love you as much as Kanye West loves … Kanye West.

And finally:

Old people spend a lot of time bragging about how uber-wild and crazy they were back in the Woodstock era, circa 1969.  However, they’ve conveniently forgotten that Billboard’s Single of the Year, that year, was “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies.  (Not so counterculture cool now, are ya, grandpa?

Just Some Thoughts

One of the huge fringe benefits of being a writer is you get to sit around, do nothing and call it work.  Your mind can wander wherever it likes, and as long as it comes back, you’ve had a productive day.  Some stuff you use, some stuff you lose, but most stuff you just don’t remember.  Here are a few things that I do remember.

A friend will offer to help you move.  A good friend will offer to help you move the body.

You can buy a birthday cake and eat it all yourself.  Nobody checks!

How come ghosts wear clothes?  Did their shirt and pants die with them?  What about underwear?

Up and down are opposites, but whether your house burns down or your house burns up, the result is the same – you’re homeless.

Opening the refrigerator and staring in does not produce something “really nice” to eat.  It’s true.  I’ve tried it.

When a vegan comes to your house for dinner, to be polite, you serve vegan food.  But when you go to a vegan’s house, they never return the favour and cook you a steak.

Sometimes, I wonder if Vladimir Putin ever wonders, “Am I actually the bad guy?”

Daylight Savings Time is like cutting 10 centimetres (4 inches) off one end of a blanket, sewing it onto the other end and saying the blanket is longer.

The only game in the world that’s just as hard to lose as it is to win is Rock, Paper, Scissors.

When rich people play Monopoly, does it seem like work to them?

I’m absolutely certain that, in prison, murderers tease attempted murderers for not getting it right.

You have a favourite burner on your stove.  Admit it!  You know it’s true.

Adam Sandler isn’t actually funny, but he’s a nice guy and was on Saturday Night Live — so everybody gives him the benefit of the doubt.

When you throw a ball and your dog brings it back, it’s probably because they think you’re having fun throwing it.

And finally:

In the Old Norse religion, Odin (the leader of the Gods) promised to rid the world of Ice-Giants.  I’ve never seen an Ice-Giant, so that’s something to think about.

Some People Are …

People are wonderful creatures.  They come in infinite varieties, and just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they come up with something completely different and surprise you.  It’s no wonder so many psychiatrists need therapy.  I’ve studied people (informally) most of my life, and I’ve arrived at a few interesting conclusions.

Some people are not supposed to swear.  I’m not talking about nuns or like that; I’m talking about the folks who don’t get it right.  The ones who are trying way too hard to sound badass, and it just comes out weird.  It’s as if they saw the words in a book and looked up the pronunciation.  (Adding the final “g” is always a dead giveaway.)

Some people stink.  No, not poor personal hygiene — that’s different.  These are the folks who apply fragrance like it’s a contest.  The ones who leave that tinny taste in your mouth when they walk past you.

Some people can’t tell a good story.  They start off alright, but then they wander all over the place, trying to explain every detail.  So, what begins as a quick-and-dirty about getting caught in the cat-door fades away — finally — ten minutes later, somewhere in Michigan, riding in Uncle Benny’s green ’82 Pontiac.

Some people shouldn’t be allowed to drink.  Sad people, angry people, touchy/feely people, people who cry a lot, but mostly those people who have one glass of wine and act like they’re auditioning for a Seth Rogen movie.

Some people shouldn’t be parents.  We all know who those people are.

Some people work for the government.  These are the people who know all the rules, what documents you need and what forms you have to fill out, but they take a perverse pleasure in keeping all that information a secret for as long as possible.

Some people don’t own a mirror.  There’s no other logical explanation.  Why would anybody (who can see themselves) go out in public wearing an electric-pink angora sweater, matching hat, Daisy Duke short shorts and lumberjack work boots?

But my favourite is:

Some people aren’t all that smart.  This isn’t a problem; it’s just a fact.  The problem is the rest of us are too scared to mention it because of — uh — Stupid Shaming? — or some other such nonsense.  The result is the world is full of stupid people, running around saying and doing stupid stuff, and the rest of us all have to act like we don’t notice.

Originally written in 2017, and nope – nothing’s changed!