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?

My Sympathies!

There are tons of people in this world I truly feel sorry for — and not just the usual suspects, either.  I feel sorry for those folks who never get to ride the sympathy train — people, who, for one reason or another, have been neglected by the caring/sharing 21st century.  For example, nobody ever feels sorry for Mark Zuckerberg, but can you imagine how disheartening it must be to wake up every morning and realize you’re still Mark Zuckerberg?  See what I mean?  Anyway, here are just a few folks I feel sorry for – and why!

I feel sorry for atheists because…

They have nothing to say when somebody sneezes.
They have nothing to scream when they’re having great sex.
And they have no one to appeal to when they’re scared shitless.

I feel sorry for rich people because…

When you can buy whatever you want, whenever you want, Christmas and birthdays must be a total disappointment.
They never get super-psyched when they find money under the cushions of the sofa or in a pair of old jeans they were going to give to charity.
They never get to sit around and imagine how cool it would be to win the lottery.

I feel sorry for joggers because…

They have to go outside in the cold, the wind, the rain and all kinds of crappy weather — when sensible people have just said, “To hell with it” and curled up with a good book.
They must spend hours and hours trying to figure out how to work jogging into every conceivable conversation.
They’re the ones who always find the dead bodies.

I feel sorry for Californians because…

When people want to sound brainless, they always fake that “whatever” Valley Girl accent.
Half their state is asphalt and the other half is on fire — so how much fun can that be?
One of these days, a massive earthquake is going to come along and kill them all.

I feel sorry for sensitive men because…

Even though all the girls tell the world that you’re exactly the kinda guy they’re looking for, chances are good that the minute some bad boy comes along, you’re going to get dumped into the “friend zone.”
Every time your girlfriend says “What are you thinking?” you’ve got to scramble to come up with something — even though the only thing playing in your head is Vader’s Theme from Star Wars!
You have to spend your entire life pretending that you forgot you have testosterone.

I feel sorry for the British Royal Family because…

They always have be in a good mood and never get to just lose it and start swearing at strangers who annoy them.
They can never excuse themselves to go to the toilet.  They have to hold it – sometimes for hours.
Every moron in the world can criticize them, call them names and say they’re useless — and they can’t do anything about it.

I feel sorry for millennials because…

They have to use words like “re-gifting” and “tasking” and “self-care” — which make them all sound like complete idiots.
It must be very discouraging to spend every day rediscovering that you’re not the centre of the universe.
All the other generations think they’re assholes.

But mostly:

I feel sorry for smart people because…

They have to work twice as hard as everybody else to find an interesting movie on Netflix.
They actually understand how totally screwed the world really is.
They have to start a blog to find other smart people to talk to.

I Miss Ordinary

I love the 21st century.  I love it that I can talk to people all over the world.  I love that my Japanese car was built in France — from Polish parts.  I love Google and Wikipedia.  I love the one-click universe.  I love it that, when I order a pizza, it gets to my house faster than the cops can.  Well, maybe not that so much … but … I do think it’s cool that the person at the other end of the telephone is thousands of kilometres away, but she instantly knows my name and remembers I want extra garlic.  The point is I love all the bells and whistles this century has to offer … but … there is one serious drawback.  You can’t get regular stuff anymore.  Ordinary is just not available.  Here are a few examples:

Telephones — I have no idea what half the stuff on my telephone does.  I touch the wrong icon, and suddenly I’ve got a live-stream street scene from a village in Bhutan.  If they made an ordinary telephone that just made telephone calls, every old person on this planet would buy one.

Water — Last time I checked, there were at least a dozen different brands of water for sale.  People!  It’s water!  The only choice you’re actually making is the shape of the plastic bottle.

Ice Cream — What ever happened to Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry?  Do we really need Mungo Jerry Berry?  Wasabi?  Bacon?  This isn’t ice cream, folks!  It’s some kind of mutant milk product, foisted on an unsuspecting public who think they’re getting something other than a lethal dose of chemical flavouring.

Coffee — It’s impossible to do that many different things to a beverage.

Toothpaste — Every brand from Aquafresh to Sensodyne has a least 8 different versions, four different flavours and any number of different purposes.  You can have cavity control, tartar control, bad breath control or holy-hell-that-hurts control.  In the age of bone graft implants, you would think dentistry could come up with a single brush-your-teeth-after-every-meal toothpaste.

Milk – When I was a kid, milk came in a bottle, to the door.  (It was originally from a cow.)  Today, if I want something to sog up cereal, I have to go on safari and hunt through the forest of Soy, Oat, Almond, Quinoa (Quinoa?) and God only knows what else to find … OMG! there’s still Skim, 1%, 3%, Lactose Intolerant, Lactose Added, Lactose Is The Enemy– and that stuff  isn’t even a liquid!  No wonder we all eat breakfast bars!

And finally:

Cars — The only purpose of the automobile is to go where you want it to go, stop where you want it to stop and go backwards if you went too far.  That’s it.  Cut out all the other crap — like power windows, heated seats, 3 surveillance cameras, 9 cup holders and a video uplink to the Mars Rover — and you could make an ordinary car that ordinary people could afford.  Plus, you could probably power it with your brother-in-law’s electric lawnmower motor.