On What I Do Best

So, I wondered to myself recently, what is the tell-tale sign that we’ve stopped writing about dystopias and are instead living in one?

Just a random thought.

Have you ever looked at your life skills, or lack thereof, and thought, “I would be absolutely useless in a Mad-Max-style global apocalypse”? I know it’s not just me.

Well, with the Current Situation, we are about to find out.

All over the social media universe, introverted home-workers posted something similar to this:

Staying away from crowds, keeping a healthy distance from strangers, and not leaving home? I have been preparing for this my whole life. Plus I can write you a “how to work from home” article in 20 minutes. This is the apocalypse I was born for.

But staying at home and not interacting with other people are not the limits of my current superpowers. As the media coverage of this whole Coronavirus “situation” started to ramp up, inevitably the major news story on my feed concerned Weird Al Jankowic. Apparently, Al’s fans have been suggesting he should put out a single called “My Corona”.

Al said no.

Weird Al is at the top of the mountain of people-who-make-up-lyrics-to-famous-songs. It’s a habit I have personally had since childhood. First, I would memorize lyrics to hit songs – not deliberately; that would be way too much like hard work. My memory would just love song lyrics. I respond to a good rhyme. I respond just as strongly to a bad rhyme.

It’s not my fault; I was just drawn that way.

Once I had the lyric in my head, I would change it to a “better” version. Or a funnier version. Or just add random words that worked in the scansion of the music.

And, as this “skill” really kicked in during my adolescent years, I’m sorry but this is going to briefly descend into the puerile and coarse.

So, this was a major realization from my adolescence. If you take the lyrics to “My Girl” and, whenever you should sing “my girl” you sing “wanking” instead, the song continues to work.

It continues to scan, and it continues to make sense.

This made the adolescent me very very happy. And, I can no longer listen to “My Girl.” Or at least, I can’t listen to it in polite company, because I am very much a sing-along-with-a song kind of guy.

And this habit – of swapping song lyrics – has followed me through my life. My current habits include “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”.

You painted up your lips
And rolled and curled your facial hair.
Ruby are you contemplating
Dressing as a bear?

I mean, it’s not Weird Al level…but if he wants an apprentice, I am available.

(After I wrote this post, but on the day it posted, Kenny Rogers died. RIP, you magnificent bearded man.)

It doesn’t help that my wife has basically the same habit, although all her songs end up being about monkeys. Maybe she’s gearing up to create some kind of primate-based concept album. I hope so; it would be awesome.

In this time of national emergency, I am not stepping up to fill Weird Al’s massive shoes to give the nation what it’s clearly craving: a My Corona for the ages. It’s more like, my brain is already working on the lyrics, whether I want it to or not.

By the time this quarantine is over, I could have a whole album.

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