Sunday, March 20, 2005

Political and Culinary Faux Pas

I was returning from the City this evening, when I spied a woman on the train wearing a button with the strange device, "Out Troops Now!" I puzzled over this for some time. Was homosexuality in the armed forces still such a burning issue among the numerous folk who go about wearing buttons on their lapels and bumper stickers on their bums? And then I realized that the designer of the button had been rather lax in his design, and that the thought he'd meant to convey was, "Troops Out Now!" As in Iraq. "Oh," I told my immortal soul.

My commute today was productive, for it brought closure to a parody that had been nagging me for days. It all started with the London Times crossword puzzle a few days ago; one clue read:

Healthy congratulations (4, 3, 3)

The answer (not to keep you in suspense) was good for you. I'd never noticed that the phrase was ambiguous. A little more thought, and I saw that it was almost tri-guous, as in "If you know what's good for you." So I turned to a song that has always annoyed the living daylights out of me, Fred Ahlert's and Roy Turk's Mean to Me (of which there's a somewhat countrified midi here; it only fools around with the official melody a wee bit), since Mean to Me hinges on the two meanings of that phrase. The release, though, was giving me fits until this afternoon, when the ol' mass transit train worked its customary magic:

Well, good for you!
You're eating what's good for you;
Glue, sawdust and wood for you--
Commonly known as "muesli."
Eat it all up!

Shredded steel
Might offer more mouth-appeal;
Gosh, what a dis-gusting meal
(Using the "M" word loosely).

When Nature calls us
To swallow this Dreck,
Then peristalsis
Becomes a big pain in the neck.

How can you
Sit calmly and eat that goo?
You wouldn't, if you but knew
What was good for you.

Lyric © 2005 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

As for the doubtful rhymes, muesli/loosely and calls us/peristalsis, they're no worse than Turk's mean to me/seems to me, home/phone-alone and coldly/scold me. So sue me.

My lyrics are often criticized for being too high-falutin'. A just criticism from wise men of vast experience in show biz. But to dumb down my vocabulary would violate my Art. There's a deep and intractable anger in my soul that ours is a world in which there is peristalsis, and there is popular song, but there is no popular song about peristalsis. I hear you say, "But you can't put the word 'peristalsis' in a pop song lyric!"

The hell I can't!!


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