Saturday, July 12, 2008


When Your Memory Does Not Jive With History

I liked the Talking Heads song, Life During Wartime, a lot when it came out. I was in law school at the time. We used to sing a few lines of it with modest changes. Original--"Why stay in college? Why go to night school? Gonna be different this time?" We'd sing:

Why stay in college? Why go to law school? etc.
Such was the mad cap, non-stop wackiness that made up my life at the time. But here's the weird part--what I remember of some other lines in the song.

Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, PA?
You ought to know not to stand by the window,
Somebody blow you away.

See how that scans and rhymes? 'PA' and 'away'? Excellent.

Here are the real lyrics:

Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh PA?
You ought to know not to stand by the window,
Somebody might see you up there.

Now it doesn't scan; and do 'PA' and 'there' rhyme? Do they even make a sight rhyme. NO. They don't. Neither one. Nearly all the rest of the verses rhyme (some are merely close). Why not this one?

And why do I have a different memory than the recording? It's either a world wide conspiracy or I have a faulty memory (albeit a better rhyming, cutting edge one). Neither alternative is that satisfying to me.

Just thought I'd get that off my chest.

This ain't no party; this ain't no disco; this ain't no fooling around. This ain't no mudd club, or C. B. G. B. I ain't got time for that now.

Life during wartime indeed.



I was thinking about this song which I always liked but which somehow fell into a category of songs to which I limited my access when our country really went to war. Nevertheless, when I think about some of the lyrics, they are appropos:

"Trouble in transit,
Got through the roadblock,
We blended in with crowd.
We got computers,
We're tapping phonlines,
I know that ain't allowed...

My chest is aching,
Burns like a furnace,
The burning keeps me alive.
Try to saty healthy,
Physical fitness,
Don't want catch no disease.
Try to be careful,
Don't take no chances,
You better watch what you say."

It's a good song.
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