Because Life can only be lived a moment at a time.

Listen to the Music

Warning: The following column is rife with pop culture references. If you spend all of your free time listening to Vivaldi and reading the classics phone a friend or wait for my next post.

Back in the summer of our nation's bicentennial year everybody was movin' and groovin' to a cool song about death. But I'm not sure they realized it.

All our times have come
Here, but now they're gone
Seasons don't fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain
(We can be like they are)
Come on baby
(Don't fear the reaper)
Baby take my hand
(Don't fear the reaper)
We'll be able to fly
(Don't fear the reaper)
Baby I'm your man.
"Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult
(Donald Roeser)

I wondered back then how many of my friends listened to the lyrics. After all, once that cowbell kicked in all you wanted to do was roll down the windows and drive fast through a sparkling South Carolina night. (I assume my younger readers are familiar with this song only through Will Ferrell's brilliant sketch on "Saturday Night Live" in 2000.)

In a 1995 interview with College Music Journal Mr. Roeser said he was talking about eternal love, not suicide, but that's not the impression I got in 1976. It still isn't. 

Everyone has a list of irritants that's as unique as our personalities. One of mine is double-edged: I can't fully enjoy a song if I can't understand the lyrics and if I don't like the lyrics I can't enjoy the melody. (Okay, I do like "The Joker" by The Steve Miller Band even though he speaks "of the pompatus of love." There's an exception to every rule.)

This column came to mind as I listened to "Bang, Bang" by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj the other day. The opening, sung by Jessie J, reminds me of Beaker on "The Muppet Show," although I don't think Beaker ever went "bang, bang" on anyone. I watched the video to figure out who was singing the first lines. I admit I hoped it was Ariana Grande, because I wanted an excuse to bring up her penchant for doughnut licking. Oh, wait, I guess I just did...

Anyway, in the spirit of Casey Kasem, back to the countdown. "Independence Day" by Martina McBride seems to be regarded by many as a triumphant anthem:

Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is a
Day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay
It's Independence Day.
(Gretchen Peters)

The storyteller in the song is recalling the summer she was eight. She sings about how Mama escaped her abusive marriage by setting fire to the house with Daddy in it. The thing is, she renders herself extra crispy at the same time, leaving her daughter an orphan. Loretta Lynn wouldn't have done it that way. She would have sent hubby to Fist City and run off with her little girl to Nashville.    

And then there's my Grand Prize Winner for Most Annoying Song of All Time: "Imagine" by John Lennon.

I see you out there, your faces painted with stunned disbelief. "Imagine"? The inspirational song about peace and harmony?

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one.
(John Lennon)

Let's hold hands and sway around the campfire to that verse. But what about the others?

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace...

Oh, I get it. If only we could get rid of religion and the whole concept of an afterlife we'd be living for today, which brings the film The Purge to mind. I'm all for "Carpe diem," but I disagree with Mr. Lennon's contention that we'd be better off without eternity in mind. For me, it's the eternal that helps me keep the temporary in perspective.

As for getting rid of countries, "nothing to kill or die for," well, it might be considered backward or arrogant or rude these days, but I'm thankful to be an American. As a Christian I believe one day there won't be any borders or conflicts, but until then dictators and madmen will continue to spring up like weeds and work to subjugate their fellow man. And when they do others will rise to defeat them and people will die.

Sorry to leave you on such a low note. How about this instead, courtesy of the group "Walk the Moon"?

 "Don't you dare look back.
Just keep your eyes on me."
I said, "You're holding back, "
She said, "Shut up and dance with me!"
This woman is my destiny
She said, "Ooh-ooh-hoo,
Shut up and dance with me."
(Ben Berger and Ryan McMahon)

Staying Afloat

All you need is love