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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

baby music

mr nice guy has taken to serenading his unborn squid. the ears are in place and the little alien can probably hear by now, so what better way to bond with it than by playing a little music to it? so most nights, as mrs nice guy drifts off to sleep, her devoted husband whips out his cherished guitar and strums a few chords of ... murder ballads.

here are some of the more popular old-timey ditties at the nice guy home. these are the totally inappropriate songs that babysquid nice guy seems to find the most soothing:

john hardy was a desperate little man by the carter family. this is a lovely little tune about, well, a desperate little man who shoots some dude on a west virginia train. later, while blind drunk in a saloon, The Law takes him by the arm and leads him to death row. while waiting to be hanged, he is visited by his two women. one says she always was true to her john hardy; the other says she would rather see him dead. the baby loves this song. if it's a boy, maybe we should name it john hardy.

boomer's story, a traditional tune most notably recorded by ry cooder. another cautionary tale about those ramblin' ways. boomer, a young man who is taken with the hobo life, meets a gal in san francisco and marries her. he promises her that his ramblin' days are done and it's time to settle down. but. then he hears that train whistle and wouldn't you know it, he ditches her at the station. at the end of his life he realizes that he's been everywhere and now he has nowhere to go. so before he hops on that train to the everafter, he asks us to bury him beside the tracks so he can always hear the trains go by. healthy, right? maybe if it's a boy we should name it boomer.

good night irene, by the inimitable leadbelly. you only think you know this song. seriously, have you ever peeped the lyrics to this one? it's not what you remember. the singer is a married man, smitten with irene -- who just happens to be an underage girl. her mother forbids the gentleman from comin' a-courting. but this doesn't stop our friendly neighborhood humbert, who is haunted by dreams and visions of irene. he contemplates drowning himself in the river but decides instead to drown himself in the hooch. he gambles. he rambles. he is told to go back to his wife and kids, but instead says if he can't have irene, the frustrated pedophile will kill himself with an overdose of morphine. maybe if it's a girl we should name her irene.

single girl, married girl, also by the carter family. this is a mrs nice guy favorite. it should probably trouble mr nice guy that his wife seems to take such bitter delight in this song. it's a simple ditty that compares the lives of two "girls" -- one single, the other married. the single girl is a hipster, dressed real purty like. the married girl just puts on any old rags. as the single girl goes shopping, the married girl stays at home, weeping piteous tears as she rocks the cradle. while the single girl flits about, footloose on the town, the married girl is stuck at home, pinned down by the terrible weight of the baby on her knee. the wee squid inside mrs nice guy isn't sure what to make of this one. but i play it anyway. over and over. gotta keep them on their toes from day one, right?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You = funny

This presents a problem however in that the majority of my blog reading is done at work where it is growing increasingly difficult to explain the frequent guffaws issuing from my cube. (If I knew you better, or at all, I'd make another joke about explaining to the janitor all the pee-stained pants I leave around after reading your posts, but I'll leave that for after formal introductions.)

Thanks for entertaining us faceless masses! And to think, I drove through Brooklyn today. Maybe I saw you and didn't know it. Sorry about cutting you off. I was late to work.


1/11/2005 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Mater Nice Guy, checking in) Hummmm, Humbert and Irene, what a concept. What would Lolita think? Lucky for you, it's all lullabyes to the wee one at this point. Now don't go and start reading original versions of the children's tales.

1/12/2005 12:15 AM  

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