Sunday, June 16, 2019

Write On: You're Doing It Wrong (a House Special)

Have you been enjoying my various tales of yesteryear? I hope so.

I know my dad has. Here’s a comment he left after one of my Adventures in Leaving the House: “I so love your writing. Please consider writing more in an observation of life and its turns and faux pas.

Very sweet and supportive feedback to be sure. But given the struggles I’ve had lately with my books, it made me ask the question: Am I focusing on the wrong kind of writing? Should I ditch pretenses of “upmarket noir” and swing back to observational essays? After all, my reviews of bad movies were just a stylized and specific type of observational humor.

And it’s not like I don’t make those kind of observations anymore – I just haven’t been writing about them. Here’s one that hit me early one morning while I was sleepwalking through getting my daughters ready for school:

Rupert Holmes’ 1979 hit “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” 
is a catchy tune about fundamentally terrible people

(A Father’s Day Special)

Let’s take this thing apart and hope I don’t permanently ruin this song for my dad.

The song opens with that famous guitar and keyboard riff (chord? And is it both instruments? I’m crap with music) before Mr. Holmes singsplains some exposition:
I was tired of my lady, we’d been together too long
Like a worn-out recording, of a favorite song

Okay, so the guy is in a relationship that’s in a bit of a rut. It happens.

So while she lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed
And in the personal column, there was this letter I read

Oh, so instead of trying to shake things up or – heaven forbid – talk to his girlfriend, this guy is combing the personals for some side action. Classy.
“If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the raid
If you’re not into yoga, if you have a half a brain
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
I’m the love that you’ve looked for, write to me and escape.”

I have so many issues…
  1. I’m sorry, but Pina Coladas taste like shit. It's essentially a splash of rum mixed with a collection of the worst fruit items imaginable -- I'm surprised it doesn't also contain that crummy green melon restaurants use as fruit salad filler. A Pina Colada is alcohol for grown-ups who want everything to taste like it came out of a juice box. Also, the fact that you have to bury the booze in that much fruit tells you everything you need to know about what I think about the taste of rum.
  2. At the risk of sounding like your mother, weather reports are now accurate enough that there’s no possible reason to get caught in the rain these days. Grab a damn umbrella.
  3. I get that yoga had a bad rap back when this song was written. But coming from the generation that gave us hippies? Shut up.
  4. “If you have half a brain?” Based on this list so far, I don’t know if the writer of this personal ad is the best judge.
  5. Maybe my age is starting to show, but I don’t want to make love at midnight – I’m asleep by then. And “in the dunes of the cape”? Clearly the writer of this personal ad has never done any such thing, because they’d know you’d get sand everywhere. No thanks.

Let’s move on.
I didn’t think about my lady
I know that sounds kind of mean

Yes. Yes it does.
But me and my old lady, had fallen into the same old dull routine
So I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad
And though I'm nobody's poet, I thought it wasn't half bad

Also gross.
I’ll be the judge of that.
“Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne”

Gross tastes in beverages (oh stop, you may like the ceremony of celebrating with champagne but don’t pretend you like the actual taste of champagne, nobody likes that "I need to shave my tongue now" feeling only champagne provides) and an unwillingness to take care of himself... Darwinism at its best!

“I've got to meet you by tomorrow noon, and cut through all this red tape
At a bar called O'Malley's, where we'll plan our escape”

Yep, one personal ad and this guy is full steam ahead on the Infidelity Express. Also, I have to wonder if this escape they’re planning is literal. Is he going to literally run off with this random woman to drink crappy cocktails and have sex in sand pits? Because every aspect of that sounds terrible.
So I waited with high hopes, then she walked in the place
I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face
It was my own lovely lady…
… and she said, "Oh, it's you"
And we laughed for a moment, and I said, "I never knew"
"That you liked Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
And the feel of the ocean, and the taste of champagne
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
You're the love that I've looked for, come with me, and escape"

What? What? So to review: This couple is bored in their long-term relationship, they individually decide to step out on each other, only to discover they both share the same garbage tastes and never knew it? Ugh… At least they deserve each other.

 *   *   *

Next time at the House of Nolahn: Actual updates on my writing!

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