Today’s Musicology Lesson

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

I’m sure most of us have earworms running through our heads throughout the day. As I understand the word, it is those little snippets of music which supply mindless background music as you go about your daily routines. It could be the complete score of Les Miserables for the musically gifted or the first verse of My Gal’s a Corker if you are a musically-challenged bozo like me.

“My gal’s a what?” I hear you say. A corker, it’s from that grand old song ‘My gal’s a corker, she’s a New Yorker, I buy her everything to keep her in style’. Surely you remember that classic from the mid-50s. It was one of Mitch Miller’s singalong hits. Oh, you don’t know who Mitch Miller is or was. Never mind then, go back to sleep.

It isn’t the catchiness of the tune I find so interesting. It is the description of this moron’s girlfriend that I find so fascinating. ‘She has a pair of eyes just like two custard pies.’ Really, custard pies! ‘She’s got a pair of lips just like potato chips’ not very flattering you must admit, but I suppose a girl could live with that. However the lyrics go on and quite frankly they get downright insulting. Let us examine them closely.

Suppose sir, you are sitting with the girl of your dreams, or even your wife, and she looks into your bloodshot eyes and says, “My darling, what do you find so attractive about me you promised to forsake all others until death do us part?”

If you were sitting on the deck at the golf club and one of the fine gentlemen who spend hours there before they fall down the stairs was to say to you, ‘Oswald, old chap, how would you describe the girl of your dreams? What is it about Esmerelda that fills your heart with joy and causes your heart to palpitate and that other thing?”

Would you use the words from this classic song to answer? ‘You’ve got a pair of legs just like two whiskey kegs and when they knock together, oh what a sound.’ What about ‘You have a pair of hips just like two battleships.’

I suspect you would use neither. A woman is sensitive about the shape of her legs and suggesting her bum is something one might see chug-chugging away from the U.S. Navy docks in San Diego might not make her heart go pita pat. There is also a line later on in the song about her bulbous nose that you best stay away from – although I understand how she got it if she drinks her whiskey by the keg.

If you use any line from that song, I am afraid, sir, you will not be able to afford to buy her anything to keep her in style. Not after you have paid for the ambulance to take you to the hospital and then there will be the cost of the divorce. Not only that, I’m not sure the surgery required to remove the wedding and engagement ring for your poor beleaguered bottom is covered by the Ontario Health Plan or any other medical insurance program I am aware of.

I am afraid using the lyrics of a song to describe your love may not be advisable in every circumstance and failure to examine the words closely could lead to serious injury, possibly death. I am sure you remember a delightful column I wrote several years ago about our own Anne Murray’s ‘I’m going to sit right down and write myself a letter.’ The song was quite popular in its day and I earworm it quite often. (After humming it just now no doubt the damned thing will be rattling around in there for several more days.) However should you attempt to carry out the line ‘a lot of kisses on the bottom’ you should be advised that it could be seen as sexual assault should the person whose bottom you are attempting to kiss is not in the mood for such intimacy.

Some people, almost all loonies as I recall, were upset not too many years ago about the lyrics of Baby, It’s Cold Outside suggesting the words promote date rape, or at the very least, seduction. In actual fact the gentleman in the song knew the young lady did not have proper winter footwear and only wanted to protect her from chilblains or whatever women get from wading through a foot of snow in slip-ons or fashionable pumps. The man was only interested in the young lady’s welfare. Some people have dirty minds.

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