David Rodeback's Blog
Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Sunday, August 25, 2013
I (Re)write the Songs
Do you believe in "better late than never"? Today I'll assume you do. Though a few weeks have passed, one recent caper among the Utah Mormons still retains its full power to make me laugh. (Yes, I know: It's also rather sad.)
Once upon time, not very far away and not very long ago, something happened in church. It was just as I was disappearing into a busy July, where a wedding, a business trip abroad, and other adventures kept me from blogging about it in a timely manner. But better late than never.
I was not where it happened. The scene of our story was a congregation of my co-religionists located 70 or so miles north of the pew I occupy for a while most Sunday mornings.
I realize I haven't described what happened. I'll get to that in my own way in a minute. First, here's a news story about it, in case you didn't hear the tale and therefore suspect that I'm making it up.
You can't make this stuff up. Or, as Winston Churchill might have said it, this is the sort of stuff, up with which you cannot make.
Meanwhile, a few days before this story hit the news, I was visiting the home where I spent my not-entirely-misspent youth. In a box in the basement I found a few old Barry Manilow cassettes. They were mine, I blush to confess. Here I should explain that, while I was away on an LDS mission about three decades ago, roughly in the general direction of -- but not quite as far away as -- the Bermuda Triangle (i.e. in Pittsburgh), my younger brother wore out most of my music tapes, including, as it turns out, most of these Barry Manilow albums.
Sorry, Jon Rodeback of Derwood, Maryland. It just sort of slipped out. I guess we're even now.
Getting back to my tale, I decided I was ready to take a chance again, after 29 years. I listened to the newly-recovered Barry Manilow tapes once each, to see if they were worn out or worth giving to the local thrift store. Only the bad one was intact. But that's not really my point.
One evening in early July, after a few days of listening to the old songs during my short commute, I was somewhere down the road when I heard the aforementioned news story. The next morning, just after daybreak, the following formed in my head, as I drove to my office. I wrote it all down on my lunch break, tweaked it a little, showed it to a colleague, who laughed and said something about YouTube, then took it home to read to my family over dinner. I bought "Copacabana" from iTunes, played it for them, then read -- not sang -- my masterpiece aloud.
They love me well enough, I guess, and there was some polite laughter, but none of my family thinks it's a miracle.
But you have a mind of your own, right? Even if you're just one voice singing in the darkness, try vocalizing this cautionary tale to the tune of "Copacabana," a.k.a. "At the Copa." I call it . . .
That's it for now. I'm sorry if some Barry Manilow tune's now stuck in your head . . . but not that sorry.
Next time, maybe we'll talk about Air Supply. What are the chances, I wonder.
For now, sweet dreams.
Copyright 2013 by David Rodeback.