Friday, January 11, 2013

The Consequences Of ‘Dackie Do Doe Yalk!’

“What kind of stupid song is this?” Becky asked.

We were in a north side restaurant at a big table, five people having lunch. Someone else in the restaurant had played an old Cat Stevens song on the jukebox. For some reason, Becky had been listening to the lyrics rather than just enjoying the music.

“It’s Cat Stevens,” I said.

“Isn’t he a Muslim?” Nathan asked.

“I think he is,” I said. “But I don’t think this song has anything to do with religion.”

“It’s an insane song,” Becky said. “Losing his mouth? Losing his hands? Losing his legs? Who the hell writes songs about having your body hacked apart? And the music is like happy-happy-joy-joy music! What the fuck?”

I started to say something, but I was laughing too hard.

Sam said, “Remember when Cat Stevens was going out with Patti D’Arbinville? Then he wrote that song about seeing her dead and how beautiful she was in her casket, and she left him because she thought he was creepy and insane? Becky would be like Patti D’Arbinville. He’d be singing a love song to her and she’d be running out the door.”

“The name of this song,” I said, catching my breath, “is ‘Moonshadow.’ And I think Cat Stevens thinks this song is up-beat and cheerful.”

Nathan asked, “Was this on the album ‘Zenyatta Mondatta’?”

I was in danger of laughing too hard again, but I controlled myself.

“That’s a Police album,” I said.

Sam was laughing, too.

“The Cat Stevens album with the funny title was ‘Mona Bone Jakon,’” Sam said. “I don’t remember if this song came off that album, but that title was his nickname for his, you know, his penis.”

Becky shook her head. “This guy is a real singer? I mean, not a comedian?”

Becky’s expression of disgust was so extreme that for while we all tried to convince her that Cat Stevens was just a kind of relaxed, new age sort of folk singer and not a comic.

I don’t think she believed us.

But then the conversation turned to the topic of dumb album titles.

Becky said if she ever put out an album with a dumb title she’d call the album “Kitten Phone” because then she could put a photograph of herself on the cover holding a cute kitten to her ear like a phone and the title would be about a cold technical thing like a phone but the image itself would be all organic and warm so people would buy her album, she thought, for the cute cover and the neat cognitive dissonance.

I said I would use a literary quote for an album with a dumb title.

“If I ever put out an album with a dumb title,” I said, “I’d call it, ‘Dackie Do Doe Yalk!’”

Becky just looked at me. Ian, Nathan and Sam all shook their heads.

“That’s not a literary quote,” Sam said.

“It is,” I said.

“Go straight to hell,” Ian said. “I minored in literature. That’s not a quote.”

“It is,” I said, again. “You want to bet?”

Becky was already grabbing her phone from her purse.

So we made a bet. A can of Redbull if I was right, versus me paying for everybody’s lunch if I was wrong.

So I spelled the words for Becky and she did a search.

“Oh my God,” Becky said, scrolling through the search results. “Gore Vidal said that?”

I laughed, and shook my head.

“No, look at the title of the link,” I said. “And look at the other results.”

“Oh my God,” Becky said, again.

Ian, Nathan and Sam made her pass around her phone so they could see the search results.

Tarzan shrugged. "If you and mother had your way my nerves and muscles would have atrophied long since. They were given me to use and I intend using them—with discretion. Doubtless I shall be old and useless soon enough, and long enough, as it is."

A child burst suddenly from the bungalow, pursued by a perspiring governess, and raced to Meriem's side.

"Muwer," he cried, "Dackie doe? Dackie doe?"

"Let him come along," urged Tarzan.

"Dare!" exclaimed the boy, turning triumphantly upon the governess; "Dackie do doe yalk!"

Tarzan and the Ant Men
at Wikipedia

“Tarzan and the Ant Men,”
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
at Project Gutenberg

“Tarzan Revisited,”
by Gore Vidal
at Esquire

Becky laughed.

“Did you know that from the Tarzan book?” she asked. “Or did you know it from the Gore Vidal essay about Edgar Rice Burroughs?”

But Ian, Nathan and Sam weren’t listening. They were watching me call the waitress over to get a can of Redbull.

“I was sure we were going to get free food,” Nathan said. He looked at Ian. “You minored in lit! Dumb ass.”

Sam laughed.

“An unpublished real writer beats a painter who reads a lot,” Sam said.

Becky was still smiling. “No, really,” she asked. “Be honest. Did you actually read those Tarzan books, or did you just read everything Gore Vidal wrote?”

I asked, “Doesn’t matter for the bet, right?”

Becky shook her head. “No, they’ll still pay.”

I said, “I did read all the Tarzan books. But I don’t remember much of anything from them. I remembered the quote from the Gore Vidal essay. But that’s literature, too!”

Nathan was still looking at Ian. “You minored in lit! Dumb ass.”

The waitress brought me an open can of Redbull and a glass. I was looking at the glass as I poured, but I was paying attention to Becky’s face. She was looking at me with an expression that was, somehow, something like the opposite of the expression she had when she was listening to the Cat Stevens song.

I got more energy from that expression on Becky’s face than I did from the sugar and caffeine in the Redbull.

These days there’s a phrase I don’t get to say very often—in fact I probably say it less often than I say ‘Dackie do doe yalk!’—but when I get the chance to say the phrase, the words are the most wonderful words in the world to me: It’s good to be a writer.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Zenyatta Mondatta”
at Wikipedia

“Mona Bone Jakon”
at Wikipedia

at Wikipedia

“Lady D’Arbinville”
at Wikipedia

(Patti D’Arbinville has told other more
interesting accounts of her reaction
to the song than what is recounted
at Wikipedia.)


Writers Versus Painters By The Perfume River

Reduction Of The Muse

“A Most Excellent Philosophy”

No comments: