Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll thinks someone or other is GETTING THE WORDS WRONG. She writes:

Once when our son was 6 or 7, Joe, who was not yet Max the Novelist, was taking him on an outing when seemingly out of the blue our beautiful curly-haired boy asked, “Why would anyone need a Jew?” Say what? Did someone at school say something anti-Semitic to him that we needed to get all fired up about?

Uh, no, thank God. A song by the late Randy VanWarmer, had come on the car radio with the refrain, “Youuuuu left me. Just when I needed you most.” Which, when sung, sounds exactly like “need a Jew most.” Go ahead, try it yourself. Crisis averted. No need to get 15 FBI agents involved like with the horrific NASCAR Noose Non-Incident.

Our son was certainly not the first person in the family to get lyrics wrong. The first time I heard the Beatles song “Norwegian Wood,” I thought they said, “So I licked her thigh. Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?” I did not think it odd that thigh-licking could lead fairly quickly to some kind of wood, but it still sounded like a strange and daring lyric for 1965. Thankfully, Cardi B’s grotesque warbled porn was still over half a century into our dystopian future.

Making sense of what the Beatles were saying was further complicated by the fact that in the lyrics, the woman involved had apparently gotten up and gone to work, leaving our protagonist alone. But such were the wasted hours of a lovesick college sophomore who preferred deciphering lyrics to reading “Village en Vaucluse” in French or writing an Art History paper on Mary Cassatt. Remember, there was no Internet yet. To catch the lyrics you had to just keep playing the song over and over on your turntable! Oh, the humanity!

(Actual misheard words in the song: “And when I awoke, I was alone. This bird had flown. So I lit a fire. Isn’t it good Norwegian wood? “Lit a fire” – “Licked her thigh” – you say potato, I say potahto.)

And then, of course, there was Manfred Mann’s big hit “Blinded by the Light” in which we all – every last one of us! — wondered how someone could be “wrapped up like a douche.” Huh?

The lyrics – written by Bruce Springsteen, as it happens — are “Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.” And the “deuce” is a car, also lauded in “My Little Deuce Coupe.” Okay. I’m not a motorhead and anyway, the singer clearly says “douche.” I was not yet a Geezer-American, and my hearing was just fine, thank you.

Words are important things, it turns out. Conservatives have allowed the Left to hijack many words. This would not be a tragedy except for the fact that defining the terms also frames the conversation. When I look at a movie’s description on Netflix and elsewhere, it will list such words as “sex, nudity, and LANGUAGE.” Language? Well, thank God! I don’t want to watch a silent movie, no matter how great Buster Keaton was. It may seem like a quibble, but now “language” only means “naughty” language. They have also ruined “adult.”

“Adult” entertainment no longer simply means a movie with serious themes too disturbing for children like The Notebook or Schindler’s List or Glory. And I can prove it.

When I was trying to market myself as a comedian back in the day in suburban St. Paul, I once thought it might be a good idea to take a small, inexpensive ad in the Yellow Pages. So I wrote some copy, whose exact words I no longer remember, but they went something like this: “Professional comedian for your next event, whether personal or corporate, twenty years of experience, dealing with humorous adult themes like marriage, raising kids, work issues, weight loss and the like.” Seemed clear enough.

So it goes without saying that the geniuses who organized the Yellow Pages ads put me in a section called “Adult Entertainment” You can already see where this is going, can’t you? And at all hours of the day and night, two kinds of people called. First, young women asking me if I was hiring “exotic dancers” and, second, MEN of the icky variety seeking hookers.

These men were almost, but not quite, all non-white, including many Mexicans, perhaps in town for work, and many Middle Eastern men. They would leave messages on my answering machine like the following: “Yes. My name is Abdul. Here is my number but please be discreet when you call back because I am married.” Or: “My name is Jose and I am in a motel in Eagan, room 309.” It made me crazy when they would call very late, but mostly it just made me sad about the sheer number of men seeking random sex in the time of AIDS.

The funniest one, which I used to play at parties, was from a youngish white guy who, the whole time he was leaving the message, was looking in his couch cushions, wallet and piggy bank for more money, hoping to be able to afford some of the more expensive ideas he had in mind. My primitive answering machine tape ran out before he could find the coin even for a brief phone chat with Anthony Wiener.

I was sorely tempted to go to that motel in Eagan, set up my microphone, do my act for 40 minutes and say, “Thank you very much. You’ve been a great, if somewhat stunned, audience. My corporate rate is $4,000. But I will give you the friends and family discount of $3,000. Do you have a VISA? Don’t forget to tip your waitresses.” But I could never disappoint someone that badly. I mean, my act was pretty good, but not at all what poor Jose would have been expecting. This went on for at least three years. True, they replaced the Yellow Pages every year and NO, I most definitely did NOT want to renew my ad, but many budget motels clearly still had the old versions.

Others have noticed the profound differences between a “mostly peaceful demonstration” with arson and looting and an armed “insurrection” without any arms. But perhaps my favorite is “pounce.” When a Republican has messed up, naturally, well-meaning Democrats are compelled by conscience to “ask questions.” But, when a Democrat wades into deep doo-doo, Republicans just rudely POUNCE. Just lying in wait 24/7 for some teeny mistake like leaving 90 billion dollars’ worth of war materiel to the enemy, and then it’s POUNCE, POUNCE, POUNCE!

IF ONLY. We need some Marines to give the Republican squishes real pouncing lessons.