Monday, May 24, 2004

Sing, sing a song

Yesterday I had an epiphany. I learned the correct lyrics to Billy Joel's song "You May Be Right".
I listened to this song a lot as a child; I am not sure why I liked it so much. Perhaps it was the glass smashing at the beginning of the song. Sound effect records were popular then, but I didn't have one. I did have the smashing glass from the beginning of this song and a robot singing "P.Y.T" on Michael Jackson's Thriller. Maybe that is why I liked this song. Maybe it was because he said "But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for." Emphasis on loooonatic. Crazy people were popular then, and I didn't have one of those either.
Nonetheless, I liked this song. I played it over and over on my record player. I had the one that looks like it is covered in denim (I believe that E.T. used the same record player to make his phone). There was one lyric I always sung wrong:

I've been stranded in the combat zone
I walked the Bedford Stuy alone

I always sang:
I've been stranded in the combat zone
I went to bed with Sly Stallone

I didn't do this to be funny; this is just what I thought he was singing. Yesterday I heard the song for the first time in years, and I sang along. After singing that verse I suddenly realized that it couldn't be right. Billy Joel never went to bed with Sly Stallone! Frank Stallone, maybe. But, never Sly. Weird.
I never realized how strange the lyrics I sung were, but my lyrics weren't the strangest I heard that day:

Cecillia by Paul Simon (To listen to this verse click here)

Making love in the afternoon with Cecilia,
Up in my bedroom, making love
I got up to wash my face
When I come back to bed
Someone's taken my place

Let’s analyze that. He is in his bedroom, and he is making love with Cecillia. Makes sense so far.
He gets up to wash his face. OK, I'm lost now. He's making love, and he stops to wash his face? How did that happen! What did he say?

Paul: Hold on a sec Cecillia. I have to go wash my face.
Cecillia: You have to do what???
Paul: Wash my face. I have very sensitive skin. I may exfoliate my skin as well. Especially around the chin. I'll just be a minute.

It makes no sense, but let’s go on. So Paul goes in and washes his face. We he comes back someone has TAKEN HIS PLACE.
WHAT! So Cecillia is now making love with someone ELSE? That is absurd!
Paul was washing his FACE. This act could not have taken more than a minute. I have seen Paul Simon's face; it is very small and tidy. Perhaps if Michael Moore was singing the song, a thirty minute face washing would make sense. Michael would have to scour the beard and in between each fold in the neck. I am sure he would have a project on his hands, maybe uncovering appetizers from the Golden Globes after party from '01. But Paul Simon? This is a 60 second scrub, even if he has to get a washcloth from the closet and open a new bar of Zest.
So, a minute later he comes back and someone has "taken HIS place". In HIS bedroom. WHAT? Who is this guy? How did he get into Paul's house? Did Paul lock the door? Did Cecillia have him on stand by? Did she mistake 'wash my face' to mean 'go to the DMV to get a new driver's license?' How could she possibly think she could get away with this chicanery?
Paul, your story doesn't make sense. I bet you never even met Cecillia. I bet the original lyrics were:

Eating Lunch in the afternoon, by myself,
Up in my bedroom, eating lunch
I got up to wash my face
When I came back to bed
I sat on my plate


  1. Maybe Garfunkle took his place. Seems like the only alternative if we don't think Simon is lying. Which, I do by the way. I wouldn't trust PS as far as I could through him. (Which is actually pretty far considering how little he is, so perhaps it's a bad analogy.)

  2. Hmmm. The theory that Art took his place is mildly plausible. But how could he see Art over the potato chips?*

    *obscure reference alert! This is a variation of a line from the Clint Eastwood film "True Crime".

  3. Anonymous5/25/2005

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