Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Agony and the Ecstacy -- and the Agony

It's a dark, dark day, readers. And I don't mean because I'm tired of explaining to very rich people that if you make lots and lots of money, sooner or later you're going to have to pay taxes on it, even if there's a recession. No, something more important, and a lot worse, has transpired. I speak, of course, of SWINTON's narrow but heart-breaking loss in Fug Madness 2009. I mean, okay: I don't know anything about fashion or about pop culture, so I don't even know who this Aubry O'Day person is, but I know a goddess when I see one, and did you people (Not you people, readers. I'm sure all of you are far too refined to worry about Internet fashion contests. I mean, you all have uniformly refined tastes and wouldn't dream of, say, spending Sunday morning singing a Handel aria, then going home and spending the afternoon drinking cheap wine and watching multiple episodes of The Real Housewives of New York City and eating all your partner's Cheez-Its while he's out at the opera. You all have aesthetic consistency, right? I have no aesthetic consistency. Aesthetic consistency is the hobgoblin of narrow waistlines. Or something.) really just vote against Her Imperial Majesty Jadis, Queen of Narnia, Chatelaine of Cair Paravel, Empress of the Lone Islands?

In favor of this, um, individual?

Yeah, I bet there's a picture you never thought you'd see here. Nobody puts TED in the corner. Oh, God, my eyes! I'm sure when she went to get those implants her mother told her not to because "you'll put someone's eye out," but I doubt she knew just how right she was.

Seriously, who is this Aubrey person? All I can get from Google is that she broke up with someone named Danity Kane. So now I know that she dresses abysmally and was possibly at one time a lesbian. Not that there's anything wrong with that; after all, we all have our suspicions about Jadis, don't we?

Fortunately, that other, less important and less newsworthy, sporting event had a happier ending. The North Carolina Tar Heels beat up on, um, some team from the Midwest; as a result, I crushed the competition and walked away with a Benjamin and ten Andrews in the office pool.

Granted, $300 isn't going to buy Mom that operation or allow me to retire early, but it's unbudgeted income, and that means I get to spend it on anything I want! I'll probably send some of it to EFU so she can buy large quantities of chocolate for Easter, use some of it to buy YFU a couple of pairs of jeans, and spend the balance on something frivolous for myself.

Anyway, I was consoling myself for SWINTON's loss by fondling my winnings when I went downstairs for my daily (during tax season only, mind you) quad venti latte. I had just mentioned to the barista how nice the giant and brand spanking new espresso machines were when I heard this awful, awful noise. I listened more closely, and it was some horrid, slow, country cover of "Me and Bobby McGee," and I thought, why, oh why, would anyone listen to Janis' version and then turn around and record that?

I listened for as long as I could bear it, which wasn't all that long, and then I came back to my office and did some quick research and I discovered that what I had heard was almost certainly the original version by Roger Miller.

It was a difficult moment, the sort of moment that makes you question everything that you hold most dear. Imagine, if you will, that you're a young, intelligent, and faithful-but-open-minded seminarian working diligently towards your ordination sometime early in 1860 when a fellow student hands you a copy of On the Origin of the Species. It's kind of like that. It's not entirely impossible to reconcile Darwin with Biblical beliefs, and it's not entirely impossible to justify the concept of an ordered natural universe with a world where the original recording of "Me and Bobby McGee" is, well, lugubrious, but it certainly changes the way you look at things and makes you wonder whether there's anything you can really trust.

But after all the anger (and the denial, bargaining, and depression), one eventually finds acceptance. I can't be any happier about Roger Miller's recording being the first than a fundamentalist Christian can be about the true age of the universe, but I know that Janis recorded the unparalleled version very shortly before she died, and the Roger Miller version is a reminder that if she hadn't died, the passage of time (and all those drugs) would likely have brought her to a place where she'd have been recording an album of Abba covers. We have, at least, been spared that, so maybe the universe knows what it's doing, after all.

But if Aubrey O'Day ever covers "Ball and Chain," I won't be held responsible for my actions.

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