Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bobbie Gentry Strikes Again

My mom says that while she was in the hospital, frequently groggy and dozing, and sometimes mighty wacky from the steroids, she became tormented by the song, "Ode to Billie Joe". Oh my gosh! I feel her pain! I've been attacked by that song in times of extreme stress, emotional frailty, and physical weakness. It it cruel and unusual and sticks in your brain like rubber cement. [And remember how jars of rubber cement had those built-in brushes?]I come from a long line of people who worry in the middle of the night if they can't remember all the Seven Deadly Sins, Santa's reindeer, the Disney dwarfs, and the weird names of my maternal great aunts. That is why I have little notes in my bathroom drawer, and probably why my dad always "carried his brains in his pocket". If insomnia provokes "the lion sleeps tonight" when I can't, I can go in the bathroom and look among the scraps of paper for my brain cues:
Malachite is a symbol/charm for balance.
Onyx is a symbol/charm for protection.
Jack Bruce was the third member of the supergroup Cream.
"The whole nine yards" refers to the length of machine gun ammo, not football.
Sloth, pride, anger, gluttony, covetousness, envy, and lust are the Seven Deadly Sins.
Uncompliant is a medical term for patients who ask a lot of questions.
The great aunts were named Loy, Effa Dale, Billy, Vin, and Alice June.
My grandfather's name for a meal concocted of leftovers, cold cuts, creepy miniature pickled ears of corn, herring, and sardines, was "catch-as-catch-can". William Safire explains that the term means "haphazard, unsystematic, hit-or-miss." Originally a sport wrestling term, it later had a sexual connotation.
The reindeers, of course, are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen, Comet, and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?
Should you need those lyrics to figure out what Billie Joe was throwing off the bridge, please click on In the meantime, just FYI, Wee-Mo-Whip is not a non-dairy whipped dessert topping.

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