Friday, April 10, 2009

I specialize in Pratfalls

From the title of my blog, you'd never know I have/had/am in recovery from an eating disorder. There's very little about the design of my blog that indicates I wage daily guerrilla warfare with my goofed-up brain. The title of my blog, in particular, is a little bit cryptic.

So why "Pratfalls?" In short, it's because Harry Chapin was incredible at being a singer-songwriter and at being a Good Human Being. His epic "story songs" were too long to get much commercial radio play in the 1970s and 1980s. It's unfortunate because many of them are masterpieces. Besides his talent, he was committed to resolving hunger and achieving social justice - near the end of his life, about half of his concerts were benefits. He wasn't a perfect person, but he worked hard for what he believed in. My mother saw him in concert twice. Since his death - he was, tragically, a really shitty driver - his family and friends have continued his efforts to eradicate hunger in the US. You can learn more about him (and I hope you will) here, here, and here. They're not the most sophisticated of websites, but ah well.

So about Pratfalls - one of my favorite songs is Chapin's "Laugh Man." It's catchy and upbeat, but the lyrics provide a deeper emotional pull that's characteristic of his work. Here I present to you the lyrics of the song that gave my blog a name:

Did you ever hear the one about...

Oh, God I love myself
When I've got it on
I know I'll live forever babe
All my fears are gone

Then suddenly I'm dying
They turned the laugh track off
I'm drowning in the silence
Crucified by coughs

Oh, I am the laugh man
Half clown and half man
Half out and half in, oh mister can't you see?
I'm s'posed to leave you laughing, so why don't you laugh at me?

I started out by starvin'
Desperate for money
My belly crackin' dirty jokes
That didn't come out funny
My neck stuck out so far
Like a gawky giraffe
Screamin' on a guillotine
"Come on, sucker, laugh!"

I am the guy who always catches the pie
I specialize in pratfalls
I am the goon who flashes the moon
A mouse in a house of catcalls

I'm your jester your juggler
Your joker your friend
I'm nothing more or less
Than a horse's nether end!

My ego is a bubble
That I realize just broke
And alone without a microphone
My real life's a joke

Did you ever hear the one about...

It still makes me sad to know that I'll never get to hear him play.

1 comment:

lisalisa said...

wow- i really like the last verse, that starts with "my ego is a bubble" -very cool! I dont think i have ever heard anything by Harry Chapin, or if i did, i didnt know it. I will have to look him up!