Sunday, November 18, 2007

Shoot The Piano Player

I was shopping at my local Goodwill yesterday when Billy Joel's "The Piano Man" started blaring over the sound system. In my younger days, my ears may have actually enjoyed the intrusion. Back then, I was huge Billy Joel fan, buying most of his albums--note that I said albums and not CD's--and tickets to his many performances at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Now, however, listening to a Billy Joel recording makes me want to get drunk and drive recklessly into storefronts. (Oh wait, that's what Billy does when he listens to his own music.)

But Philly still loves Billy, so it is impossible to be in a retail environment anywhere in the Delaware Valley for more that ten minutes without hearing one of his many annoying hits. (Go ahead I dare you to try to get "Allentown" out of your head now that I've mentioned the song.)

For some unknown reason, as I browsed through the racks of previously worn jeans, I was able able to ignore the tune and pay special attention to the "Piano Man" lyrics. Within minutes, I was enraged. This was strange considering how many times of I've heard this "classic" but, until that moment, I had never realized what a pathetic, sniveling group of losers he's been warbling about all these years. (Sure, the phrase "making love to his tonic and gin" has always annoyed me. For one reason, it should be "gin and tonic" not "tonic and gin." I suspect it was switched merely to make a rhyme. But, mostly, as a big fan of gin and tonics, the idea of some old man making love to a perfectly good cocktail makes me a little uneasy...or is that queasy...or is that unqueasy?)

It could have been the PMS, but I just wanted to go all Dr. Phil on their asses.
Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he's quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there's someplace that he'd rather be
He says, Bill, I believe this is killing me.
As the smile ran away from his face
Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place
Oh, please! John is a classic underachiever who wears his victimhood the way Boy Scouts wear merit badges. If you want to "get out of this place," John, then just walk out the door. I hear there's a bus leaving for Hollywood in ten minutes. Go to Los Angeles. Get a job as a bartender. Of course, you'll have to learn how to make a gin and tonic rather than a tonic and gin, but you'll adjust. So, stop your whining.

The piano man, it appears, is a classic enabler who would rather collect his free drinks than give his so-called friend harsh, but necessary, life-changing advice. Besides, if John the bartender decides to chase his dream, then the piano man has no excuse to not chase his. They would rather stay put and have a pity party then slug in out with the big boys and risk rejection in their desired profession.
Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he's talkin' with Davy who's still in the navy
And probably will be for life
Paul's gay! (Not that there's anything wrong with it.) What man doesn't have time for a wife? And Davey's gay too! Otherwise he'd be hanging out with his navy buddies instead of with some pathetic real estate novelist at a bar where the piano guy won't shut up. What the hell is a real estate novelist anyway? It sounds like a profession you make up when you're trying to pick up a strange gay guy.
And the waitress is practicing politics
I don't even know what that means. Is she crazy? Does she think every booth in the bar is a voting booth? "We have Sam Adams on tap and please vote Yes on Proposition 24."

Then, it hit me. I was feeling superior to a bunch of fictional characters while the real-life me was shopping at, of all places, Goodwill. Okay, who's the loser now? Well, at least I'm not bitching about my situation and I bought a brand new pair of Nike sneakers for six bucks.

In fact, we were all pretty happy at America's favorite thrift store chain even though we were sharing a shopping experience called loneliness. But it's better than shopping alone.

La la la de de da.

La La de de da da da.


tyoung said...

I am so torn..I understand and agree with what you're saying...but I still heart Billy Joel.

Liz said...

Sounds like major PMSing to me.

Leighann Lord said...

Don't hate me, but I still love the song. Congrats on the Nike's!