Inspiration from Books & Song Lyrics

Inspiration from Books & Song Lyrics

Here are some random observations about life. Richard Carlson has written Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work after his best seller Don’t Sweat the Croce Small Stuff. His second book has chapter headings that speak for themselves. They include "Remember to acknowledge, Stay focused in the now, Don’t be trapped by golden handcuffs, Accept the Fact That There’s Always Going to be Someone Mad at You, Before Becoming Defensive, Take Note of What is Being Said and Marvel At How Often Things Go right." You don’t have to read what follows to get the idea and the advice is solid.

The great comedian Steve Allen used to feature on his Steve Allen show a segment he would start by asking "Where have all the great poets gone?" He would answer that they are now writing lyrics to songs. Then he would read song titles or song lyrics that were so awful they were hilarious. But there is truth in the premise that song lyrics of today have, in part, replaced poety so popular yesterday. For example, Jimmy Buffett lyrics sometimes express ideas that are philosophical. Take his song He Went to Paris. His line "and twenty more years slipped away" is so true about the way time slips past us. He captures another truism about life in the lines "If he likes you he’ll smile then he’ll say Jimmy, some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic, But I’ve had a good life all the way." In his song Cowboy in the Jungle, Buffett offers this advice which we all should consider following:

"We’ve gotta roll with the punches
Learn to play all of our hunches
Makin’ the best of whatever comes your way
Forget that blind ambition
And learn to trust your intuition
Plowin’ straight ahead come what may
And there’s a cowboy in the jungle"

Harry Chapin, who died in a Long Island auto accident in 1981, wrote a song Circle with lyrics that summarizes my own experience with life:

It seems like I’ve been here before;
I can’t remember when;
But I have this funny feeling;
That we’ll all be together again.
No straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends;
There’s no clear-cut beginnings;
And so far no dead-ends.

Jim Croce was killed at age 30 in 1973 when he was in a plane that took off at night and snagged a tree at the end of the runway killing Croce and five others. He wrote the amusing lyrics in his song You Don’t Mess Around with Jim which has this very good common sense advice: "And ev’rybody say ‘Jack, don’t you know that You don’t tug on Superman’s cape; You don’t spit into the wind; You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger And you don’t mess around with Jim’" In his song A Better Place to Be he describes a barmaid as "a big old friendly girl" who saw how depressed a customer was: "She said, "I don’t want to bother you, Consider it’s understood.
I know I’m not no beauty queen, But I sure can listen good." That’s a gift we all need, the ability to "listen good."

But it’s Bob Dylan old lyrics from the song The Times They Are a Changing that Congress should listen to today:

"Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

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