Ruminations on the crazy people we are, by a retired teacher/musician. Can't get the "requests" out of my system after years of barroom/lounge/restaurant/party gigs mining 100 years worth of the musical mother-lode.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Things Ain't What They Used To Be

"Things Ain't What They Used To Be,"among other things, was the title of a great Duke Ellington recording of the 1940's. Take my word for it, it was great, as was so much of what the Duke did. I never could figure out, however, what those words had to do with the tune. No matter; we know song titles, like rock band names are, as often as not,snatched out of the air like a Marcel Marceau butterfly.

The words, however, present a conundrum. They are often spoken by older folk in moments of longing for the "Good Old Days." So often, the "Good Old Days" never were so good; it's just that they are remembered by the ageing population as the days when they were young, and full of promise, which may or may not have been fulfilled.

But the conundrum remains: what if, as it happens, those old days were, in fact, better days. There are so many areas that provoke that question: literacy and the effectiveness of our educational system; standards of social discourse as governors of reasonable communication and reasonable argument; and finally, the T.Q, or Tolerance Quotient present in American society.

Grounds for probing examination,at the very least. We owe it to ourselves to be able to "keep score" on the society of which we are a contributing part. Required procedure: observe, and analyze.

"Things" may, or may not be, "what they used to be." They might even be better that what they used to be. But, damned be the human bein' who couldn't care less. You have to know, or at least think you know within the limits of your own lights, what "the score" is.

I'm reminded of a great movie that featured the song "We've Only Just Begun." A leading character kept saying, in a very New York-y/New Jersey-y manner: "So what's the story, Richie?" (I think it was Richie; insert any name you like.) We should be able to answer that question at any time.

So, "what's the story,............"

End of Ruminations for 4.15.06


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