Dave Simpson: Hey Baby, They’re Playin’ Our Song

Columnist Dave Simpson writes: "As Merle Haggard sang, we're 'rollin' downhill like a snowball headed for Hell.'"

Dave Simpson

March 30, 20215 min read

Dave Simpson headshot

The Shirelles probably said it best:

“Mama said there’d be days like this.”

But, mama didn’t say those days might last for years. Or decades. And, as the Supremes lamented, “There ain’t nothin’ I can do about it.”

I was a few steps ahead of the posse when it came to overindulging in the news. Newspapers, TV, talk radio – I said I could kick the current events habit any time I wanted, but a family intervention was a real possibility.

What did they expect from an old reporter? But, with the proliferation of all-news stations, talk radio and social media, it can get out of hand. So I decided it was time to get the breaking news monkey off my back.

A conservative friend said folks like us are simply exhausted by the fight. It’s the full-court press from the Democrats, who are determined to spend us into oblivion, add two states, open our borders, pack the supreme court, kill the filibuster, and cement a permanent majority. And our side is feckless, incapable of stopping the runaway liberal train. (Never have the words, ‘It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to,” been more appropriate.)

As Merle Haggard sang, we’re “rollin’ downhill like a snowball headed for Hell.”

So maybe it’s time to check out for a while. As Eddy Arnold sang, “Make the world go away. Get it off my shoulders.”

So I fired up the oldies stations on the satellite radio in my pickup, and I’ve replaced most of the news I was consuming with blissful, mindless nostalgia. Much of the time these days, I’m back in high school. And to quote those great 1960s philosophers Herman’s Hermits,  I think “I’m into something good.”

“Matty told Hattie,” Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs told us, “about a thing she saw. Had two big horns and a woolly jaw. Woolly Bully!” How’s that for getting the world off your shoulders? Feeling any better yet?

Where did Betty meet the Leader of the Pack, you ask?

“I met him at the candy store.”

 Obviously. Who could forget?

A liberal reporter friend who covered politics told me that no matter how hard we try, Republicans can’t dance. Can’t loosen up enough. Or our rock ribs get in the way. He may be right.

But, we can sometimes get jiggy, and turn the volume way up when “Do the Mashed Potato” comes on the radio.

One of the best songs of my formative years was “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys, which featured two of the most gloriously frisky lyrics of the late 1960s: “She’s givin’ me the excitations,” and, “I don’t know where, but she sends me there.” If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, you need to take a long, hard look at your life, mister.

Those were our salad days, covering the gamut from “Give Peace a Chance” to “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road,” from “Satisfaction” to “Bird, Bird, Bird – Bird is the Word.”

Young kids today won’t understand, but a song called “MacArthur Park” included the lines, “Someone left the cake out in the rain, and I don’t think I can take it, because it took so long to bake it, and I’ll never have the recipe again.” What the ding-dong heck was that all about? We didn’t know either, but it shot up the charts.

(Turns out it was about lost love. And we should show respect, because the guy who wrote it – Jimmy Webb – also wrote “Wichita Lineman.”)

I was crestfallen when I learned that “Afternoon Delight” wasn’t about what we all thought it was about. The songwriter said it was about a shrimp and Brie dish at a Washington, D.C. cafe. What a letdown. “Skyrockets in flight?” Cheese? Give me a break.

These days I’m like a high school kid bombing around town in my dad’s ’62 LeSabre, with Bob Dylan or The Dave Clark Five turned up way too loud on WLS.

I still consume more than the recommended daily allowance of news. But oldies help the medicine go down.

Again, the Beach Boys:

“I don’t know where, but (it) sends me there.”

Dave Simpson can be contacted at davesimpson145@hotmail.com

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Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.