Monday, January 12, 2015

Rose Garden

I've had this song in my head all day long.  It's a song that was engrained in me from early childhood. 

You see, my mom occasionally adopted some unusual parenting strategies.  Whenever we became overly whiny or irritable about not getting our way, she'd begin to sing, "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden."

"I beg your pardon,
I never promised you a rose garden.
Along with the sunshine,
There's gotta be a little rain sometimes..."

If you've never heard the song, I can promise you, it's very difficult to continue a litany of complaints when someone insists on singing it to you. 

I remember that when I occasionally tried to insist, my mom would simply sing louder, to drown me out. 

"When you take you gotta give so live and let live or let GO-oh-oh, woah, woah, woah... 
I beg your pardon..."

If you've never heard the song, never fear.  I have the perfect YouTube video for you.  Take a moment.  You won't regret it.   (Or if you do, the feeling will quickly pass.)

What I love about this video:

I love to imagine Lynn Anderson in her dressing room, asking her BFF, "Does this dress make me look like a parakeet?" And when her BFF pauses to think of how exactly to respond to that, Lynn simply says, "I don't give a shit.  I love these sleeves.  I'm wearin' it."

I really do regret that I've chosen a career path that basically dooms me to a life of outfits without sleeves like that.   You can't teach Jane Austen or Dostoevsky with those sleeves-- and personally, I think that's kind of a shame.

That said, I must also acknowledge that I don't have the hair required to pull off wearing a dress like that.  I would look like... a blighted parakeet.  And that's no good.

I love to watch the people in this video and remember a simpler time when it was okay to 1) have a really bad haircut--AND an ill-fitting outfit, 2) not wash your hair every single day, and 3) "dance" only with your arms and only from the elbows downward (even when you're holding your arms over your head).

That said, I love the guy in the white jacket who's shakin' his head and dancing his heart out.  He's having a great time.  He didn't promise anyone any damn rose garden and it's all working out fine for him.  At least, that's the sense I get when I watch him dance. 

There's also a rather angry-looking woman in a fur coat who seems to have decided to dance her way through the emotional fallout from her last bad breakup.  And a cameo by a Wednesday Addams look-alike appears midway through the video--also a nice touch.

Finally there's the woman who testifies to the time-honored truth that it really doesn't matter if you wear coke-bottle-glasses.  If your skirt is short enough, no one will notice.

But in the end, nothing beats the guy who turns on the TV and then slowly but steadily begins groovin' and singing along--and to the instrumental portions of the song, no less. 

I mean, any one can sing along to the lyrics.  You have to be in the Rose Garden zone to sing along to the instrumentals.

And meanwhile, he has to keep hovering over the TV, of course, because there's no remote control. 

Ah, the simpler times.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."