Recently I left the waiting room of my dentist’s office, before even letting her eyeball my chiclets. Why? Because she’d gone with Chuck Mangione’s Feels So Good for waiting room mood music. Frankly I was shocked to be the only one picking up on this glaring warning signal that the universe was laying down. Under normal circumstances this is a perfectly serviceable instrumental, more serious than Spanish Flea by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, but not as self-satisfied as Classical Gas by Mason Williams, who I bet is still insufferable as ever at campfires:
Two buxom female hikers: Either of you two guys play guitar? Because that would be nice right now, by the campfire. Really nice.
Williams (quickly reaching for his pack): I play a little. Here’s something I wrote, maybe you’ve heard it. It’s called Classical Gas.
Me (noisily retiring to tent): **** this. You win, Mason, alright? I’m going to bed. Do me a solid and keep the noise down tonight. Some of us are trying to sleep.
My point is he’s not bedding down alone, not until arthritis claims those aphrodisiacal fingers. But back to the dentist’s office — Feels So Good in the waiting room? No way that happened by chance. Call me skittish, but it’s more gallows humor than I like see out of someone about to drill holes in my teeth. Was this right or wrong, my 23-skidoo? I’ve had time to reflect, and still cannot rightly say. Maybe it was all just a coincidence. After all, my dentist is Midwestern, and she doesn’t strike me as someone inclined to suffer for her art. To mess with patients in this way seems too contrived. Like declaring you’re at “Peak Morgan Freeman” after hearing his mellifluous pipes in one too many television commercial voiceover. Or hitting a diner after a Pearl Jam concert just to complain to the waitress in your best Eddie Vedder voice that you “can’t find the butter ma’am.” Maybe my fear of Chuck Mangione was precipitous.
How does all this relate to you? A fair question, if a little self-centered. (Just so I know, Boo Radley, how long have you been sitting there?) Well, it relates to you in that I hope for your sake that this list I’ve written isn’t too contrived, like the Morgan Freeman and Eddie Vedder riffs. For I’d hate to waste your time. But can we be frank? All you have to do is read what I’ve written, so really it’s no skin off your nose. It’s not like I asked you to move an air hockey table down to my basement, or cover me at my wife’s Lamaze class. So yeah, I think I’ll go with it.
And so, because my flight is delayed and the gin-and-tonics are super-strong here in the Admirals Club tonight, here is a short, sweet and wholly uncontrived list of businesses famous authors/thinkers might have started today to support their writing habit:
- Out, Out Yankee Candle (Scented Candle Shop) – William Shakespeare
- Nasty, Brutish and Short-Shorts (Fast Fashion Retailer) – Thomas Hobbes
- All I Know Is I’m Not Going To Pay A Lot For This Muffler (Auto Repair Franchise) – Socrates
- Paradise Lost And Found (Mall Kiosk) – John Milton
- As I Lay Dying (Hospice Care) – William Faulkner
- Your Mountain Is Waiting, So Get In For Store-Wide Savings (Hi-Performance Climbing Gear) – Dr. Seuss
- Survival Of The Fittest (Skinny Jeans Boutique) – Charles Darwin
- Things Fall Apart (Small Engine Repair) – W.B. Yeats
- I Came, I Saw, I Couldn’t Believe The Drapes Selection (Home Furnishings) – Julius Caesar
- Know Thyself, And The Rule Against Perpetuities (Bar Review Classes) – Oracle of Delphi
- The Road To Surfdom (Beach Apparel Boutique) – Friedrich von Hayek
- Animal Farm (Petting Zoo) – George Orwell
- The Wing Not Eaten (All-You-Can-Eat Buffet) – Robert Frost
- No Free Lunch (Libertarian Café) – Milton Friedman
- Atlas Stuttered (Speech Pathology Clinic) – Ayn Rand
- Keep Calm And Carry On My Wayward Son (Kansas Cover Band) – Winston Churchill
- Fahrenheit 451 (Dangerously Hot Yoga Studio) – Ray Bradbury
- You Have Brains In Your Head And Feet In Your Shoes (Anatomy Course, Remedial Level) – Dr. Seuss
- Portrait of A Lady And Anyone Else Willing To Wear Matching Sweaters (Family Portrait Studio) – Henry James
I could go on all night with this list, but I simply can’t stay in the Admirals Club a minute longer. I just heard the opening chords to Classical Gas, and sure enough there’s Mason Williams over in the lounge, sandwiched between two shapely Swissair flight attendants. UFB.