Tuesday, December 4, 2018

You Take a Piece of Meat with You

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When I was seven, my sister and I argued in the car over the 1985 song "Every Time You Go Away." She claimed Paul Young was singing "Every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you." I was appalled, unable to conceive of why my sister viewed the singer's girlfriend as a cannibal who enjoyed walking away with a piece of his flesh every time the two parted ways. I told her it was clear that what Young was actually singing was "Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you." Because, you know, every one likes a snack for the road.

Anyway, we argued our points, both convinced that we were right, but with no way to prove it. The internet had yet to exist. 

Throughout the years, this occurred many times with many songs. And my sister and I weren't the only ones confusing lyrics. Even though it wasn't our generation of music, my entire graduating class used to sing Creedence Clearwater's song 'Bad Moon Rising' as:
Don't go around tonight 
Well, it's bound to take your life 
There's a bathroom on the right
Such a polite song, right? To stop in the middle of the lyrics to give listeners directions to the bathroom.

But it wasn't merely songs we debated about. It was any random topic under the sun. And the conclusion was always the same: There was no conclusion. Unless we were willing to go to the library to research answers to our questions (some of them nearly impossible to research, such as song lyrics or pop culture), we would never know--until we were adults--who was right and who was wrong.

It got me thinking: I miss those days. I miss the days where people engaged in lively debates without being able to immediately end the discussion with a quick fact-check on Google. I guess it's a funny thing to miss, but there's something I treasure about debating a pointless or silly topic for hours, knowing I'll never truly know who is right and who is wrong. As a kid, that suspension of an answer stretched a debate out for days, weeks, and sometimes (as was the case with the meat song), years. And then, ten years later when you finally have the solution to the riddle and you can put the argument to rest, it's that much more satisfying.

Having answers right at your fingertips with no waiting, wondering, or work (the old www) has taken away something special.