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Eight Themes In Search Of A Song

Words and Music: © 2001 by Tom Smith
In honor of their British guests and of the wonderful long-running British radio quiz shows My Word and My Music, GAFilk in Atlanta, GA had a fake game show, My Filk. I was one of the judges, and one of the contests was an instafilk. One team had to write a brief song, very quickly, about shopping carts and bottled water; the other had to write about Jell-O and Halley's Comet. It was mentioned that last year's keywords were detours and power tools, and lemmings and cold fusion. Naturally, by the time the contestants' songs were finished, I had written this, including all eight. Lee Billings thought it was more-or-less following Uneasy Rider, but I was actually thinking more a talking blues along the lines of Shel Silverstein's "A Boy Named Sue". The alternate title is "Cold Fusion Shopping Cart Blues", which will probably change as soon as I think of a better one.

Well, my car broke down on the Interstate
And most folks would just sit and wait
For Triple-A to tow 'em down the block;
But I'm a scientist -- mad, insane --
So I looked around and I racked my brain
To fake myself a car that'd really rock.

I needed a basic frame to start,
And I saw a handy shopping cart
Some derelict had left beside the street;
With the power tools in my trunk,
And a whirr and a whang and a whump and a whunk,
My cold fusion shopping cart was looking sweet.

I needed fuel, that's for sure --
For this jerry-rig, it'd better be pure --
Good thing I got this bottle of Evian,
My chunk of a comet fallen from Heaven,
And Jell-O I got at the Seven-Eleven --
Mix, ferment, and microwave and strain.

I poured the fuel in the fusion can,
And that sucker jumped like Superman,
And leapt the nearest building in a single bound.
Well, I hung on tight as I cleared the trees,
My cheeks were flapping from all the G's,
And I braced myself, 'cause what goes up comes down.

The engine whined and the metal sang,
The wheels rattled and the baby seat rang
As I noted the quickly rising Atlantic shore.
I closed my eyes and I found religion,
And something must've heard me wishing,
'Cause suddenly my death drop was detoured.

Seems I was going over a ledge
With lemmings all along the edge,
Waiting for the perfect moment for The Plunge.
The fusion cart hit the rodent tide,
The fur was flying and so was I,
And I hit the surf -- and a passing giant sponge.

Well, I gave up inventing after that;
Six months in traction, lying flat,
Has washed away my taste for shopping cart flight.
On the other hand, I love breaking rules --
Hey, Igor! Get my power tools!
This time I'll use Mountain Dew and Vegemite!

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