Tuesday, April 21, 2020

To Go or To Stay

It has come to this. Red State folks are gathering in Bible Class, BBQs and bowling alleys. They have eyes on Fox News, God and the Dow. While Blue States are hunkered down, masked, cloistered and wiped. We have our eyes on Dr. Fauci, CNN or MSNBC and our Governors. 

If the South wanted to invade the North this would be the time. The only army we could muster would be a rag-tail battalion of Instacart delivery drivers. Our weapons would be Clorox and Purel.

There are two songs from bygone days which come to mind that might become our new anthems. Jimmy Durante sang one of them making a brief appearance in the 1942 movie version of, The Man Who Came to Dinner, when he sang...........

Did you ever have the feeling that you wanted to go
But still had the feeling that you wanted to stay.
You know it was right, wasn't wrong
Still you knew you wouldn't be very long
Go or stay, stay or go...........I'll go, I'll stay.

Durante is one of those entertainers who elude categories. He was a product of vaudeville who transitioned into radio and then T.V.  I found him adorable, his raspy voice, his antics, his whole shtick.

Groucho Marx followed a similar arc with the added exposure of thirteen movies with his brothers. One of his songs covered the same ground as Durante’s…

Hello, I must be going.
I cannot stay 
I came to say
I must be going.
I’m glad I came 
But just the same
I must be going.   

Groucho was subversive in his way, possibly more so than Karl Marx. With a raised eyebrow and a puff at his cigar he could overthrow governments. He played the con-man, the swindler, or an outrageous head-of-state. In this way he reminds me of somebody but I dare not speak his name. Groucho made America great again. He spoke in the voice of the street. He had moxie. He gave us the quick wise crack to get by in the urban jungle.

But it took his brother, Harpo, to answer the noise with his omniscient eyes, the cup of coffee in his overcoat along with one roller skate as if the artifacts of a fractured civilization. Then he spoke with his harp, recused from a damaged piano. When he played his instrument he brought all the clamor to silence. Even the virus was halted. A few plucks and corona is startled into submission. 

We can come and go again. Let some gather by the river. Take me out to the ballgame.


  1. Really love this one Norm. Brad and I are watching lots of old movies I mean really old black-and-white movies and I was thinking about how much I like the Marx brothers and I’m gonna see if I can find some tonightšŸ˜Š

  2. Thanks, again, Alone.This seems to be a time when we, of a certain age, are traveling back to a time when we had a better handle on things.