The first of these happened in, of all places, church. Imagine that you are in a congregation, and the minister is leading everyone in the singing of "The Old Rugged Cross". Imagine your horror when you hear a young lad belting out this rendition:
"On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross ... TIMBER !"Yes, I was that young lad. Yes, there was a very pregnant pause in that church on a Easter Sunday, those forty-nine years ago. I'm not sure, but that incident may have had something to do with the fact that I was never invited to join the choir.
I had a similar faux pas while in elementary school, the sixth grade I believe. As was the routine back then, after a moment of prayer, and after we had recited in unison the "Pledge of Allegiance," the teacher would join us in singing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
(I can sense that some are in shock and maybe even appalled. Yes, back in the good old days we actually said prayer, recited THE Pledge and sang songs with the word "GOD" in them. All I can say to you is that we turned out okay! Only time will tell if the same can be said of the school kids today. So far the track record suggests otherwise. Just look around. That, however, is a discussion for another day, and in another forum.)
Myself and a few friends had planned to substitute some of our own words to the "Battle Hymn." I remember the others, Larry, Steve, Jerry and Phil were squirming nervously in their seats when the teacher blew the proper tone on her pitch thingy. (What was that little 'thingy' called anyway?)
How could I have known that my pals were going to chicken out? I had center stage as I put my heart and soul into the chorus:
"Glory, glory Hallelujah, Teacher smacked me with a ruler."I felt like the proverbial sacrificial lamb being led to slaughter as I was being unceremoniously sent to the Principal's office. I glanced back at my 'friends' watching silently with that butter-would-melt-in-their-mouths look upon their countenances. (Was I the only one who see that their a-kilter halos were tarnished?)
I was detoured down that nostalgic path while I was watching one of those PBS pledge drive specials this afternoon. That particular program was featuring the gospel side of the music of Elvis Presley. (This of course explains the Elvis caricature above and the speech balloons I added to it.)
Wouldn't you know that one clip would show him singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic? It was a set up, I tell you. When I applied my verbally 'enhancing' accompaniment there was a brief pregnant pause. My wife just glanced over the rim of her glasses, said nothing and returned her eyes to the television.
This infliction, if it is in fact an infliction, is like an involuntary reflex. It has reached such a stage that I honestly have to admit that I have completely forgotten the original words to the Battle Hymn.
"Hit the teacher in the head with a rotten tangerine ... And the juice came pouring down.."There is another song that I pay homage to in my own special way, with apologies to John Lennon and Paul McCartney:
"I'd rather dance with her mother, When I saw her standing there."At least that one hasn't produced as many pregnant pauses as those above. There are some other songs that I 'adapt,' but fortunately I do remember the real words. I will spare you my twisted lyrics to The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, and The Elusive Butterfly of Love, just to name a few. (Besides, that aforementioned minister would like these versions even less than the one he heard so many years ago, if you get my drift.)
I'd be curious if any of you have any songs that you like to provide your own special touch. I don't mean the ones where you mishear or misinterpret the lyrics, but rather the ones you change the words voluntarily or involuntarily.
(If you like celebrity caricatures like those of Elvis above, you can find them at About Faces.)