When I’m stuck with a day that’s grey and lonely, I just stick out my chin and grin and sing the song Tomorrow, that joyous uplifting hit from the joyous uplifting musical Annie, based on a joyous uplifting comic strip about a little orphan girl who’s so poor, she can’t even afford dots on her eyeballs.
And because things have been a bit grey and lonely lately, I tried lifting my spirits with a showtune. I popped on my red curly Annie wig, grinned my cheesy Annie grin, and sang in my pluckiest Annie voice: “Ohhhhh the sun’ll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrowwwww, there’ll be sunnnn!” It worked. It actually worked. I started feeling happy and hopeful and healed again … until I got to the second line, and the lyrics began mysteriously rewriting themselves: “But … what if there’s sun tomorrow, and the day that comes after tomorrow … there is none?” The song was transforming right before my undotted Annie eyes. By the time I got to the big rousing chorus, it had turned into a miserable cynical travesty: “Tomorrow’s tomorrow may be fraught with sorrow, it’s only two days awayyyyyy”.
Aileen Quinn in the film adaptation of Annie.
My favourite go-to uplifting song had let me down but luckily I had an emergency back-up in my Song Box: Carole King’s You’ve Got A Friend – it always helps when I’m down and troubled and neeeeeeed some love and caaaaaare. So I chucked off my red curly Annie wig and plonked on my blonde curly Carole wig (I keep my Wig Tub right next to my Song Box). I grabbed my guitar and sang: “You just calllll out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running, to see you agaaaaain”. Yeahhhh, that’s better … I was feeling chipper now, even throwing in some finger-picking James Taylor guitar-licks, quickly flipping to my long scraggly James Taylor wig. But it started happening again. The lyrics began turning dark and negative: “Winter, spring summer or falllll, I’m not sure I can come at allllll. It’s outside my 5k zone, but we can WhatsAaaaaapp”.
All my joyous uplifting songs were betraying me. Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now usually made me feel good, but now it just made me feel sad – Johnny passed away last week, it’s not such a bright (bright) sunshiny day at all, it’s a dark (dark) overcast month with possible scattered showers. Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling! usually gets me smiling, but now it just made me wince – I don’t want sunshine in my pocket, JT, the sun is 15-million degrees, it would really burn my nethers. Edith Piaf’s No, I Have No Regrets usually fills me with hope, but now the song just came out as “Yessssss I regret everything! Yesssssss everything I regret! Every word! Every thought! And that chicken-feta sausage-roll I recently boughhhhht!”
The original Little Orphan Annie.Credit:
What’s going on? Music is supposed to heal, music is supposed to comfort, but none of my songs were powerful enough to overcome the year 2020. So I slammed shut my Song Box, locked up my Wig Tub, sat down and wrote a song of my own. It’s got no melody, it’s got no chorus, it’s just a grunted primal howl from deep within the gut, but it actually seems to help: “F— off will you, Twenty-Twenty! Can’t wait til you’ve wenty-wenty! Oh please let me venty-venty! Our goodwill’s all spenty-spenty! To quite an extenty-xtenty! That virus you senty-senty! And Trump, our tormenty-menty! Financial descenty-scenty! By many percenty-centy! Oh hear my lamenty-menty! F— OFF WILL YOU, TWENTY-TWENTY!!!!” That’s Verse 1. There are 46 more verses. It’s my American Pie.
Danny Katz is a Melbourne humourist.
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