Monday, July 13, 2009
Robert Johnson, that is.
The other night, at dinner, I uttered something that caught me unawares. Usually your brain is one step ahead of your mouth and you know what you're going to say. But this time something weird happened. I said something that, as far as I can tell, was totally spontaneous. I was discussing obstacles set by others and complained that certain people were putting "stones in my pathway." I had never used that phrase before. I immediately realized that I was quoting a blues by Robert Johnson, though his song was called "Stones in My Passway." Merriam-Webster doesn't have an entry for passway, so I'm assuming a passway is a pathway. It rattled me a bit. I said to my friends, "I think that's the first time I've quoted Robert Johnson."
As I thought about the incident I started to worry. Perhaps I was developing a rare form of Tourette's Syndrome that causes one to blurt out blues lyrics without self-control. If this were to develop it could become a source of great embarrassment. I imagined a few possible scenarios.
I eat out a lot. What if one day I falsely accused a waitress of trying to poison me by complaining to the manager, "I asked her for water but she brought me gasoline"? I travel a lot. What if one day, as I was taking a walk in a foreign land, I just froze up and screamed out, "Ain't goin' down that big road by myself"?
And what if one evening, in a bar, upon seeing an attractive woman, my Big Joe Turner cortex was stimulated and I blurted out, "Baby you so beautiful but you gonna die someday; all I want's a little lovin' before you pass away"? It could cause untold embarrassment for the both of us.
On the other hand, it just might work.