This is my new column for Country Standard Time magazine. Sometimes I just slap these things together cuz a deadline has snuck up on me. And some I like cuz I actually found a way to say something within the context of country music. I'm sorta proud of this one.
Money AND Honey
When I was a young man I made up a list of my life goals. I wanted to find my soul mate, fall in love, get married and stay married and in love. And I wanted to have plenty of money.
That's all I wanted. (And because I was more romantic than rapacious, I wanted them in that order.)
I am happy to say that I have found the woman of my dreams and this summer we will celebrate our lucky 13th anniversary. Our love grows deeper and stronger all the time, and if the second part of my plans shows no signs of ever working out, I know I really shouldn't complain.
But. . . but, sometimes I do wonder what two nickels rubbing together would sound like. What it would feel like to know you could afford take your kid to the doctor or fix the washing machine without having to worry about where the money's going to come from.
And I finally figured out the problem. Country music messed me up. It taught me at an early age that you can't have both love and lucre.
I mean, I was probably in the womb when I first heard Patsy Cline singing "Poor Man's Roses" and Hank Williams wailing "Mansion on a Hill," the former about a girl who chose love over money and was happy, the latter about a girl who chose a man with money over her broke-ass boyfriend and was miserable.
As I grew older, I listened to Jeanne Pruett doing "Satin Sheets," about a woman married to a rich guy pining away for the pauper she really loves; to Whispering Bill Anderson's "Peanuts and Diamonds," about the girl who married the rich guy who gave her diamonds but who wishes they were peanuts from the destitute dirt farmer who owned her heart and not much more.
The list of songs that drove home the same message goes on and on. "Crystal Chandeliers" from Charley Pride, "Rose in Paradise" from Waylon Jennings, "Tight Fittin' Jeans" from Conway Twitty, and perhaps most explicitly, Johnny Paycheck when he sang "Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets . . . You know where to find my door and I know what you're crying for."
The subconscious is a powerful thing. I've spent my life listening to country music and absorbing its messages, one of the main ones being as soon as you can afford really nice fancy bedclothes your wife is going to leave you for some penniless guttersnipe (or cry herself to sleep every night wishing she had.)
So, this is a plea to all the songwriters in Nashville. Can't y'all please write a song about a guy with buckets of money, a diversified portfolio, a big house AND a satisfied spouse?
Oh, and make it a catchy one so it will stick in my subconscious and do some much needed reprogramming.
Come on, people. I'd like to sleep on satin sheets before I die. Just not alone.