No, not that kind.
I sit here in my dramatically irrelevant squid shirt and contemplate Ben’s suggestion to add a verse to an incredibly successful song from the 1990s. Well, I can’t write lyrics. I especially can’t write lyrics that add anything to a song that sold thirty million copies, received multiple awards and made the songwriter a household name. For one thing, I don’t understand music well enough (‘…written in the key of B major.’ What does that even mean?). For another, I can’t write poetry — really I can’t. I can’t rhyme (not even Moon/June/Spoon) and the less said about my sense of rhythm the better. For a third, if I could write a song that would have made me a multi-millionaire, don’t you think I would have done it by now?
It’s made even harder because none of the ‘examples’ in the lyrics is ironic. I believe that Ms. Morissette and her co-author (unlike Baldrick) were quite aware of this. They’re meant to look ironic, but only if you don’t look too closely. The real irony — the meta-irony, if you will — is that a song called ‘Ironic’ has nothing whatsoever to say about irony. They were looking for unfortunate situations that scanned properly, rhymed appropriately and fit into an album that had the themes of anger, bitterness and deep psychological trauma.
I definitely can’t do that.
I can do ‘unfortunate’, though.
I was driving to a funeral. It was my grandfather’s funeral. He was an important figure in my life because, well…
When I was ‘small’ I spent my time hurling bowling balls, getting my stomach pumped and breaking bones (mostly mine, although there was that time I hit someone in the head with a golf club). Sir Rose, for her part, spent some time in a hospital due to a nasty disease that I had nothing whatsoever to do with giving her. (Honest.) Anyway, due to the numerical depletion of my Supervisory Parental Units, my grandfather spent time with us to try to keep the mayhem at an acceptable level. Whether or not he succeeded I can’t say.
I have some clear memories of those days. I remember him putting ketchup on french toast; it was one of his habits that I picked up (much to the horror of every waitress along 3500 kilometres of Trans-Canada highway) and still retain. My father and I both shared a name with him so there were three generations of ‘Rose’ living under the same roof; I remember phone calls asking for ‘Rose’ and the caller never getting precisely the one he wanted. I remember sleeve garters.
He was a big part of my early life.
His funeral was about a four hour drive away so I climbed in the Rosemobile (that one was named GW) and hit the road.
These days, ‘most’ cars have doors over the gas cap; those doors are typically opened via a lever or switch inside the car. In those days, however, the doors were often opened with the ignition key. Those days also represented the transition from full-service to self-service gas stations. The lock, then, didn’t represent much of an inconvenience: you would stop the car, turn off the ignition, remove the key, get out of the car, open the filler door and pump long-dead dinosaurs into your fuel tank. Full-service stations still existed, of course — they were just getting scarcer.
Except on the ‘local’ high-speed controlled-access highway that ran almost directly from my door to the funeral. On that road there are moderately frequent ‘official service centres.’ These long had a reputation for being quick and convenient if somewhat dingy and overpriced. And along with ‘overpriced’ came ‘attendants.’ The locking filler door still didn’t present a problem: turn off the ignition, hand the key to the attendant and wait.
After waiting for longer than seemed absolutely necessary, I looked out the window. He hadn’t started yet — he was staring at my ignition key with a look of absolute horror on his face.
Scratch that. He was looking at half of my ignition key. The other half was in the filler door lock.
Ironic? Nope. Unfortunate? Yup. Annoying and inconvenient? Definitely. Something worth condensing and setting to music? That, as they say, is left as an exercise for the reader.