Tuesday, June 9, 2015

karaoke for the dead

The Word for today:
Judges 11:29-12:15
We are -- all of us, at one time or another -- great self-satirists. And not only are we great satirists, but we are great ironists as well. So great are some of us that even death cannot curtail our ironic autobiographical satires.
If you’ve gone to a dozen funerals, you’ve no doubt been treated to a recording of “My Way,” the Paul Anka song that was popularized by Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. (The version sung by Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols popularized the song for this writer. But please, don’t ask and don’t tell…)
For decades, “I Did It My Way" has gone unchallenged as the most oft-played song at American funerals. But what the heck, let’s spin it one more time. All together now:
And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I'll say it clear
I'll state my case of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Regrets I've had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Yes there were times I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out, I faced it all
And I stood tall and did it my way
I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way
For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
Yes it was my way
You cannot fathom how I struggle to keep from bursting into laughter whenever this song is played. For the most part (I knew them; that’s why I went to their funerals) the deceased subject of the song never said boo to anybody, lived in terror of his boss, wore the pantsuits in his family, and (as Sid Vicious might say) wouldn’t say #*^% if he had a mouthful. I’ve had to hastily exit two churches because I could not stifle the guffaws this song has generated.
Before I became a Bible blogger, whenever “My Way” started playing, I heard the great Robert Burns whispering “To A Louse” in my other ear:
O would some power the Gift-Giver give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And many a foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even in devotion!
Now, Bible-banging blogger that I’ve become, when I hear “My Way” I hear the last verse in Judges:
In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
My purpose is not to diss the defenseless dead. (God knows I’ve got more pride than the next five people, combined.) What I mean to do is marvel at how ridiculous pride makes all of us look, whether we’re dead or alive.
So come on back tomorrow--when we will see that purpose through, without exemption.

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