Monday, May 17, 2010

I Lack the Christian Life

I was sitting in the Panera across from the Nashville Convention Center yesterday when the soundtrack in my brain started playing “The Christian Life.”

What’s up with that? I haven’t heard it in awhile, and it’s really not the sort of song you listen to for fun. To even get past the first verse, there has to be this weird line-up of factors: an open heart and a satisfied mind and a buttload of irony, combined with “let me show off my snobby musical taste” and a plastic Mary statue on the dashboard. Oh, and it sounds best when you sing along, badly and loudly, after drinking too much at someone you like’s birthday party.

The version playing in my head was this crazy-good megamix, too. My memory had decided to grab the best bits of the three versions I know, so there was a shot of Louvin Brothers, a fifth of the Byrds, with a little Gram Parsons on lead vocals.

Sure, I'm in Music City and I’d just heard Emmylou Harris speak about how she got started helping shelter dogs (did I explain I was at HSUS Animal Care Expo?), and maybe I was feeling especially prim and proper since the nice woman who served me recommended I get my bagel sliced because it would be more “ladylike.” (How the heck did she know I probably would have pecked at it and pulled it apart like a chicken? No offense to chickens. )

No, it wasn’t any of those things. It was more that the Panera across from the Convention Center happened to be catty-corner to the McKendree United Methodist Church Christian Life Center. I was just an example of the power of suggestion, one of those manipulated bozos who’d probably run and buy a Coke at the movies when they show those subliminal messages on the screen.

Perhaps that’s why I left Panera and wandered past the Ryman Auditorium, straight to the tackiest Elvis-filled souvenir store (YES! quite like a crow finding something shiny) I could find. I purchased the first item that made me laugh out loud. (If you Google “The Slut’s Pen,” you’ll find out where to buy a dozen for 48 bucks.)

And no, I won’t describe it here because, believe it or not, I’m not that kind of girl. Er, blogger.

Music to realign your cosmos
The Christian Life, The Byrds (w/GP singing lead)

Return of the Grievous Angel, Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris
The ‘calico bonnet’ line makes me think of my cat Paloma, so even if it weren’t for the gorgeous lyrics and harmonies, I’d love this dang song anyway.


  1. Pune, when I first started reading your column, I mistakenly read "Panera" as "Panthera." Gives your epiphany and musings a whole different feel. Thought what kind of jungle animal room luncheonette were you in!
    I admire your connection to music and to critters. Quite fascinating how your mind is always jogging about and striking just the right note.
    Very impressive. I like the "calico bonnet" line too.

  2. Panthera! Wow, I love it! That is especially at odds with the calico bonnet, and the other "ironic" item I purchased--a shirt featuring a cat in a cowboy hat from Nashville, "Home of Country Meowsic." I swear I didn't make that up, that's what's printed on the shirt.