Unfortunate Juxtoposition Theatre Presents…

While stuck in traffic, “Accidents Will Happen” popped up on my iPod via shuffle. I’m sure I’ve heard this song several thousand times, but not in quite a while. By rule, I am never in a good mood in the morning, but this immediately brightened my commute.

I got that warm feeling you get when you listen to something again for the first time since forever, and you remember how great it is. I thought about how it is exactly the right length. How haunting the outro is. How fantastic the lyrics are; not as overtly clever as in some of Mr. Costello’s songs, but simple and subtle in the best possible way. Lines like It’s damage that we do and never know/It’s the words that we don’t say that scare me so.

And I thought about how there was a period when I listened to Armed Forces on a nigh-daily basis. When it was so much a part of my being that, like Jonathem Lethem once said about Talking Heads’ Fear of Music, “I might have wished to wear the album…in place of my head”. I thought about listening to the whole album start to finish, something I never do anymore with any album in this iPod age.

And as Elvis sang Accidents will happen…, an ambulance came screeching alongside my bus, sirens blaring, lights flashing. It hopped a curb in front of an auto parts store, then squeezed in between a phalanx of parked cars and a truck that completely ignored its pleas to get through.

Real accidents always overshadow metaphorical ones. I hit pause until the drama passed. But when I unpaused the song, it just didn’t feel the same. Sigh.