Saturday, May 24, 2008

"And Here's To Us"

This morning while I was watching an old Roy Rogers serial on PBS I heard a song that I used to listen to at work. Along with my little toolbox of trusty lab accouterments that I took into the scanning electron microscope room with me, I used to lug around a little CD player to keep me company during the long hours spent alone in the dark staring at the SEM screen, while trying to crank out my million unruly samples per day. So the song that Roy was singing was an old hobo song, "Big Rock Candy Mountain." Some of the lyrics go like so:

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, there's a land that's fair and bright,
The handouts grow on bushes and you sleep out every night
Where the boxcars all are empty and the sun shines every day
On the birds and the bees and the cigarette trees,
The lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, you never change your socks
And little streams of alcohol come a-trickling down the rocks
The brakemen have to tip their hats and the railroad bulls are blind
There's a lake of stew and of whiskey too
And you can paddle all around 'em in a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, all the cops have wooden legs
The bulldogs all have rubber teeth and the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
The farmer's trees are full of fruit and the barns are full of hay
I'm a-goin' to stay where you sleep all day

Where they hung the jerk that invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

I guess that we can all learn something from the old hobos. If hobos can have a sense of humor about their lot in life, so can us working slobs, at least we have a job. But it might be nice to try riding the rails, to sleep under the stars, eat beans out of a tin can, and get chased by rail-yard dogs with rubber teeth...just once maybe.