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The Most Important Song Ever Written: A Theme That I Would Have Composed In Tenth Grade If It Had Been Assigned

FOREWORD: This is not actually a part of the theme, but rather the introduction to the theme which will appear below in regular type. Like most of you, I had a really cool 10th Grade grammar and composition teacher, one of those legendary educators whom you will never forget so long as you live. I can’t remember her name, but she was really cool; not cool in the Mary Kay LeTourneau way, or perhaps she was but if she was I’m pretty sure I wasn’t party to any activities that would have confirmed a designation of that level of coolness. Anyway, for as cool as she was, she never assigned a theme that required us to write about the most important song ever written.  But now, thanks to the miracle of technology, I am able to write that theme some 27 years later.  And here it is.




There are a lot of songs.  Some of these songs tell a story. Some of these songs don’t tell a story. Some of these songs make no sense. I like a lot of different types of music. As a matter of fact, I have a lot of really cool, obscure stuff, a lot of which I get from this friend of mine who DJ’s overnights on the college radio station KCOU. Seriously, I could let you listen to some of this stuff sometime. Or you know maybe you could come over to my house some weekend to listen to it. My parents go out of town a lot. But when it comes to songs, really important songs, there is a fairly new one that I believe is the most important song ever written.

“Burning Down The House” is by a band called Talking Heads. They are a really cool band. Their lead singer is a guy named Dave and he wears a really gigantic suit onstage and I think this is total symbolism for the huge emphasis that society puts on appearance at the cost of minimizing the importance of the person inside the clothes. I can really relate to that. It is unfortunate that not everyone can recognize the value of people who who they are and not what they look like, especially in high school. I’ll bet someone with just a little more maturity can see through that artifice, though. Someone with education. Someone who is not afraid to disregard things like appearance or, I don’t know, age maybe to recognize when someone is cool.  Some people in this school get totally ignored even though they’re in fact really cool and have awesome music collections and spend a lot of weekends with a really cool house all to themselves and have access to a BRAND NEW CONVERTIBLE. And that’s one of the reasons why “Burning Down The House” is so great, because it’s performed by a band that is going to send a very important message.

Another reason why “Burning Down The House” is the most important song ever written is because of the lines “My house is out of the ordinary. That’s right, don’t want to hurt nobody. Some things sure can sweep me off my feet.”

Wow! That is totally powerful. It’s saying right there that “my house” or in this case “my self” is out of the ordinary, that people can be really cool even if it may not appear that way. The line about not wanting to hurt anybody is obviously a warning that something bad is going to happen if really cool people continue to be ignored. (Maybe somebody’s house gets burned down!!!) And “some things sure can sweep me off my feet” stands for the proposition that there is always hope that those people who constantly get ignored will find the satisfaction they are looking for from sources that would surprise even them, perhaps even from someone who they admire who they might think is out of their league like, say a cheerleader or a great athlete or an English teacher or a totally cool musician or a famous actress or something like that.

In conclusion, “Burning Down The House” is the most important song ever written because it gives hope for the future that we will soon live in a world where everyone will be loved. I plan to listen to this song quite a bit with all of the other really really cool music I listen to every weekend – like this coming weekend – when my parents are out of town from Friday morning until late Sunday night. You should totally come by to experience this song for yourself so I can further explain my thesis statement. I believe the song is that important. And my dad keeps what he says is really good wine in the basement bar so you could totally get into that if you wanted.

To be continued . . . . . ?

In this post we meet our potential protagonist, Fielding Springfellow, a man of few words but a possessor of great depth and complexity. I anticipate his journey will captivate the reader and leave them yearning for more both from Fielding and the omniscient narrator, who, for obvious reasons, will be coloring in the vast expanse of background missing due to the rather subdued Fielding’s preference to let others speak while he processes and reacts.


The Five People You Meet Who Could Have Been Ed Helms

Query: who doesn’t like Ed Helms?

From roles such as the slightly annoying, white, middle class Andy Bernard of television’s The Office to the slightly annoying, white, purportedly upper middle class Dr. Stu Price of cinema’s The Hangover series, Ed Helms is this generation’s sturdy, reliable character actor blending Dabney Coleman’s arrogance with Daniel Stern’s browbeaten nebbishy charm. Ed Helms is going places.  Ed Helms is going to do things you will only dream of doing and have things you will only dream of having, even if only for a very short while and even if, at the end of the Ed Helms story you wind up saying something like “Jesus, what the hell happened to Ed Helms?” or “Son, if you’re not careful you’re going to wind up like that schmuck Ed Helms.  Christ, that guy had it all and let it all get away from him,” or “Ed Helms? Nope, can’t say I remember him.  Did he play for the Astros?”

You look at a guy like Ed Helms and you think to yourself,  “there’s a guy who worked hard, paid his dues, and got his just reward. It takes a special guy to be Ed Helms.”  But, interestingly enough, as it turns out, there were five guys who could have been Ed Helms.

That’s correct.  Five young men across the United States possessed many if not all of the same qualities as Ed Helms at various points in their developing years, yet the decisions they made or the intervention of random fate prevented these five individuals from becoming Ed Helms, thus paving the way for, you guessed it, Ed Helms.  Let’s meet these five individuals.

Ken Fenstermayer

Born in 1973 and reared in Bethany, Oklahoma, Ken Fenstermayer had aspirations to do just about anything but manage the produce department of a supermarket.  His mother, a part time fitness instructor and his father, the produce manager of a supermarket, encouraged Ken to pursue the theater from a young age. Ken was a natural, securing highly coveted roles in a number of school plays and musicals including the lead in Mr. Tartabull’s Tapdancing Toucans.   He wrote and starred in a one-act play entitled Pac Man Fever! for Mrs. Carter’s Fourth Grade Drama Extravaganza but failed to replicate that early success in Grade Five, being relegated to the chorus for the school’s 1983 Christmas Festivalia The Santastiks. By 1987, Fenstermayer had given up on the theater altogether preferring to focus his attention on starting an Outfield cover band.  Today, Ken Fenstermayer manages the produce department of Homeland supermarket in Oklahoma City.

Blake Gates

The son of a high school drama teacher, Blake Gates was destined for theatrical greatness.  Not unlike young Ken Fenstermayer, Blake starred in grade school production after grade school production and continued his stage success into junior high.  Upon entering the ninth grade, Gates abruptly gave up drama for good when several of his new high school friends cautioned him that acting would turn him into “a homo like Mr. Gates the drama teacher.”  Today Blake Gates is a dog groomer in Malibu, California and lives with Clive, his life partner of the last six years.

Steve Culligan

Blessed with a natural charm,  smug, devil-may-care attitude and a physical appearance frighteningly similar to a young Ed Helms, Steve Culligan never met a challenge he couldn’t overcome, at least until he contracted spinal meningitis and died at age 17.

Ed Helms

Actually, the only thing that this Ed Helms has in common with the actor is his name.  This Ed Helms is black.  And nine years old.  Nearly automatic disqualification.

Terrence Knarf

Terrence Knarf of Frankfort, Kentucky, signed up for his high school drama club in order to impress a girl. Following practice one evening, Knarf mustered up the courage to ask the young lady out to the homecoming dance only to be “pantsed” by two members of the school’s wrestling team. Knarf quit the drama club the following day and turned his attention to computers.  Terrence Knarf sold his software company to Microsoft in 2006 and can now “buy and sell that fucking Ed Helms 5000 times over on a bad day.”  The fate of the two wrestlers is unknown.