Sunday, April 10, 2011

'Cause I got a busted heart

I acknowledge – hell, I often remind myself – that my life is not nearly as bad as it could be, not only on an absolute scale but in comparison to how it has been.  I have a little more confidence in my own chances of survival now than I had just a year ago, and certainly more than two years ago.  Still, you can't help but take things hard now and then when you're on the academic job market.  I have precious little musical talent with which to express such feelings, but happily, there are skillful musicians who have such talent, and whose recordings are readily available if you know where to look.  This song, by Greg Brown, keeps creeping into my mind whenever I get that fanciful utopian urge to chuck everything and move to the middle of nowhere to live off the land.*  I don't think I'll be doing anything even analogous for a few years, but the image is already in place.

The Laughing River

I’m going away ‘cause I got a busted heart

I’m leaving today, if my Travelall will start

And I reckon where I’m headed, gonna need me different clothes

Way up in Michigan where the Laughing River flows

Twenty years in the minor leagues, ain’t no place I didn’t go

Well, I got me a few hits, but I never made the show

And I could hang on for a few years, doing what I've done before

I want to hear the Laughing River flowing right outside my door

And my cousin Ray says he’s got a job for me

Where the houses are still cheap and he knows this nice lady

He said she even saw me play once, said she smiled at my name

Way up on the Laughing River, it could be a whole new game

And it’s goodbye to the bus, and goodbye to paying dues

And it’s goodbye to the cheers, and goodbye to the boos

I’m trading in this old bat for a fishing pole

I’m gonna let the Laughing River flow right into my soul

*As if!  I get bored to tears in the suburbs, for heaven's sake!  I think I'd have a psychotic episode if I ever experienced the kind of pastoral rurality that Brown sings about.  But it's a damn fine song anyway.


  1. Have you ever heard his settings of Blake poems?

  2. Oooh, no, I haven't! I'll need to look that album up some time. My personal favorite of his is The Live One, which is how I know the song above.

  3. /comfort
    The job market is soul-killing.

  4. Good song. I think that your thoughts about this job market are held by many including me. The job market is just awful. Oh, check out this article by the way...

    The comments are good..but the one named 'Perry' really ticked me off. Grr...