I probably should back up and tell you about the song in case you’re not familiar with it. It’s a spoof on those great old country songs about a wise old fella giving advice to some young whippersnapper in a bar…think Tom T. Hall’s “Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine,” or Vern Gosdin’s “Chiseled in Stone.” After hearing what the old guy has to say, the young guy comes to his senses and turns his life around. The song “Old Blevins” captures what it’s REALLY like when some old drunk geezer comes up to you in a bar, intrudes on your conversation or solitude (whichever you happen to be pursuing) and proceeds, unsolicited, to tell you how to live your life. The chorus of “Old Blevins” consists mostly of the lines:
“And he said Blah, blah, blah blah blah blah, blah blah, mistakes were made,
Blah, blah, blah blah blah blah, blah blah, how ‘bout them Cowboys!”
And on and on…and on and on and on and on!!
Did someone stick a sign on my back without my knowing that said “Tell me everything you think”? Recently, I was at a music event and some friends and I had completed our set on the patio of this restaurant/bar. We went inside to get a burger and beverage and visit. Over the years of playing in bars, I’ve developed a radar for these guys. It’s important not to make eye contact. Sometimes that works but if they’re really determined, they won’t be dissuaded. This guy was going to talk to me no matter what. He sidles up and says, “You from Albuquerque?”
I said, “Yes sir, I am.”
“My cousin lives in Albuquerque,” he said conspiratorially, “the south valley…rough place!”
Trying to find the balance between not being rude and communicating that I would prefer to visit with my friends, I responded, “My daughter-in-law’s family lives in the south valley. There’s some really pretty country down there.” I nodded pleasantly…but not TOO pleasantly…and turned away, signally that my part of the conversation was done. Right.
“Maybe you know my cousin,” he says hopefully.
Right. Being from Albuquerque, a city whose population exceeds half a million, I probably know his cousin. That’s a little less absurd than when someone hears that I’m from Texas and they say, “Maybe you know old so and so.” A little less absurd but still pretty doggone absurd. He tells me his cousin’s name. You guessed it…I don’t know him. What were the odds (half a million to one, actually)? I turn away a little more firmly this time and just ignore him, hoping he’ll go away. Sometimes this works on my dogs. Nope, he hovers around for another five minutes or so before he finally goes looking for greener pastures and other people to intrude upon.
Usually these people are male. Once, however, when I played with the Band of Enchantment at the wonderful roadhouse, the Mine Shaft, in Madrid, New Mexico, we had a female “old Blevins.” She would stand teetering unsteadily at the end of the bar closest to the band stand and right before we’d start a song, she’d holler out, “let her rip!” Sort of like Larry the Cable Guy’s “get her done,” only not funny. When we would break, she would come over and drunkenly try to converse with us. The drummer and I got pretty adept and sending her over to talk to our bass player. Bass players tend to be somewhat lonely so he would usually visit with her for awhile.
What makes some people think that complete strangers want to hear intimate details about their lives? Are they so lonely and desperate for connection that they ignore all conventional social cues and personal boundaries? Sadly, the answer is “yes.” Which brings me back to my original question…what if Old Blevins was a blogger? What makes those of us who blog think that what we have to say is so important that the world just can’t wait to read it? Are we so lonely and desperate for connection that we spew out 800 words a week, just certain that it will change the lives of everyone who reads it? Probably (and sadly), the answer is “yes.” Here’s our one redeeming quality though…you don’t have to click on our link! So I’d like to leave you with these final words: “Blah, blah, blah blah blah blah, blah blah, thanks for listening.”