The other night, Jim and I were sitting in a very nice home with two former ambassadors and their wives and family members. They were dissecting the world, picking apart the Tea Partiers, the liberal left, the loony right, Obama, the vacuous media, the lack of civility, the tastiness of bacon,finally arriving at Afghanistan. And Pakistan. Then Israel. Iran. Disputed territories, Saudi Arabia and cities considered to be sacred.
And then the discussion turned to what it means when an object, city or land is declared to the "holy."
Up to that point, I was mostly listening and eating cheese and crackers, trying to get the cat to pay attention to me, but at the mention of "sacred," I blurted out, "Hey, I wrote a song about that once."
"Really?" said Tex Harris, a giant of a man, 6'7", with a great big American Texan voice, and who is a kind of hero to some people in the world for his work with the poor when he was ambassador to Argentina.
He bellowed, "Sing it for us."
A million things went through my brain at that moment. I'm in a fancy DC home, surrounded by some of the most literate and experienced people in the world. And one of them has just announced to the room that I should sing.
There was no piano. We were all seated, eating crackers and cheese.
But, without hesitation (and without a piano), I opened my mouth and started singing:
THE MARTYR WORE A JACKET BOMB
TO KILL THE INFIDELS AROUND
HE SAID THE PEOPLE IN THIS PLACE
DO NOT BELONG ON HOLY GROUND
THE ROCKET CAME FROM NOWHERE
CUZ THEY SAID THE MARTYR FORCED THEIR HAND
CHILDREN ARE COLLATERAL WHEN FIGHTING
OVER SACRED SAND
Then I told him my theory about how to test a religion, which is in the video below, recited by Piper Laurie.
Upon finishing the song, he began animatedly shouting, "SEND ME A LINK! I WANT THAT SONG! I have to send that to everyone on my list!"
And then you have to ask why I call this "living in the bonus round"?
BTW, I got Dan Brown's new book, The Last Symbol, as an early birthday present for myself. It's just too much of a coincidence that his book is set in Washington DC, and that we're only two blocks from the big Masonic Hall with the Egyptian statues out front and that my grandfather was a Shriner down in Louisiana.
Sounds like the start of new story, a new book.
Happy new year.
Oh, and if you haven't seen it, this is me singing "Holy Dirt" at my concert in Olympia for PFLAG: