Sunday, July 21, 2013

Beware the Meat People

I sometimes wonder if the words humility and humiliation are really just a misspelling of the same word on Webster's part that the proofreaders didn't catch. One seems to drive the other, they must have a connection beyond their first six letters.

A motivational tune has many driving forces. Some have to do with context, whether the song stands alone for the end user, or it's part of some visual presentation meant to force rah rah from its audience. Like all songs, they have the capacity to be witty, charming, silly, profound or just plain dumb to anyone save the shill that's got a handful of cash to pay for the anthem's creation.

I'd been writing songs for some time and was developing a reputation for "excellence", not to mention an all too fat head about my "gift". It was easy and fun, and brought me wealth beyond my wildest dreams (though even my dreams tend to be too realistic and therefore are pretty small change).

One fine day I was commissioned to write a meeting opener, a song that would be the soundtrack for a video meant to kick off the propaganda festivities for a carnivorous corporate concern by waking a few hundred sleepy company convention participants, making sure they'd pay attention to the million hours of speeches that would follow.

I don't remember the name of the company, it was a two syllable affair like BletchCo or Yuckinc or Trouble.com or the like. The CEO of this construct of capitalism was explicit in his desire to have not only the company name repeated over and over in the lyric, but the company "tag line" as well; AND if that weren't enough, the video title, the creative call to arms that our wunderkind writers had dreamed up to snag the account, needed to share the space more than twice.

I called my "crew" together and we pounded out a lovely ditty; a pompous fanfare of love and money that was topped with a sweet melody that now only required words; my specialty.

Aye, but there's the rub. The company name is insignificant, let's call it "oogy", for any two syllabic partners will do. But the name of the show was "We're gonna keep the drive alive."

Now one might wonder what they were driving, perhaps a pink Cadillac you might think. Perhaps it was a "cattle drive" considering...it surely wasn't a "charity drive". What "drive" would I need to immortalize in song? Why the drive for sales and profits of course; the Jackhammer of Job One, the Crux of Commerce nee Collection of Capital! Think "the drive to make BletchCo the richest company on the planet!" drive.

But that wasn't the best part of the chore. The tag line for the company, used in all advertising, loved by one and all members of the "family" that made BletchCo the perfect place to live work and play and the one that would coda at least 4 times throughout this upcoming dirge was "We are the MEAT people." Honest. No, really.

Now I suppose even corporate butchers (in the true sense vs. the obvious sense) need motivation here and there, and in the end I DID walk away with my salary plus the 1k bumper that I always received for my spewing pretty words onto glorious musicalities.

But you can imagine my angst as I sat backstage in Goodyear Arizona's Wigwam hotel, a 400 strong audience sitting just barely on the other side of a thankfully large and mostly opaque screen and drape, listening over and over to the hellish product of my sell out musings.

Picture in your mind's ear some bullshit about taking the lead and stepping up to the plate and gathering the wealth expressed by a lovely and powerful female voice occasionally accompanied by what one might think was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Then as the chorus approaches, its writer cringes, hides his head in shame and the verbiage continues:

"blah blah blah strive.....Cuz we are the meat people...we're gonna keep the drive alive!"

Over and over and over. They were so pleased with my rendering (sorry, little butcher pun) that they'd had me duplicate it for use as convention entry/exit music. Everyone got a copy. Even the hotel had one and would occasionally thrust its cold hand into my heart by playing the goddamn thing over the musak for the four days I was cursed to be a "guest" at their hotel.

I was humbled by the experience...or humili...oh never mind, they ARE one and the same. Never again did I look upon what I created with favor, for I was now jaded beyond even the most horrid cynic, reduced to blathering nonsense like the most petulant politician.

For years I dreamed of "Meat people" chasing me here and there, their bloody smiles and gristly fingers never quite catching me thank God, but never letting up the hunt. I think my cholesterol numbers shot over the scale on nights such as these.

Luckily my dreams always end the same way, with me in my underwear in a public place, trying to figure out how I'd get home without anyone noticing I'd lost my pants.

And no, they aren't ever meat pants, if you must know.

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