Monday, February 18, 2008

OCD Chronicles: They Might Be Giants "Snowball In Hell"

I don’t think you could have gone to college in the late 80’s (or, at the very least, listen to college radio) and not have some kind of exposure to They Might Be Giants. Sidenote: I did a quick search of TMBG and discovered that the band actually scored a pair of gold records, one for their early 90’s release Flood and the other for a kids album they did a few years ago, Here Comes The ABC’s.
I had no idea that They Might Be Giants were doing children’s albums; I get the fact that they made the transition (it’s logical, particularly when you look at them), but it points to the fact that it’s been a while since I’ve even thought about them.
It was a cassette sampler that Bar/None records put out that is responsible for my current OCD moment, for it contained the song “Snowball In Hell.” I was familiar with “Don’t Let’s Start” single and the flip side “We’re The Replacements,” but to be honest, I always put TMBG in the category of novelty act, which is a polite way of suggesting that I never really gave them a fair shot.
But “Snowball In Hell” from Lincoln seemed to speak directly to me:

“Side effect or drug trip
Don't tease me with all of your might
Side effect or drug trip
My panacea's in a xerox shop
Have a nice day
You want it when?
Have a nice day
Have a nice day”

I’ve never worked in a xerox shop, but I’ve manned a enough hours in retail to know those phoney words of goodwill. And it was reassuring that a band like They Might Be Giants, virtual stars on MTV’s 120 Minutes, were forced to work at mind-numbing day jobs after their two hours of fame on Sunday nights.

The money shot, however, was a spoken word section lifted from a tape called "How to Manage Your Time Effectively," which Bill Krauss gave to John Flansburgh for his birthday

“I didn't expect to find a salesman drinking coffee this late in the
morning...How long you been here, Joe?
Oh, I don't know, I guess thirty, forty-five minutes maybe. Why do you
You must be making a lot of sales, piling up good income.
Oh....Uh...I'm doing all right. I could do better, but...Oh, I get it Paul.
Back on that old “time is money” kick, right?
Not back on it, Joe…Still on it.”

Brilliant. I used it on more than one occasion with a few salespeople when I was a sales manager. Not to prove a point, but merely to confuse the fuck out of them. Usually, I’d just take the first line and get a response like “What are you talking about? I’m not drinking coffee.”

Fuck you: Coffee is for closers, and believe me, I’ve worked with more than enough pieces of fucking wood in my day to build a bridge. Sales shouldn’t require a babysitter, which is what I found myself doing most of the time in that position.

On the other hand, I know all about being employed and feeling apathetic about it.

Sales is not the place for that type of behavior.

I’m not in that position anymore, but I do on occasion fight the strong urge to call in sick for the day and do nothing but listen to They Might Be Giants.

Avalanche or roadblock
I was a snowball in hell.

Here's a video for it that I found on YouTube that has nothing to do with the band, but is fairly cute.

1 comment:

DJSassafrass said...

My BF loves TMBG--we actually saw them at the Pageant in St. Louis last year. We were probably the oldest one there--alcohol wasn't allowed in certain areas!