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Underpants of Hendrik Casimir I: Anonymous
(1630 - 1640)

"Give me superficiality or give me certain death …"

Those who've followed my FaceBook benediction postings after my Friday PureSchmaltz Zoom Chats already know that I favor what're labeled "Novelty" tunes. I take my music seriously, as the pieces I've already introduced doubtless make clear, but I'm never more delighted than when The Muse slips some smart-assed something into the mix. Like many other songwriters, I've never really been in charge of which songs emerge. I've proven myself capable of following inspirations, but never really facile at creating them. Songs more visit me than I create them. They lead, I dutifully follow, and the responsibility does, indeed, feel like a duty to me. Like anyone, I feel enjoined to make my particular sort of noise in this world. Otherwise, why was I even born?

Amid all my more serious works, my self-described Top Fifty Truly Terrible Traveling Tunes stand eternal.
I suspect that after I'm gone, the only songs of mine that anyone will remember with any clarity might be ones from this deliberately ignoble category, ones I more made up than composed, ones which just came to me, usually while I was driving with small children in the car. Something would just come over me and I would suddenly be transported onto a Victorian stage to star in my own goofy little Gilbert and Sullivan production. Among these tunes, I've chosen perhaps the simplest one to include in my SetList. I will perform it, a cappella, as a palate cleanser, perhaps to open the second half of the evening.

"I love my underpants, my underpants love me.
I love my underpants, as anyone can see."

The melody made itself and begs to be projected to the very back wall of the hall, from a singer obviously proud of his modest foundations. The whole premise should properly seem absurd. Nobody can (or should) be able to see how much anyone else loves their underpants. The whole assertion seems simply ridiculous. When this song first slipped out, I was driving with The Grand Other Kylie in the car. She was maybe five, just at that age where underpants might seem the silliest, particularly if a grandfather, who really should know better, starts singing their praises in a faux operatic baritone. My God! It might even be true. Who knew? Who ever even thought of knowing such things? The whole premise seems illicit, but only because it is. The only proper response when in the presence of this performance might be to protest.

"They curl up nice and cozy, and help my bottom breathe!
Oh, I love my underpants, and they love me!"

There! It's done. Over almost before it's begun. No chorus. No second verse, There never was any use for running this one-liner into the ground. It's just what it always was, a silly interlude, a deliberate distraction. Enough all by its modest self to stand among the giants comprising the bulk of my SetList. No musical accompaniment, a call to disorder or something. I'm thinking it'll make a perfect transition piece, an example of me not taking myself too awfully seriously before settling in to perform the closing half of the evening's serious business. It might prove the most memorable performance of the whole set, though, easy to swallow and even easier to recall. The other tunes have deeper meanings, which means they're eminently forgettable. Give me superficiality or give me certain death, no serious songwriter ever insisted. This Truly Terribly Traveling Tune will probably be my legacy. I can imagine worse.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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