A simple gesture of support has turned into a political boiling point in New Jersey. Who knew a simple yellow ribbon could cause so much controversy?
The real victim in all of this hoopla is me. That's right. Me.
If you had never heard it before I'm pretty sure you know it now. Every radio and television station that covered the Jersey story has played that song in the background.
You're damn straight I linked to the lyrics site that has an embedded midi playing. If I'm going to have that tune bouncing around in my head all day, so is everyone else.
I have several problems with the use of this song for the current cause. Even though it does have the phrase yellow ribbon in the title, and it's - for the most part - about tying that very yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree, the sap-o-meter scale on this tune is through the roof. For that reason alone, it should never have to be heard again.
But that's not the only problem. Read the words. Go ahead, I'll wait.
See, when I was little and the song was so popular that it was played on every radio station and every television variety show and my mother hummed it day and night, I, being the pessimistic, party-pooper type of kid I was, refused to ever sing along.
The song was obviously about a guy getting out of prison. I pictured him being led out of the jail and onto the jail bus that takes you home when you've been good enough to get out, and all the other freed jailbirds (still in their prison-issue black and white pajama looking uniforms with ball and chain tied to their leg - hey I was ten!) were cheering him on to see if his pathetic, lovelorn wife, who was surely dressed in some kind of flowered mumu and had curlers in her hair, was waiting on the front porch for him, surrounded by a dozen trees all adorned with giant yellow ribbons tied in neat little bows.
And then my ten year old mind would wander and I would wonder what this guy had been in jail for. If he had been beating his wife or kids, or if he murdered someone or sold drugs or was arrested for being a communist or for not going to school, which I heard you could be arrested for.
Why would she wait for him? Why wouldn't she move or change the locks or marry someone else while he was gone? What kind of person waited all those years for a cold blooded mass murderer/car thief to come home?
Unless, of course, she was in on the whole thing. Maybe they were a husband and wife team and he took the rap for the murder and spent all that time in the hellhole for her, his wife. Then I could see why she would welcome him home with yellow ribbons and a home made meatloaf dinner.
I had a lot of time on my hands when I was ten.
Now, before you think me unpatriotic or unfeeling, I do have yellow ribbons on my trees. In fact, one of them is an old oak tree. Just because I support the troops and show that fact to my neighbors and the mailman and anyone who drives by does not mean I condone the use of that horrid song to trump this show of support.
I'm thinking the mayor of Fieldsboro, New Jersey is not so much against the yellow ribbons as he is afraid of them. Yes. He is afraid that the high school marching band is going to start parading up and down the street playing that Tony Orlando and Dawn tune, and it will drive every resident of the town so crazy that they will pack up and move, thus reducing the income of the town and causing it to declare bankruptcy. I always knew that song had evil properties.
Maybe someone could write another yellow ribbon song. Perhaps there is another tune out there that we could co-opt for the support the troops movement, one without the man-out--of-prison connotations.
I support the troops. I curse Tony Orlando.