I often get little messages from my subconscious in the form of song lyrics. I’ll be going along, doing something or other—taking a shower, walking to work, washing the dishes—and I’ll realize I’m humming a song, and then if I pay attention and figure out what song it is, it’ll turn out that the lyrics are making a little commentary on something that’s been on my mind. Lately I’ve found myself humming an old country tune called “They’re Tearing Down the House I Was Brung Up In,” and I sure wish I could post an MP3 of it for you, in case you’re not familiar with it, or at least put up the lyrics, but it seems that the whole wide Internet has never heard of it. But it’s a real song, I promise.
I guess the reason that song’s been in my head is that the people who own the Carpenters’ old house in Downey, California, are getting ready to tear it down. This is the house that was on the cover of some Carpenters’ album, and apparently rabid Carpenters’ fans (Who knew?!) are all agitated because they consider the house to be a SHRINE. It’s where anorexic Karen collapsed before she died! The fan who’s put himself in charge of saving the house calls it “our version of Graceland,” although apparently there are no guided tours, no souvenirs, no Richard Carpenter sightings—oh, wait: I think he’s still alive. Anyway, the people who bought the house are tired of obsessed weirdos peeking in the windows, crying through the locks, and they want to tear the place down and build a McMansion or something, while the fans are hoping the city of Downey will declare it a historic landmark. Maybe the fans should stage a hunger strike in front of Downey city hall.
A long time ago Sluggo worked the overnight shift as a proofreader at a big New York City law firm, but since he’s dyslexic he spent most of his time drawing pictures for the people he worked with. One of them happened to be an obsessed Carpenters fan, so one night Sluggo drew a picture of himself sitting on Karen Carpenter’s grave, eating a picnic. He meant it to be funny, but his colleague burst into tears and never spoke to him again. It’s kind of scary to think that if you get enough people like that together, they might make trouble for you, if you're the kind of person who would buy the former home of someone who sold a lot of record albums. In the 1970s.
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