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Something Quite Like Job's Blues Something Quite Like Job's Blues

Like the protagonist in "The Pearl," a short story by John Steinbeck, I don't want to let my hopes, desires, and dreams become so apparent that they attract the fateful attention of the gods.

I don't recall now, but I think the Steinbeck character was Polynesian.

However, it doesn't much matter what culture you're from.

In Greek, Roman, Norse, and other bodies of mythology, gods could sense great human desire and anticipation, and they often delighted in tormenting a helpless, hopeful human by depriving him or her of what he or she wanted most in life.

A variation on the theme can be found in The Bible, The Book of Job. Judeo-Christian mythology.

Job already had everything he could ever want. But he lost it all when God and Satan got into a wager.

And Satan was very much The Silver-Tongued Devil. And God was pretty much petty and vain and gullible.

And poor ol' Job was a pawn in their game. He was a schlimazel who, in the end, is revealed to be just another schlemiel. Oy.

And Job's Wife was a neurotic, nagging bitch, or so it seemed to me for years and years after I first learned the story. (Although I didn't use the words "neurotic," "nagging," and "bitch" when I was 10-or-11-or-12 years old, it's still an accurate description of the way I interpreted her character.)

Satan was in the picture and God wasn't setting any good examples and Job was a sap, but I disliked Job's Wife the most.

Let's blame Hollywood.

The script was too much Joan Crawford, not enough Claudette Colbert.

But more recently, it occurs to me that Job's Wife was the only honest character in the script.

I think I love her now. So I'll dispense with the holy-rolling chauvinism of calling her Job's Wife and I'll start calling her, uh..., Janet. ("Job and Janet sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.")

Janet may have been an aging, dethroned Jewish Princess. She may have been snippy. She may have been unsupportive. She may have been depressing. She may have seemed like a millstone and/or an albatross around Job's festering, boil-covered neck. But blame the scriptwriter.

Janet's character was real and human and true.

Bless her heart.

I wrote this song years ago, before I could ever see the beauty of Janet. So don't look for her. She's not here. (Sorry, Janet. Sorry.)

Read the lyrics below, skip to the Lead Sheet for the words and music, or listen to the homemade song demo MP3 recording. BD

Thin Line

Words and Music by David R. Lister

Stranded on the highway
In a Nineteen-Fifties Dodge
My last dime shoulda dialed a prayer
But I phoned the Last Chance Garage
I tried to explain my situation
But no one there would understand
And so I started trudging 'cross
The burning sand

Deserted in the desert
Dying there of thirst
I prayed for God to save me
But the Devil got there first
Disguised as my long-lost lover
With a pitcher in her hand
She offered me a crystal cup
Of burning sand

Lost among the lepers
I likewise screamed, "Unclean!"
The Holy Healer passing by
Said, "Please, don't make a scene."
I tried to relate all our symptoms
But he would not lend a healing hand
"Too much to do and but one cup
Of burning sand."

Last Christmas I went crazy
(Would've rather gone back home)
They locked me in a lonely room
And left me on my own
Till I wrote rhymes of saner times
Then the Keepers had me banned
For trying to buy up 'least one more cup
Of burning sand

I know the pattern for the universe
Lives in each single grain of sand
But how my life goes from bad to worse
Is more than I can ever understand
Ol' Scratch laid odds in a game with God
They gambled for my hourglass
With its one cup of burning sand
That's sifting so fast

It's just a cup of burning sand
And it's sifting so fast


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2001-2012 David R. Lister • All Rights Reserved.