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The lack of crap alas

Country Musings by Robert Loy, October 1999

Sturgeon's Law states that 95 percent of everything is crap (and if you don't know who Theodore Sturgeon is, run straight to your bookstore or library, and pick up some of his timeless, classic science fiction-like "More Than Human." Wait til after you've finished reading this timeless, classic issue of Country Standard Time first, though)

95 percent of everything movies and musicc, clouds and clowns, pizza and people is garbage. The other five ppercent presumably is what makes this life worth living.

Unfortunately, Sturgeon's Law is inaccurate or at least incomplete. The truth is only 2 percent of everything is worthwhile; 2 percent is crap and 95 percent is just dull, run-of-the-mill mediocrity.

This seemingly gives us fewer worthwhile things to enjoy, but it's not true. Genuine crap truly bad stuff, esspecially art is as rare and rewarding as the great stuff at the oppposite end of the spectrum. Case in point: Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn's song "The Phone Call."

This is my favorite all-time favorite bad song and with good reason it is delightfully awful. Don't look for this on any of Conway or Loretta's hit compilations or box sets. Loretta is still trying to live it down, and Conway spins in his grave every time he thinks about it. When it came out around 1975, I remember the normally decorous DJ saying on the air that this was the worst st song he'd ever heard and telling listeners, "Don't bother calling up to request that one."

It starts out with a ringing phone. Loretta picks it up and says hello. Conway is trying to tell her something, but she keeps interrupting to ramble on about how much she loves Conway and hates the rotten gossipy neighbors who say their marriage is over.

"I knew you'd tell me they were wrong," Loretta croons, unwilling to shut up for even a second, "as soon as I picked up the phone." Finally, she has to stop and take a breath, and Conway blurts out, "Ah, but it is true. They're not wrong." Whereupon Loretta sob-sings "Oh, no" several times, and continues to cut Conway off whenever he tries to explain.

"I can't believe you'll be gone," she sings, "as soon as I hang up the phone." The listener is left with the strong feeling Loretta had it coming, and no one can blame Conway for taking up with another woman who at least occasionally lets him get a word in edge-wise.

Sometimes when I listen to the radio these days I wish we had more great songs. And sometimes I wish we had more real crap